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Psychiatry & Clinical Psychopharmacology eski adıyla Klinik Psikofarmakoloji Bulteni-Bulletin of Clinical Psychopharmacology


Editorial Manager ® for Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

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The Elephant Clock by Al-Jazari

“The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.” G. K. Chesterton

Ibn Ismail Ibn al-Razzaz Al-Jazari (1136-1206), was a prominent medieval scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, craftsman, artist, mathematician and astronomer from Diyarbakır, Turkey, who lived during the Middle Ages, under the Ayyubid dynasty, shortly after Saladin the Magnificent. Al-Jazari built a large number of mechanical devices and revolutionized the engineering he described in many of them in his “Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices”. The Elephant Clock was consisting of a weight powered water clock in the form of an elephant. The various elements of the clock are in the housing on top of the elephant. They were designed to move and make a sound each half hour. In addition to its mechanical innovations, the elephant clock itself is seen as an early example of cosmopolitanism, globalism, and multiculturalism represented in technology. In the elephant clock, he used an Indian elephant, Chinese dragons, Egyptian phoenix, Persian carpet, Arabian architecture, and Greek water technology. This seven meters high magical clock was expressing the universal and equal nature of Islam. Al-Jazari was a pious muslim and a great engineer who gave birth of the concept of automatic machines and robotics. Al-Jazari’s contribution to science is that he is the one who introduced the concept of automation to engineering and is credited with inventing the camshaft, the crankshaft, and segmental gearing - which are present in almost every machine today. He also beautified engineering with practical artistry, imagination, and sense of wonder. Al-Jazari is one of the countless innovator and scientists overlooked by history.

Samet Kose, MD, PhD
Franklin, Tennessee