Prominent Turkish scholar Oktay Sinanoğlu dies at age 80

Prominent Turkish scholar Oktay Sinanoğlu dies at age 80

Prominent Turkish scholar Oktay Sinanoğlu dies at age 80

AA Photo

Prof. Oktay Sinanoğlu, one of Turkey’s most prominent scholars who was known for his books on the Turkish language and became Yale University’s youngest professor of the 20th century, died early April 20 in the United States.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted on April 20 that Sinanoğlu, who was born in the city of Bari in Italy in 1934, had passed away in Miami.

“May God rest Prof. Oktay Sinanoğlu’s soul in peace. Our Miami Consulate General is following the necessary process to bring his body to our country,” read Çavuşoğlu’s tweet on April 20.

Sinanoğlu received various awards and scholarships from internationally prestigious institutions and was nominated twice for the Nobel Prize for his works in the field of chemistry. 

Sinanoğlu, who had finished TED Ankara Private High School in Ankara with a first degree, graduated from Berkeley University’s chemical engineering department in California at the top of his class in 1956. 

Only eight months after he started his studies, Sinanoğlu earned his master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957 and later earned a PhD on theoretical chemistry from Berkeley in 1959. 

He became an assistant professor at Yale in 1960, then an associate professor in 1961 for his “Many Electron Theory of Atoms and Molecules.” 

At the age of 28, Sinanoğlu became a full professor in 1963 for solving a mathematics theory that had remained unsolved for 50 years, thus marking him as the youngest academic of the 20th century to be granted this title at Yale. 

He was the first person to receive the “Alexander von Humboldt Research Award” from the German state in 1973, while he got the “International Outstanding Scientist Award” from Japan in 1975. 

In the same year, Sinanoğlu was granted the title of Professor of the Turkish Republic with a special law made in 1975 and thus was the only professor to hold this title to date. 

Sinanoğlu retired from Yale in 1993 and was appointed to the chemistry department of Istanbul’s Yıldız Technical University and continued his duties there until 2002. 

Sinanoğlu is best known in Turkey for his books on the importance of the Turkish language such as “Bye Bye Turkish,” and “Target Turkey.” 

Sinanoğlu’s other academic theories include the Solvophobic Theory from 1964, the Network Theory from 1974, Microthermodynamics from 1981 and the Valency Interaction Formula Theory from 1983.