Ulugh Beg – The Man Who Unlocked the Universe – A film produced by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev

Source: Kuriositas

When one thinks of the great scientists whose discoveries were far ahead of their time names such as Newton, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, and Leonardo da Vinci all leap out at you. Their discoveries and achievements were breathtaking and shaped our world.

Yet before them was Ulugh Beg. He was the ruler of Mavarannahr Khanate (Empire) from 1411 and transformed his native Samarkand now Uzbekistan into a hub of culture, arts, and science. During his reign, he made many crucial and little-known scientific discoveries and achievements, including building the largest observatory of all the time and accurately charting the position of stars in the night sky. His model was still being referred to centuries later and his achievements were made 150 years before Galileo invented the telescope.

Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva

His achievements were the subject of Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva and Timur Tillyaev’s documentary, Ulugh Beg – The Man Who Unlocked the Universe.

The film has won several awards and has received critical and commercial success, achieving a 9/10 score in an IMDB review.

Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva the woman behind the film
Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva together with her husband Timur Tillyaev brought the Ulugh Beg legend to life. She has been described as a philanthropist and is committed to helping others in her native Uzbekistan. She was Uzbekistan’s envoy to UNESCO until 2018, holding the position for the last ten years. For thirteen years she held the position of President of the Federation of Gymnastics of Uzbekistan.

Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva’s Charity Work
Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva’s work with children has arguably been her main concern, heading two major charities dedicated to helping disadvantaged children in Uzbekistan. “You are not Alone” foundation, established in 2002, supports orphanages. The charity is dedicated to building and refurbishing Mercy Homes, providing state of the art facilities to orphanages with the goal of educating Uzbekistan’s orphans. The National Centre for the Social Adaptation of Children, established in 2004, provides educational and medical support to children with disabilities.

The Karimov Foundation, established by Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva in 2016, has instigated a number of successful projects and has recently signed a partnership agreement with the UNESCO Office in Uzbekistan on joint cooperation in the areas of education, science and culture. Two years ago, the Foundation launched a scholarship scheme to allow young Uzbeks to study for their Master’s degree at prestigious foreign universities.

The charities started in quick succession after she achieved her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Law from the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent, and her doctorate degree in Psychology from Tashkent State University.

As well as these pursuits she was determined to bring the Ulugh Beg legend and his achievements to the world. Speaking of her film she has quoted, “I have been fascinated by Ulugh Beg ever since I was a child”.

“Every time I visited Samarkand and heard about the scientific discoveries made by this celebrated scholar and peace-loving ruler – a man who in the 15th century turned Samarkand into the epicentre of the world’s most advanced studies in astronomy − I thought that his extraordinary story should be told to the world.”

Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva’s film was released in 2017 and soon attracted critical and commercial acclaim. It has already won two awards. It collected the Kineo Prize for the Best Foreign Documentary at the 74th Venice International Film Festival, and Best Documentary Award at the Ischia Film Festival.

Ulugh Beg, until the film was released was little known outside of Uzbekistan and to some degree the academic world. And yet, the man’s life is a story that just begged to be told.

Not forgetting his achievements with the observatory, he fulfilled his ambition to create a scientific centre where scholars could come and discuss the stars. In 1417 construction began and the resulting madrassa was arguably one of the first universities to be established. The building can still be seen in Registan Square in Uzbekistan.

As well as charting the position of fixed stars better than any previous scholars, he also determined the length of a sidereal year as 365d 6h 10m 8s thanks largely to his love of trigonometry and understanding of the universe. Nearly a hundred years later Ulugh Beg’s sidereal year model would be determined to be +58 seconds inaccurate. In 1525 Copernicus came up with a more accurate model for determining a sidereal year which was + 2 seconds inaccurate.

Ulugh Beg still had the last laugh, however. His tropical year model had an error of +25 seconds, but this was still more accurate than Copernicus’ model which was +30 seconds inaccurate, despite Beg living a hundred years earlier and having less reliable instruments.

Ulugh Beg deserves to go down in history as one of the great scientists. His work although little known, helped others to understand the world and the universe in which we live.

It is hugely unlikely that Ulugh Beg is alone in having been lost to history. One cannot help but wonder how many other great minds are out there waiting to have their story told. Thanks to Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, Ulugh Beg’s achievements are now known to the world.

As well as charting the position of fixed stars better than any previous scholars, he also determined the length of a sidereal year as 365d 6h 10m 8s thanks largely to his love of trigonometry and understanding of the universe. Nearly a hundred years later Beg’s sidereal year model would be determined to be +58 seconds inaccurate. In 1525 Copernicus came up with a more accurate model for determining a sidereal year which was + 2 seconds inaccurate.

Beg still had the last laugh, however. His tropical year model had an error of +25 seconds, but this was still more accurate than Copernicus’ model which was +30 seconds inaccurate, despite Beg living a hundred years earlier and having less reliable instruments.

Ulugh Beg deserves to go down in history as one of the great scientists. His work although little known, helped others to understand the world and the universe in which we live.

It is hugely unlikely that Beg is alone in having been lost to history. One cannot help but wonder how many other great minds are out there waiting to have their story told. Thanks to Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, Beg’s achievements are now known to the world.

2018-12-21T11:09:53+00:00