IstanbulEmperor Constantine moved from Rome to Istanbul, because he thought this city should be the capital of the world. The city was called Constantinople until 1927.
Napoleon thought he could transform the entire world into one country under his control, with Constantinople as the capital city. We can see how he got this idea simply from the geography of the Bosphorus strait. This area is the center of the world.
What can physicists expect from this center of the world? Before producing an answer to this difficult question, let us look at some photos from Istanbul.
- Basilica of Hagia Sofia (Holy Wisdom) is
Istanbul's Address No. 1. It was and still remains as the Jewel of Roman engineering.
Apparently most of the Roman brains migrated to Constantinople following Emperor
Constantine, while there were no significant building activities in Rome until the
Renaissance period. The building project was begun by Constantine, but was not
completed until 532 AD during the reign of Emperor Justinian.
- Another View of the Hagia Sofia.
- Entrance to the Basilica.
- Mosaic of the Mother and Son, flanked by Justinian and Constantine. Constantine started and Justinian completed the construction of this basilica.
- During the Ottoman rule, this building was used as a mosque with four minarets added outside the building. The inside of the building was completely transformed to a Islamic prayer place.
- The original mosaic of the Virgin Mary and Her Son was left untouched by Ottoman authorities.
- A telephoto view of the Virgin Mary.
- The Wikipedia page for the history of this eternal structure.
- Sultan Ahmed Mosque with Six Minarets.
This huge Mosque, known as the Blue Mosque, was built during the reign of
Sultan Ahmed. It took seven years (from 1609 to 1616 AD)
- Sultan Ahmed Square is between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. You can meet many interesting people there.
- Another View with six minarets.
- Side View of the Mosque.
- Close-up View of the Mosque.
- Entrance to the Mosque. They accept voluntary donations.
- Prayer Plaza inside the Mosque, under the giant dome.
- Ceiling above the prayer place.
- Moslem Priest. He was very kind to me and was extremely patient to answer my questions in fluent English.
- Quadrangle outside the Mosque. Two extra minarets are needed to cover this area. This is the reason why this mosque has six minarets, instead of four.
- This Wikipedia page tells a detailed story about this Mosque. This page contains many good photos.
- Suleymaniye Mosque, built during the
period 1550-1558 AD, during the rule of Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-66 AD, photo 2008).
Suleyman was a very ambitious sultan who attempted to conquer Europe. He dies in
Budapest while making preparations for invading Vienna.
- More about Suleyman the Magnificent, here is the Wikipedia page.
- Another View of the Mosque (1997).
- Entrance to the Mosque.
- Washing their feet, before the prayer.
- Not Enough Space Inside. The Mosque was being refurbished, and some people had to pray outside the Mosque.
- Sultan Suleyman's Tomb on the Mosque ground. Another photo of the Tomb.
- Let us go to Wikipedia for more photos and stories.
- Mosque with One Minaret was for
a princess who remained single for her entire life. She was a lonely person,
as the one minaret indicates. I forgot her name.
- Entrance to the Topkapi Palace.
The palace served as the Sultan's primary residence during the Ottoman period
- Closer to the entrance.
- Armed Guards. There are many valuable items, and has to be guarded.
- One of the Bath Houses.
- Audience Chamber, where the Sultan used to listen to the people.
- Treasury House (photo from the public domain).
- One of the Islamic Ceilings.
- Sultan's Dinner Plate, presumably custom-made in China.
- I am in this photo to illustrate how big the plate is.
- Many other Ceramic items. The most
important duty of Sultans was to eat well.
- From the palace restaurant, you can see
- Turkish Student at the palace restaurant (July 2008). This student studies business and finance in London, and she was with her English friend. She was happy to meet a professor from the United States. After this photo was taken, she was scolded by an elderly Moslem lady from Saudi Arabia for her barbaric behavior.
- Italian tourists (1997). They were very cheerful Italian ladies.
- Russian Sailors (2008). When I met them inside the Topkapi Palace, I asked them whether they came from their Black Sea fleet. They said No. They came from Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is a Russian territory on the Baltic coast between Poland and Lithuania. I told them I was there in 2005 and maintain a webpage for the place. I promised to add this photo to my Kaliningrad page, and told them to look at the page to see them.
- For further information on this palace, go to the Wikipedia page.
- The Bosphorus is a narrow
strait between the Asian and European continents, and connection the Black Sea
and the Sea of Marmara. The Black sea serves as a harbor for the Euro-Asian
continents, and the Sea of Marmara for the Mediterranean world. Napoleon
had a correct vision of the world when he said Istanbul would be the capital
city of his empire.
- First Bridge across the Bosphorus was not built until 1973. This means that there had been and still may be a strong sentiment to keep Asia and Europe divided.
- Second Bridge was constructed in 1988. Its real name is the Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge, named after Sultan Mehmed II, who commanded the Ottoman troops when they marched into Constantinople in 1453. On the European side of the bridge, the Sultan Mehmed's fortress is seen.
- Sultan Mehmed's Fortress. Sultan Mehmed spent two years at this fortress in preparation for the invastion of Constantinople. Here is another view of the Fortress.
- The Last Byzantine Emperor
had to exile himself to Athens. He died there. I am in front of his
statue in Athens with Greek young people.
- The City of Istanbul seen from a Bosphorus cruise boat.
- Istanbul's Shoreline consisting of boats, shops, and a mosque. Another Photo of the shoreline
- Cruise Ship presumably covering the
Mediterranean Sea. This ship could be too tall to go under the Bosphorus
bridges. It stops at the port of Istanbul.
- Expensive Houses on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.
- Old Palace Building on the Asian side. Italian-style architecture.
- Government Buildings on the eastern
- Oil Tanker? The Bosphorus is a very important route for oil tankers, but they are allowed to go through only during the night. Thus, this tanker was perhaps carrying olive oil.
- The Bosphorus seen from a hotel room.
- How do I look on the Bosphorus?
- University named after Bosphorus. The word "Bosphorus" is an English translation of the Turkish word "Bogazici." I do not know why they are so different.
- Taksim Plaza is at the center of
Istanbul. At the center of Plaza is a statue of Ataturk and his political
- Mustafa Kemel Ataturk is at the center in this stature. On his right is Ismet Inonu, who used to be his right-hand man. I had a photo with Turkish citizens in front of this statue.
- Ataturk's Portrait is everywhere in Turkey. It is very easy to have a photo with him.
Ataturk was the
founder of the Turkish Republic with Ankara as the capital city. He served as
the first president of the republic from 1923 until he died in 1938.
- Ismet Inonu used to be Ataturk's right-hand man. He became the second president from 1938 to 1950. Even after his presidency, Inonu served his country in various other positions until he died in 1973 at the age of 89. During his presidency, Inonu kept his country out of the second world war. After the war, he was able to form a military alliance with the United States and stopped Soviet expansion from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean world.
- Erdal Inonu was Ismet's son. He also served his country in various positions. He was the foreign minister while Turkey was at a difficult position in the world.
This is my photo with Erdal Inonu. This photo serves as my Turkish ID card. I get a VIP treatment whenever I show this card in Turkey. Every Turkish citizen recognizes his face. This ID card served its purpose at the Hotel Marmara.
- Erdal did not reach the office of presidency like his father, but he achieved something politicians could not do. He received a PhD degree in physics from Caltech in 1951. His advisor was Norman Christy. He then moved to Princeton and worked with Eugene Wigner. In 1953, he published his paper with Wigner on group contractions. This is his 1997 recollection his work with Wigner. Yes, like his father, Erdal is loved and respected by all Turkish people. Whenever I go to Turkey, I bring a credit card, but I also bring my Turkish ID card, consisting of my photo with Inonu. Whenever I show this card, I get a VIP treatment. How did I become so close to him? Click here.
- The Marmara Taksim is a five-star hotel at the Taksim Plaza. The hotel serves lovely meals with its superb restaurant environment. The restaurant attendants are well trained to serve VIPs coming from all over the world. I was there in 1997 and 2000 because I regard myself as a VIP from U.S.A, but the question is whether the hotel people agreed with me. In 2008, I showed my this ID card to one of the waitresses there. I then became a big shot there, and every employ wanted to have a photo with me and my wife.
Interesting people and Interesting Places in Istanbul
- Sibel Baskal in one of the
Princess islands in the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul (August 1999).
- She published many papers with me primarily on applications of the Lorentz group to optical sciences.
- She likes horses.
- She likes take photos. This is her collection of Istanbul photos.
- Turkish Professor of mechanical
engineering at the Technical University of Istanbul. We shared the same breakfast
table at the Hotel Adlon in Stockholm (2005). She was attending a conference there.
- Turkish Student at the Topkapi Palace Restaurant in Istanbul (July 2008). This student studies business and finance in London, and she was with her English friend. She was happy to meet a professor from the United States. After this photo was taken, she was scolded by an elderly Moslem lady from Saudi Arabia for her barbaric behavior.
- Turkish Students in Prague (2009).
They came from Istanbul. They became very happy when I told them I am a professor
from the United States, and I like their city.
They asked me to post this photo on my website.
- Turkish Mother and Daughter in Istanbul (2008). On a city bus, this young girl relinquished her seat for me. I apparently looked old to her. Her mother sitting in front of her became so proud of her courteous manner. I took a photo of them. I used to do the same in Confucian Korea when I was very young.
- Armenian Origin. There are many Armenians in Turkey. They are Turkish citizens, but they are Christians. This photo was taken on a ferry boat in Istanbul (August 1999).
- Turkish Young Men. It is always a pleasure to meet them and exchange good wills.
- Turkish Magician on the Sultan Ahmed
Plaza between the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
- Grand Bazaar has been the main
market place for traditional Turkish items. It was originally built by
Sultan Mehmed immediately after he came into Constantinople in 1455.
- Another Photo of the Bazaar. There are more than 4,000 stores in this covered area.
- One of the Drinking Fountains (from the public domain). There are four of them in the Bazaar.
- One of the Showcases originally built for a kiosk in the 15th Century (photo from the public domain).
- This Wikipedia page will tell a more detailed story about this unique place.
- Side-Street Stores, where you can find many interesting things.
- Fast-food Store, near the Taksim Plaza.
- Turkish Pastry Shop near the Grand Bazaar.
- Fish Market. There are many shops like this.
- DeSoto Truck. I saw this operational
DeSoto truck when I was there in 1997. It was indeed refreshing to see this truck,
because Chrysler stopped producing DeSoto cars in 1961.
- There are many other places to add. I will add them when I have time. In the
meantime, please send me interesting Istanbul photos if you have.
- Two Turkish Navy Sailors at the entrance to a naval base, presumably in charge of maintaining peace and security of the Bosphorus. I look OK with these two armed men (1997).
- Russian Sailors (2008). When I met
them inside the Topkapi Palace, I asked them whether they came from their
Black Sea fleet. They said No. They came from Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is
a Russian territory between Poland and Lithuania on the coast of the Baltic
Sea. I told them I was there and maintain a webpage for the place. I promised
to add this photo to my Kaliningrad page.
- How about Turkish Army? I met these
two soldiers at the entrance to the Topkapi Palace (2008). They speak fluent English
and were ready to help others, even though they carry rifles. I asked them
where those rifles were made. They said "In Turkey." They added that the model
was developed in Germany. Earlier, in 1997, I had a photo with
this soldier at the same place.
- During the Korean War (1950-53), Turkey sent 5,000 troops to Korea. They were known to be brave and highly disciplined. I heard about them while I was a high-school student in Korea during the war.
- Turkish Combat Troops in Korea
being ferried to their positions on American Sherman tanks during the Korean war
(1950-53). You heard about the Sherman tanks, but have you seen them
or their photos?
Erdal Inonu and Group ContractionsErdal Inonu came from a distinguished family, and is known as an exemplary public servant. Click here for details. Why am I so enthusiastic about Inonu? The answer is very simple. He wrote an important paper with Wigner.
with Eugene Wigner at the |
University of Maryland (1986).
- Eugene Wigner was not known as a person to whom one could talk easily.
I was able talk to him because I could tell him the stories he liked to hear.
He became very happy when I told him that his 1939 paper on his little groups
can be combined and his 1953 paper with Erdal Inonu can be combined into
- Wigner's 1939 paper [An. Math. 40, 149] on the Poincare group
tells us that the internal space-time symmetries for
massive, massless, and imaginary-mass particles are "like" (locally isomorphic)
to the O(3), E(2), and O(2,1) groups respectively. The word "like" means their
generators share the same set of commutation relations, and do not necessarily
- In 1953 [Proc. Nat. Aca. Sci. 39, 510], Inonu and Wigner introduced the concept of group contractions to physics. The idea is very simple. Consider a sphere representing the O(3) [3-dimensional rotation] group]. If its radius is sufficiently large, a small area on the surface can be regarded as a two-dimensional plane. In the language of group theory, the O(3) group is contracted to E(2) [2-dimensional Euclidean group].
with Erdal Inonu and Nikolaj Gromov
in Istanbul (1997).
- Wigner's 1939 paper [An. Math. 40, 149] on the Poincare group tells us that the internal space-time symmetries for massive, massless, and imaginary-mass particles are "like" (locally isomorphic) to the O(3), E(2), and O(2,1) groups respectively. The word "like" means their generators share the same set of commutation relations, and do not necessarily mean "identical."
- This is Inonu's recollection
of his collaboration with Wigner. He wrote this paper in 1997.
- In their 1953 paper, Inonu and Wigner carefully define the limiting process
in which the three-dimensional rotation group can become the two-dimensional
Euclidean group. In a geometrical language, we can start with a sphere and
a small area on this surface. In the limit of large radius, this area becomes
like a flat surface.
- As a physical application, they use this contraction procedure to define how the Lorentz group becomes the Galilei group in the limit of infinite light speed.
- In their 1953 paper, Inonu and Wigner carefully define the limiting process in which the three-dimensional rotation group can become the two-dimensional Euclidean group. In a geometrical language, we can start with a sphere and a small area on this surface. In the limit of large radius, this area becomes like a flat surface.
- If we look at both Wigner's 1939 paper and the 1953 paper on group
contractions, there is a gap between the two papers. If the little group
for a massive particle is like O(3), while that for a massless particle
is like E(2). Then, why is the E(2)-like little group not a contraction
of the O(3)-like group? The answer to this question is YES. We can
summarize the works done along this direction in the following table. In
1986, I showed this table to Professor Wigner, and he became very happy.
Massive/Slow between Massless/Fast Energy
E=(m2 + p2)1/2
E = p Spin, Gauge,
J. Math. Phys. 27, 2228-2234 (1986).
- After seeing this table, Wigner asked me to explain in more detail. He raised
the question of the translational degrees of freedom in the E(2) group. I told
him they correspond to the gauge degree of freedom. Wigner then asked me how
one degree of freedom is served by two generators.
We then studied this problem in detail. The answer it that the O(3) group can be contracted not only to the E(2) group, but also to the cylindrical group. If the contraction to E(2) is a north-pole approximation, the contraction to the cylindrical group is an equatorial-belt approximation, as illustrated in the following figure. In this cylindrical symmetry, the two translation-like generators serve only one degree of freedom. We then published a paper containing the following figure.
This figure is from Y. S. Kim and E. P. Wigner,
Cylindrical group and massless particles,
J. Math. Phys. 28, 1175-1179 (1987).
- We then wrote another paper
Space-time geometry of relativistic particles,
J. Math. Phys. 31 55-60 (1990),
in which the group theory of Wigner's 1939 paper is translated into a geometrical language.
- In conclusion, Erdal Inonu was a very important person to me. Here is my collection of Inonu photos.
How did I grow up as a research physicist?You do not have to read this section if you are not interested in my research life.
- Indeed, before I became interested in Wigner's research lines in 1978, I had been
working on Feynman's papers. I was able to combine
The net result was the addition of another row to the Inonu-Wigner table given above.
Massive/Slow between Massless/Fast Energy
E=(m2 + p2)1/2
E=p Spin, Gauge,
YOUR OWN HOUSE!
from AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archives
- In spite of my enthusiasm about Inonu and Wigner, Richard Feynman is still my
favorite physicist. Here is my
According to Feynman, the adventure of our science of physics is a perpetual attempt to recognize that the different aspects of nature are really different aspects of the same thing.
This means that Feynman feels that all of his published papers can be comgined into one paper. I could not do this, but I was able to combine three of his papers using my strength of filling the gap between the papers. Let us look at how I did.
- Click here for a webpage.
- Published Paper. Go to ArXiv to see the full content of the paper if you do not have a library access.
- Click here for a webpage.
- These days, I seem to be interested in optical sciences. I am not making
any attempts to make optics and high-energy physics into one subject.
However, it is most exciting to me that the same set of mathematics
is applicable to these two separate branches of physics. In this way, we
can learn high-energy physics in terms of optics, and vice versa.
You can go to this webpage
to see what I am talking about.
- I have been publishing my papers since my
first paper in 1961.
I am very happy to note this is my 51st year to publish, and I would love to publish
for another 50 years. I am able to do this because I now know where my strength is.
- Merry Christmas !
Y. S. Kim (2011.12.22)
Like all young physicists, I had to follow the prevailing trend during my early years. However, I felt that my strength was not in following what others are doing, and was eagerly looking for my own strength. After writing papers with Wigner on the Inonu-Wigner issue, it became clear to me I could become strong when I attempt to build a bridge between two papers in seemingly different directions. I then looked at my earlier publications.
copyright@2011 by Y. S. Kim, unless otherwise specified.