MOSAHEB, GHOLAM-HOSAYN (Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Moṣāḥeb, b. Tehran, 2 Ābān 1289 Š./25 October 1910; d. Tehran, 21 Mehr 1358 Š./13 October 1979; Figure 1), scholar, mathematician, logician, and founder and general editor of the Dāyerat al-maʿāref-e fārsi.
Mosaheb was the son of Moḥammad ʿAli (d. 27 November 1945) and Fāṭemeh (d. 11 August 1964). His grandfather, Mirza ʿAli Ḵošnevis, was a gifted calligrapher and fluent in Arabic. He composed a poem in one thousand couplets, entitled Alfiyeh, describing the didactic rules of Arabic grammar, rendering these easy to memorize by Arabic students (M. Moṣāḥeb, p. 1). His father was a physician, and his mother wrote poetry (T. Moṣāḥeb, p. 1; see also Afšār, 2004, pp. 402-08).
Gholam-Hosayn Mosaheb completed his secondary education in 1927 at the then Dār-al-moʿallemin-e markazi (see EDUCATION xviii. Teachers’ Training Schools), which was founded in Tehran in 1918. A studious and hard-working student, he was awarded a First Grade Science Medal by the Minister of Education (Gozāreš, p. 31) and was appointed to a teaching position at the same school for one year. In 1928, Mosaheb went to France and took the twelve-month course of specialized mathematics at Lycée le Grand on a government fellowship (personal interview with T. Moṣāḥeb). He received his Bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1931 from Dār-al-moʿallemin-e ʿali (see EDUCATION xix: Teachers’ Training Colleges) and was employed by the Ministry of Education, wherein, despite a sporadic record of a service, he achieved high administrative posts, notably General Director of Higher Education (1949), Executive Director (1951), and Deputy Minister (1952). Not being an ambitious careerist, however, Mosaheb was for the most part committed to research and study in fields of his interests (Afšār, p. 404). In 1934 he joined the faculty of the Teachers’ Training College, where he taught until shortly before his death (see below).
On a fellowship from the Ministry of Education he traveled to England in 1945 and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Cambridge University in 1947. His two celebrated articles, “On the Problem of the Set of Distances,” and “On Differentiation and Denjoy Behaviour of Functions of Two Real Variables,” were published in the Journal of the London Mathematical Society (vol. 22, 1947, pp. 252-56) and the Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (no. 46, 1950, pp. 28-45), respectively. He joined the London Mathematical Society in 1950 (Gozāreš, p. 32).
With the objective of educating mathematics teachers and establishing a center for mathematical research (Medqālči, p. 8o), Mosaheb founded the Institute of Mathematical Research (Moʿasseseh-ye taḥqiqāt-e riāżi) in 1966 at Teachers’ Training College. In it, a carefully selected group of students were trained to teach advanced mathematics in the universities both in the capital and in the provinces. In 1979 there were 68 graduates teaching in universities, some of them holding a mathematics Ph.D. In commemoration of Mosaheb’s lifetime achievements, the Tehran University Council changed the name of the Mathematics Institute to Dr. Gholam-Hosayn Mosaheb Mathematics Institute in 1979. The Institute was renamed again in 1997 and called Dr. Gholam-Hosayn Mosaheb Mathematics Research Institute (Moʿasseseh-ye taḥqiqāt-e riāżi-e Doktor Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Moṣāḥeb). A tenured professor in 1959, he was granted the honorary doctorate in science by the Tehran University in 1976.
In 1937 Mosaheb married Āmeneh Manṣuri Moʾayyed (1917-1995). They had five children: Rastā (1938), Tarāneh (1943), Šahryār (1945-1994), Šāhkār (1951), and Nāmdār (1952).
Mosaheb’s first book,ʿOlum-e tafriḥi (Leisure sciences, Figure 2), which dealt with the recreational aspects of science, was published in Tehran in 1928. In 1929 he founded the bi-weekly journal Riyāżiyāt-e ʿāli va moqaddamāti (Advanced and elementary mathematics), of which eleven issues were published until March 1931 (Ṣadr-e Hāšemi, pp. 338-39). Mosaheb resumed the publication of the journal, this time on a monthly basis, in November 1935, of which only two issues appeared (Qāsemi, 2010, p. 74; T. Mosaheb, personal interview, 2010). In 1934 Mosaheb reentered the field of journalism and published a newspaper, entitled Barq (electricity/lightning), to encourage people, “to try their very best to safeguard Iran’s unity and progress” (Barq, no. 1, p. 1) The progressive overtone of the newspaper, however, led to its being banned periodically, and in due course permanently (Qāsemi, 2004, pp. 179-81; for a selection of Mosaheb’s editorials in both journals he founded see Qāsemi, 2009, pp. 462-74).
Between 1930 and 1951 he published several volumes of high school textbooks in collaboration with the leading university professors and teachers of the time. In addition to mathematics, books on physics and mechanics were also included in the project.
In 1938 Mosaheb edited Omar Khayyam’s al-Jabr wa ‘l-moqābela Resāla fi al-barāhin ʿali masāʾel al-jabr wa al-moqābela and published it as Jabr o moqābela-ye Ḵayyām with a brief Persian translation and extensive footnotes and elaborate appendixes and addenda. Khayyam’s monumental work was first introduced to the field by the German orientalist and mathematician Franz Woepcke (1826-1864) as L'algèbre d'Omar Alkhayyami, publiée, traduite et accompagnée d'extraits des manuscrits inédits, in 1851 (Kerāmati, pp. 80-81). A relatively unknown book in Iran, its publication documented the pioneering role of Khayyam in solving cubic equations and even some higher orders (Mosaheb, “Jabr-e Khayyām,” Dāyerat al-maʿāref-e fārsi, p. 728). An expanded version of the book was published in 1961, as Ḥakim ʿOmar Ḵayyām be ʿonvān-e ʿālem-e jabr (Figure 3). His extensive introduction to the book exemplifies his studious attention to the variations of different manuscripts, his informed adaptation of transliteration guidelines, and his awareness of manifold premises, assumptions, and complexities of rendering such a text into a language comprehensible to the students of the field (Afšār, p. 405).
In 1951 Mosaheb published Madḵal-e manṭeq-e ṣurat (Figure 4), in 700 pages, which was the first Persian book on mathematical logic, introducing a large number of terms of logic into Persian (Gozāreš, pp. 25-26). He earned the praise of the internationally known Iranian scholar L. A. Zadeh as a thoughtful and well researched scholarly work (Zadeh, pp. 354-55).
Dāyerat al-maʿāref-e fārsi, the first general encyclopedia in Persian compiled along internationally recognized norms and standards (Āšuri, 1996, p. 168), was launched in 1956 when the New York based Franklin Book Progarm decided to publish an encyclopedia, to be based on The Columbia Viking Desk Encylopedia (New York, 1953), in Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Homayun San’atizadeh, the founding manager of the Tehran branch of the program (Moʾasseseh-ye entešārāt-e Ferānklin), reached agreement with Mosaheb to oversee the implementation of the project. Noticing the limited number of entries on Iran and Iranian figures, he asked the cooperation of noted Iranian scholars and invited them to contribute related entries. “The work,” under Mosaheb’s editorship, “received extensive adaptation and sophisticated editing, and it finally appeared as a basically Persian work.” (Smith, p. 190) The first volume of the Persian-language encyclopedia (letters alef-sin, Figure 5) was published in 1966 in 1,425 pages, and it has been cherished as a unique contribution to the Persian culture (Ayman, p. 698). In his lengthy introduction to the volume, Mosaheb meticulously described the methods and systems devised and employed in word spacing, the use of numerals and scientific symbols, and system of abbreviations.
With its remarkable scholarly precision and reliability, the ‘Dāyerat al-maʿāref-e Moṣāḥeb,’ as the work is known in Iran, contained about 30,000 translated entries and 10,000 authored ones, and brought about a far-reaching development in productive research, writing, and translation in various fields (Ašuri, 2009, p. 62).
Deterred by the unfavorable policies and practices imposed by the newly appointed director of the Moʾasseseh-ye entešārāt-e Ferānklin, Mosaheb resigned from his position in 1972 (Homayounpour, p. 60). After his resignation, Reẓā Aqṣā was appointed as the editor of the Dāyerat al-maʿāref (Aqṣā, p. 6). Although all principal articles and a substantial number of other entries of the second volume were already completed by Mosaheb and his colleagues, his resignation caused a major delay in the publication of the volume, which was ultimately published in two parts in 1976 and 1977 (Zendegi-nāmeh, p. 131).
While planning the successive stages of compiling the encyclopedia, Mosaheb invited a number of competent scholars, including Aḥmad Ārām, Ḥosayn Gol-Golāb, Ṣafi Aṣfiā, and Moṣṭafā Moqarrebi, in order to devise neologisms and introduce Persian equivalents for scientific terms (Aqṣā, p. 2) The product of the geography group, Farhang-e eṣṭelāḥāt-e joḡrāfiāʾi (Figure 6), was published in 1960, with some 700 terms. It was intended make similar collective efforts in other fields, but these did not materialize (Mosaheb, “Farhang-e eṣṭelāḥāt-e joḡrāfiāʾi,” Dāyerat al-maʿāref-e fārsi, pp. 59-60).
Mosaheb’ s Ānālyz-e riāżi was published in Tehran in 1967 (Figure 7), and was followed by the first volume of Teori-e moqaddamāti-e aʿdād (Figure 8) in 1970. The books were the recipients of Iran’s ‘The Book of the Year Award’ in 1967 and 1979, respectively. The second volume of Teori-e moqaddamāti-e aʿdād was posthumously published in late 1979 and received the same award in 1983, four years after the author’s death.
Mosaheb is one of the few scholars honored and prized in Iran both before and after the Islamic Revolution in recognition of scholarly achievement. He has been commemorated in several cultural ceremonies and gatherings: Farhang-sarā-ye andišeh (1996); Kongreh-ye bozorgdāšt-e Doktor Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Moṣāḥeb va nohomin seminar-e ānālyz-e riāżi va kārbord-e ān (Tehran, 1998; see Gozāreš); Kongreh-ye bozorgdāšt-e Doktor Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Moṣāḥeb (Tehran, 2009; for the proceedings, also containing several of his articles on logics and mathematics, see Zendegi-nāmeh). Negah-e-Nou/Negāh-e now, a quarterly journal edited in Tehran by ʿAli Mirzāʾi, dedicated an issue to Gholam-Hosayn Mosaheb (no. 82, Tābestān 1388 Š./Summer 2009; Figure 9).
Mosaheb’s statue has been placed at Bustān-e Dānešvarān in Kish Island and at the new campus of the Teacher’s Training College in Karaj (T. Moṣāḥeb, interview).
Although very serious and even ill-tempered at work, Mosaheb was quite pleasant and witty in private gatherings. He has earned the praise of scholars and colleagues for the wide range of his knowledge and his scholarly tenacity (Zaryāb, p. 3; Dowlatābādi, p. 475), his mastery of several languages, including Arabic, English, and French, and his tireless pursuit of academic objectives (M. Moṣāḥeb, p. 20).
Bibliography (online sources accessed 28 April 2015):
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Originally Published: May 1, 2015
Last Updated: May 1, 2015Cite this entry:
Hormoz Homayounpour, "MOSAHEB, GHOLAM-HOSAYN," Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/mosaheb-gholam-hosayn (accessed on 01 May 2015).