Al-Falaki, Mahmud Ahmad Hamdi
(1815-19 July 1885)
Engineer, mathematician, and scientist. Mahmud was born in the village of al-Hissa (Gharbiyya province); his father died early, and he was reared by a brother and sent to MUHAMMAD 'Ali's Polytechnic School in the Citadel, He later taught mathematics and astronomy at that school.
Chosen to be a part of 'ABBAS I's student mission to Europe in 1851, he spent nine years in Paris. Upon his return to Cairo, SA'ID charged him with drawing maps, among them the first complete topographic map of Egypt .
He held several important government posts, including public works minister, and became the president of the khedivial Geographic Society.
He represented Egypt at the International Congress of Geographer in Venice in 1881 and in Paris in 1885.
As minister of education (1884-1885) he instituted several important educational reforms, one of which was to require that the foreign schools receiving subsidies from the Egyptian government undergo regular inspections.
In his published writings, he tried to prove that the Giza Pyramids were built for astronomical purposes; he also established the exact birth and death dates for the probhet Muhammad.
He directed the Education Ministry and the Geographical Society until his death in Cairo.
" Abd-al-Rahman , Ibrahim Hilmi, "Mahmud al-Falaki"
'Aqqad, Abbas Mahmud, "Mahmud Basha al Falaki"
Brockelmann. GAL,S, 642-3,747,