(also Ulugh Beg; real name, Muhammad Taragay). Born Mar. 22, 1394; died Oct. 27, 1449. Uzbek astronomer and mathematician.
A grandson of Tamerlane, Ulug Beg was-declared ruler of Samarkand in 1409. After the death of his father, Shah Rokh, in 1447, he became head of the Timurid dynasty.
While still a youth, Ulug Beg became interested in science. His intellectual development owed much to the great amount of time he spent in the extensive library assembled by his father. Although he was passionately interested in poetry and studied history, he directed most of his efforts at astronomy.
Ulug Beg attracted the most prominent scholars and scientists of his day to Samarkand and with their help built an observatory. Judging from its equipment and the results of the work conducted there, the observatory was to have no equal until long after Ulug Beg’s lifetime (seeULUG BECS OBSERVATORY).
Ulug Beg’s scientific work and enlightenment activities aroused the displeasure of the Muslim clergy and the reactionary feudal lords, who accused him of heresy and organized a conspiracy against him. Ulug Beg was traitorously murdered, and his observatory was barbarously destroyed.