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Prof. Dr. Erdal İnönü, (June 6, 1926 – October 31, 2007) was a Turkish physicist and politician. He was the son of the second president of the Turkish Republic, İsmet İnönü. Leader of Social Democratic People's Party between 1983 and 1993, he served as Deputy Prime Minister between 1991 and 1993 and as the Minister of Foreign Affairs for some six months in 1995.

Early life

He graduated from the Physics Department of the Faculty of Sciences of Ankara University in 1947 and received his PhD from the California Institute of Technology in 1951. Upon his return to Turkey, İnönü served first as an assistant professor at the Ankara University. Between 1964-1974, he was professor of physics and was the first Chairman of the Department of Theoretical Physics at the Middle East Technical University (1960-1966). He initiated research on neutron transport during that period. Between 1969-1971, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Art and Sciences. He was the president of METU between 1970-1971. İnönü moved in 1974 to Bosphorus University in Istanbul and lectured there until he co-founded the Social Democratic People's Party in 1983.

Political career

İnönü's party, SHP, was a social democratic political entity. It was one of the biggest parties during the late 1980s and early 1990s in Turkey. İnönü challenged the liberal conservative party of Turgut Özal, ANAP, both in 1987 and 1991 elections. One of the main reasons why SHP couldn't win an election was the division of the left votes between them and DSP, the party of the former CHP leader Bülent Ecevit. Erdal İnönü was also a member of the Socialist International. He joined discussions as the Deputy Chairman of the organization.

Later life

He was the 2004 recipient of the Wigner medal, administered by the Group Theory and Fundamental Physics Foundation, for his contributions to group contractions, see the İnönü-Wigner contraction. İnönü was also known for his work on the history of science in the Republic of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. He lectured at Sabanci University and the Feza Gürsey Institute from 2004 to 2007.


Erdal İnönü died in Houston, Texas, USA on 31 October 2007, where he was being treated for leukaemia. His body was flown to Turkey and was buried at the Zincirlikuyu Cemetery in İstanbul on November 4, 2007 following a state funeral held before the building of Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara the previous day and then an Islamic funeral in the Teşvikiye Mosque in İstanbul.


* (Turkish) Biography from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

* (Turkish) Interview with Erdal Inonu about Physics

* (Turkish) Right after his passing away, news inculde also a picture gallery


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