Friday, July 1, 2011

Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin

Country of origin: Austria Hungary

Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin, Ph.D, LL.D. (4 October 1858 – 12 March 1935; Serbian Cyrillic: Михајло Идворски Пупин), also known as Michael I. Pupin, was a Serbian physicist and physical chemist. Pupin is best known for his numerous patents, including a means of greatly extending the range of long-distance telephone communication by placing loading coils (of wire) at predetermined intervals along the transmitting wire (known as "pupinization").


After the sudden death of his father, Pupin emigrated to the United States of America in 1874. Pupin says, "I bless the stars that the immigration laws were different then than they are now ... My admission by a special favor of the examiners was a puzzle and a disappointment to me." After a short time as a farm laborer in Delaware, he spent the next few years in a series of menial jobs in New York City (most notably, the biscuit factory on Cortlandt Street in Manhattan), learning English and American ways; the library and lectures at Cooper Union were an important resource for him.

He entered Columbia College in 1879, where he became known as an exceptional athlete and scholar. A friend of Pupin's predicted that his physique would make him a splendid oarsman, and that Columbia would do anything for a good oarsman. A popular student, he was elected president of his class in his Junior year. He graduated with honors in 1883 and became an American citizen at the same time. He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Berlin under Hermann von Helmholtz, and in 1889 he returned to Columbia University to become a lecturer of mathematical physics in the newly formed Department of Electrical Engineering. Pupin's research pioneered carrier wave detection and current analysis.

To read more about Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin, visit his page on Wikipedia, or watch "From Immigrant to Inventor : Michael Pupin Remembered" (information about this program can be seen here)

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