Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin Biography

(Serbian Physicist Who Had Numerous Patents to His Name)

Birthday: October 9, 1858 (Libra)

Born In: Serbia

Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin was a physicist and scientist who revolutionised the sphere of science with his numerous inventions. He had to dropout from his educational institution adhering to financial constraints, which was caused due to his father’s death. However, he had a strong will power which helped him resume his studies after a hiatus of a few years. His return to studies ushered in his scientific career and ever since then he was involved in various experimental works. He had been a brilliant student and his passion towards science helped him conduct successful experiments and invent useful devices. He did not want his hard work to go futile, so he safeguarded all his important inventions with patents. Pupin, like most other scientists, thought ahead of times and understood the needs of the masses. This made him come up with inventions which were meant to improve the general standard of living. He was a Serbian at heart and also helped the Serbs residing in the United States in the best possible ways. He even played the role of a diplomat and also helped improve relations between nations. His inventions were important and when their patented rights were bought, Pupin became a wealthy man. This also helped him in providing aids to the needy
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Mihajlo Pupin

Died At Age: 76


Spouse/Ex-: Sarah Catharine Jackson

father: Constantine Pupin

mother: Olimpijada Pupin

children: Barbara Pupin

Born Country: Serbia

Physicists Physical Chemists

Died on: March 12, 1935

place of death: New York, New York, United States

Notable Alumni: University Of Berlin

discoveries/inventions: Loading Coil

More Facts

education: Columbia University, University Of Berlin

Humanitarian Work: Scientist, associated with the Serb émigré in the USA.

awards: IEEE Edison Medal - 1920
IEEE Medal of Honor - 1924
Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography - 1924

Childhood & Early Life
He was born to Olimpijada Pupin and Constantine Pupin on 9th October 1858, in Idvor, Serbia.
He did his elementary schooling from institutes such as ‘Serbian Orthodox School’ and ‘German Elementary School’. Later, he joined a high school located in Pančevo, and in 1872, he went to Prague to pursue further studies. However, his father’s death caused him to leave Prague due to financial constraints.
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In March 1874, he travelled to the United States, after discontinuing his studies owing to financial constraints. The initial days in the US for this scientist were pretty difficult. He then engaged in some unskilled jobs to support himself and at the same time learned different languages.
In 1879, he qualified for a Bachelor’s degree in arts at the ‘Columbia College’, and joined the institute to pursue his graduation.
He completed his Bachelor’s degree in the year 1883 and the same year he gained a US citizenship.
He then, went on to study Physics and Electrical engineering at the ‘University of Cambridge’, situated in England, as well as the ‘University of Berlin’, Germany.
At Berlin, his mentor was the renowned German physicist Herman von Helmholtz and under the latter’s guidance Pupin completed his Ph.D. dissertation called ‘Osmotic Pressure and Its Relationship to Free Energy’.
In 1889, he joined the ‘Columbia College School of Mines’, as a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Soon after, he was promoted to the post of an associate professor in the institute.
He invented the devise called ‘Pupin coil’ in 1894, which enhanced the range of distant telephonic communication. He patented this invention and had acquired several exclusive rights to safeguard it.
In 1896, this physicist discovered that the atoms which come into contact with X-rays, in turn release secondary X-rays.
The scientist's observation related to alternating currents was his first path-breaking work which met with enormous success.
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He was appointed as the professor of electro-mechanics in the year 1901, at the ‘Columbia College’, and the same year, the ‘American Telephone and Telegraph Company’ and a few individuals from Germany bought the patent rights of Pupin’s Long distance telephony. This earned the scientist a huge amount of money.
In 1911, he was elected as a representative of the Kingdom of Serbia in New York.
In the year 1923, he authored his autobiography titled ‘From Immigrant to Inventor’ for which he even received a prize the following year.
This book’s Serbian edition appeared in the year 1929, which was titled ‘Od pašnjaka do naučenjaka’ (From pastures to scientist).
In 1931, he was appointed as the professor emeritus at the ‘Columbia University’.
He was engaged in various works such as establishing organization for immigrants and improving border relations between Serbia, Yugoslavia and the United States.
He was also actively engaged with the Serb émigré who resided in the United States, and founded the ‘Serbian National Defense Council of America’ and was its president as well.
Pupin was associated with the ‘Serbian Academy of Science’, ‘New York Academy of Science and the ‘French Academy of Science’.
Major Works:
His invention of the ‘Pupin coil’ was a great achievement in the world of science and it helped the society in general by providing an enhanced range for distant telephonic communication. The patent rights of this invention were bought by the ‘American Telephone and Telegraph Company’, which made him a rich man.
He has many more inventions to his credit and he has patented almost thirty-four of his inventions.
Awards & Achievements
In 1920, Mihajlo was honoured with the ‘IEEE Edison Medal’ for his contribution in the fields of mathematical physics.
His autobiography ‘From Immigrant to Inventor’ earned him the ‘Pulitzer Prize’ in the year 1924.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1888, he married Sarah Catharine Jackson, who belonged to New York. The couple were blessed with a daughter, whom they named Barbara.
Throughout his career, he had written a number of literary pieces such as articles and scientific theories. Some of his authored books are ‘The New Reformation’ and ‘Romance of the Machines’.
On 12th March 1935, this eminent scientist breathed his last in New York .His grave is located in the ‘Woodlawn Cemetery’, Bronx.
The physical laboratories building of the ‘Columbia University’ has been named after this physicist as the ‘Pupin Hall’.
A crater on the moon has been named after this great scientist as a tribute to his overall contribution to the world of science and the society

See the events in life of Mihajlo Idvorski Pupin in Chronological Order

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