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Studies in America and PhD

The first meeting of the NACA on 1915. Pupin seated first from right.










Mihajlo Pupin


(9 October 1858.- 12 March 1935; Serbian Cyrillic: Михајло Идворски Пупин), also known as Michael I. Pupin, was a Serbian-American 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"). Pupin was a one founding member of National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) on March 3, 1915, which later became NASA.
He always remembered the words of his mother and cited her in his famous autobiography:

My child, If you want to go to the world, about which you have so much listened in our villages, you need to have another pair of eyes – eyes for reading and writing. In the world there are so many thing about which you can not know unless you can not read and write. Knowledge, those are the golden scales through which is the way to heaven; knowledge is the light which illuminates our way through life and leads us to life of the future full of eternal glory.

Pupin went to elementarily school in his birth place, to Serbian orthodox school, and later to German elementarily school in Perlez. He enrolled high school in Pančevo. He was one of the best students and because of that he got a studentship. Local archpriest saw his enormous potential and talent, and influenced the authorities to give Pupin a studentship. Because of his activity in movement “Serbian youth”, which at that time had many problems with German police authorities, Pupin had to leave Pančevo. In 1872. he went to Prague, where he continued the sixth and first half of the seventh year. After his father died, in march 1874. twenty year old Pupin decided to cancel his education in Prague due to financial problems and to move to America.

When I landed at Castle Garden, forty-eight years ago, I had only five cents in my pocket. Had I brought five hundred dollars, instead of five cents, my immediate career in the new, and to me a perfectly strange, land would have been the same. A young immigrant such as I was then does not begin his career until he has spent all the money which he has brought with him. I brought five cents, and immediately spent it upon a piece of prune pie, which turned out to be a bogus prune pie. Ie contained nothing but pits of prunes. If I had brought five hundred dollars, it would have taken me a little longer to spend it, mostly upon bogus things, but the struggle which awaited me would have been the same in each case. It is no handicap to a boy immigrant to land here penniless; it is not a handicap to any boy to be penniless when he strikes out for an independent career, provided that he has the stamina to stand the hardships that may be in store for him.

For next five years in USA he worked as a manual labour (most notably, the biscuit factory on Cortlandt Street in Manhattan) and alongside he was learning english, greek and latin. He also gave private lectures. After three years of various courses, in the autumn of 1879. he successfully finished test and 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.

Pupin coils
Pupin's 1899 patent for loading coils, archaically called "Pupin coils", followed closely on the pioneering work of the English physicist and mathematician Oliver Heaviside, which predates Pupin's patent by some seven years.

The importance of the patent was made clear when the American rights to it were acquired by American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), making him wealthy. Although AT&T bought Pupin's patent, they made little use of it, as they already had their own development in hand led by George Campbell and had up to this point been challenging Pupin with Campbell's own patent. AT&T were afraid they would lose control of an invention which was immensely valuable due to its ability to greatly extend the range of long distance telephones.

Pupin was among the first to replicate Roentgen's production of x-rays in the United States. He in 1896 invented the method of placing a sheet of paper impregnated with fluorescent dyes next to the photographic plate, thereby permitting an exposure of only a few seconds, rather than that of an hour or more.

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