History of Croatian Science, 20th-21st centuries© by Darko Zubrinic, Zagreb (1995)
Antun Lucic (americanized name is Anthony F. Lucas; born in Split 1855, died in Washington 1921) is the father of petroleum industry. He discovered the first major gusher in Texas, The Lucas gusher, flowing at the rate of 80,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. It blew in January 1901. About 50,000 people came to see it. This meant the earliest massive exploitation of oil and petroleum in the world. Antun Lucic, known as Anthony F. Lucas (F. = Francis is after his father Franjo, mariner and shipbuilder from the island of Hvar) believed that the nearby Spindletop hill, near the town of Beaumont, covered a vast pool of oil. His company became one of the first oil companies in Texas. Antun Lucic was a mining engineer who completed his studies at the Polytechnic institute in Graz, Austria, where also his fellow countryman Nikola Tesla later studied. By 1902, as many as 285 wells were operating on Spindletop Hill and over 600 oil companies had been chartered (the population of Spindletop sprang from 8,000 in 1901 to 60,000 in 1902, i.e. in just a year!). In this way Captain Anthony Lucas enabled the United States to surpass Russia as the world's leading oil producer. With the Lucas gusher, a black-gold rush began, and fortune-seekers from all over the world poured into Texas. Over time, Houston became a center of the oil industry, and a captive of the British-dominated global oil cartel.
...This picture was taken four days after the oil began to gush. The well went wild for ten days, pouring approximaly 800,000 barrels of oil, and making an oil lake covering some 100 acres of land, before Captain Lucas was able to cap it. Great quantities of oil went as far as Port Arthur, sixteen miles below, on the coast. see [Soric, p 97])
Anthony Lucas (Antun Lucic) invented the so called "Christmas tree", which is the system of valves and pipes installed on the wellhead to harness a gusher. The "Christmas tree" is connected to the piping for transportation or storage of oil.
tree invented by Anthony Lucas
Lucas and drilling crew,
Spindle Top, congestion of derrics in 1901-1902 (photo from [McBeth])
Antun Lucic (Anthony Lucas) on the left (photo from [McBeth])
The naval fuel board program adopted by the USA Government in 1901 specified that all the vessls should be equiped for the burning of oil as fuel. Railroads in increasing number were using it, and manufacturers were substituting it for coal and gas. At that time the automobile industry just began to develop, and the importance of Lucic's discovery for its further expansion was enormous.
Spindle Top in 1902. A forest of derricks, the might of America, erected around the original Lucas well.
Antun Lucic is also considered to be the founder of modern petroleum reservoir engineering. He was consulting engineer in USA, Russia, Mexico, Algeria, and Romania.
Some of the most
important inventions of Anthony F. Lucas,
that are still in use, are:
As an expert in mining he was elected the life long chairman of the American Committee for Oil and Gas (later called Petroleum Division, more information). In 1936 The American Institute for Geological and Metallurgical Investigations founded a prize named after him: Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal.
A museum with 18 m high granite obelisk was built in honour to the Lucas gusher in Spindletop. There is also 1,5 m granite monument of Lucic with inscription saying that his discovery revolutionarized industry and transport,... and changed lives of people in the whole world.
m high granite obelisk, built in honour
In 1943 Lucas' son and daughter-in-law established charitable foundation in his name.
Antun Lucic (Anthony F. Lucas) is placed among 200 of most deserving Americans in the course of the entire history of the USA. There are a street and an Elementary school bearing his name in the City of Beaumont, Texas.
The importance of Antun Lucic - Anthony F. Lucas for the development of petroleum engineering worldwide is analogous to that of Nikola Tesla (also born in Croatia) for the development of electrical engineering.
As to his nationality, it is often mistakenly described as Austrian, and sometimes even Italian (like in Who is Who in America, where there is also another mistake - that he was born in Trieste). On his grave in Rock Creek, Washington, he is said to be of Illiric origin, where Illiric is a standard name for Croatian. For more information about Anthony Lucas see here, and also
Dragutin Gorjanovic Kramberger (1856-1936) was a professor of geology and paleontology at the University of Zagreb. He discovered the richest collection of remains of Diluvial Neanderthal people in the world on a site not far from Zagreb (Krapina). He was the first man in history to have used X-rays to analyze fossil bones (X-rays were discovered by Nikola Tesla).
Ivan Vucetic (1858-1925), in Argentina known as Juan Vucetich, was a criminologist and anthropologist born on the island of Hvar, in that time called Lessina. He was one of the pioneers of the scientific dactiloscopy (identification by fingerprints) and occupied the position of the director of the Center for Dactiloscopy in Buenos Aires. His method of identification was in use throughout South America. Vucetic was also the one who introduced the notion of dactiloscopy in 1920, now in current use worldwide.
Ivan Vucetic deviced an original instrument for classification of fingerprints called dactilonome.
Vida y obra de Juan Vucetich in Spanish,offered by Argentinean Escuela de Policia, and in English.
Nearly 350,000 Croats live in Argentina today. It is interesting that in 1933 the Croatian community in Argentina collected about 50,000 signatures asking for the right of the Croats to live in the free and independent state. Similarly in the USA.
For more information see Ivan Vucetic, Juan Vucetich 1858.-1925. [PDF], concept author & event coordinator Ljerka Galic, Croatian Heritage Foundation, Zagreb 2008., ISBN 978-953-6525-47-8
The scientific activity of Vladimir Varicak (1865-1942), professor of mathematics at the University of Zagreb, was mainly in non-Euclidean geometry and its applications to Einstein's theory of relativity. His lecture delivered in 1911 at the German Mathematical Society in Karlsruhe has been published in 1912 in Jahresberichte der Deutschen Mathematiker Vereinigung, and translated from German into Polish (Warszaw, 1913), Russian (St. Petersburg, 1914), French (Paris, 1914).
His most important work is the monograph Darstellung der Relativitätstheorie im dreidimensionalen Lobatschefskijschen Raume, Zagreb, 1924, which has been been cited by many authors to these days.
The results of his work have been cited also in Wolfgang Pauli's Relativitätstheorie. One of his students at the University of Zagreb was Vilim Feller, that is, William Feller, a famous Croatian - American mathematician. Vladimir Varicak was a collaborator of Croatian Encyclopaedia.
A few citations (source Sibe Mardesic: Matematika u Hrvatskoj - Mathematics in Croatia):
Ich will nun des naeheren auf die Parallele zwischen der nichteuklidischen Geometrie und der relativitaetstheorie zu sprechen kommen. Diese Parallele ist Herrn unsympathisch. Ich darf darum wohl an die Arbeiten von Varicak erinnern, aus denen zu schliessen ist, dass jeder Formel der Einstein-Minkowski-schen Welt dreier, reeller Raum - und einer imaginaraen Zeitkoordinaten eine Formel in einer nichteuklidischen Weit von vier reellen Raum-Zeitkoordinaten entspricht. Ich hatte allerdings mit meiner parallele etwas ganz anderes gemeint, als diese mathematisch sehr interessante Entdeckung aussagt.
E. Gehrcke: Nochmals ueber die Grenzen des relativitaetsprinzips, Verhandlingen der Deuthschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft, 13 1911, str. 996.
Yet just now, 1912, this space of ours is being proved non-euclidean by the principle of relativity. Says Vladimir Varicak in a wonderful lecture. "Ueber die nichteuklidische Interpretation der Relativtheorie": "I postulated that the phenomena happened in a Lobachevski space, and reached by very simple geometric deduction the formulas of the relativity theory. Assuming noneuclidean terminology, the formulas of the relativity theory become not only essentially simplified, but capable of a geometric interpretation wholly analogous to the interpretation of the classic theory in the euclidian geometry. And this analogy often goes so far, that the very wording of the theorems of the classic theory may be left unchanged".
G.B. Halsted, Non-Euclidean Geometry, Science, New York, 1913, str. 597.
This is an interesting and lucid analysis of Lobatschiefsky space displaying its properties in such a form as to present their intimate relationship with the ideas of relativity.
Nature, London, 6. Dec. (1924) 820.
I problemi posti dalla fisica teoretica sono all'ordine del giorno specialmente per quanto riguarda la teoria della relativita di Einstein. In questa importane pubblicazione l'illustre professore di matematica dell'Universita di Zagabria, ha trattato l'arduo argomento con una intellegibita incontestabile, con logica rigorosa e con metodo scientifico convincente.
Bollettino delle opere scientifiche, Bologna, agosto (1926) 12.
Eduard (Slavoljub) Penkala (1871-1922), born in Slovakia to a Polish/Dutch family, became naturalized Croat when after his marriage his family immigrated to Zagreb. He invented the mechanical pen in 1906 and fountain pen in 1907 which are bearing his name "penkala" and now they are in everyday use.
Indeed, the name of "penkala" is in use also today for the chemical pen. The patent was registered in thirty-five countries throughout the world.
His first invention was a resin bottle filled with hot water, called Termofor (hot water bottle), used in bed as "central heating" during cold nights.
Penkala invented a new plastic mass substance called ebonite, and used it for production of gramophone records. He then signed a contract with the Edison-Bell company, England, and a new company Edison-Bell-Penkala Ltd. was founded in Zagreb which started the production of gramophone records based on his original technology.
The Penkala factory in Zagreb in 1912, Branimirova street, had about 300 employees, with canteen, kindergaten, swimming pool, and even a football club Penkala. It was among largest factories for office equipment in the world.
Another constructor of airplanes was Ivan Saric, who had been flying in Subotica in 1913 (only 10 years after brothers Wright, and three years after Penkala in Zagreb).
Ivan Saric with his airplane, source maketarstvo.net
Stanko Hondl (1873-1971), professor of physics at the University of Zagreb, has a great merit for popularizing Einstein's theory of relativity in Croatia. One of his students was William Feller, outstanding Croatian - American mathematician.
A great merit in popularizing astronomy and technical sciences in Croatia has Oton Kucera (1857-1931) with his numerous published books and articles. See [ppt1] and [ppt2] (in Croatian; many thanks to Tatjana Kren and Branko Hanzek for permission). Upon the suggestion of Oton Kucera, an asteroid (589), discovered by his colleague August Kopff in Heidelberg in 1906, was named Croatia. It is interesting that a granddaughter of Oton Kucera has the first name Kroacija. We mention in passing that there is another asteroid, named after William Feller, distinguished Croatian - American mathematician (by NASA, in 1996).
Jaroslav Havlicek was born in Croatia, in Garesnica (1879 - 1950), of the Czech nationality. His steam boiler fed by coal powder represented a revolution in building large power supplies. A reputed journal Applied Mechanic's Review included him among 10 most important personalities in the history of energetics (besides Volta, Fermi, Edison, Tesla). His major inventions were completed during his stay in Brno (Czechia). Since 1919 he was a professor in Zagreb.
Franjo Hanaman (1878-1941), chemist and metallurgist, invented together with Aleksandar Just the first economical electric bulb with wolfram filament. During 1910, when Hanaman sojourned in the USA, his patent rights have been bought by the General Electric Co.
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), born in Croatia (at that time within Austria-Hungary), is well known and need not be particularly introduced. He completed his elementary and secondary school education in Croatia (in Gospic and Karlovac), and studied in Graz and Prague. He is the father of alternating electrical current technology and the three phase system. He is equally known by his contribution to the high frequency technology and wireless communications. The impact of Tesla's numerous inventions (112 patents during his work in the USA) on the development of modern civilization is immeasurable. The unit for magnetic induction Tesla, was named after him (Conference general des poids et mesures, Paris, 1960). He refused to receive the Nobel prize which he had to share with T.A. Edison.
of the building of Electricité
de Strasbourg in France,
where Tesla had worked for some time, have inscriptions with
names of outstanding scientists. There you can see his name surrounded
Laplace, Planck, Bohr, Einstein and Rutherford (click on the
In front of the building of International Union for Telecommunications
in Geneva there is a statue of Nikola Tesla.
When his mother died, he paid a visit to Croatian capital
Zagreb in 1892, where
he gave a lecture about alternating current.
On that occasion he said:
and suggested to build alternating current power plant. There is no doubt that by saying "homeland" he meant Croatia. In 1931, at the age of 75, Tesla received birthday greetings from Lee de Forest and Albert Einstein. His monument carved by Ivan Mestrovic, who knew him personally, can be seen in Zagreb. After the end of World War II, the famous sculptor was asked by Belgrade officials to prepare Tesla's monument for the capital of Yugoslavia, but he refused, explaining that Tesla did not like the city. By the way, the family name Tesla does not exist in Serbia. Another monument, carved by Croatian sculptor Frano Krsinic, can be seen near Tesla's hydro power plant on Niagara Falls. A part of Technical Museum in Zagreb is dedicated to Nikola Tesla. According to some recreational sources on WWW, four greatest geniuses in the history of Mankind are Gutenberg, Edison, da Vinci, and Tesla (in this order). There is not doubt that with a different homeland Tesla's position on the list would be much higher. Even today, so many years after Tesla's death (1943), his numerous manuscripts are kept as top secret by the Ministry of Defense of the USA (see Margaret Cheney, Tesla: Man Out of Time, Prentice Hall, 1981; Vladimir Muljevic, Nikola Tesla, slavni izumitelj, Hrvatska zajednica tehnicke kulture, Zagreb, 2000, p. 75.)
Technical Museum in Zagreb, about Tesla's inventions (rotating egg, Tesla's three phase generator, Tesla's transformer, Tesla's remote control boat, etc).
It seems that Nikola Tesla was the first one to discover the electron. This can be seen in his article "Reply to J.J. Thomson's note", published in Electrical Engineer, New York, August 26, 1891. In this article Tesla claims that his experiments prove the existence of charged particles ("small charged balls"), while J.J. Thomson denied this. It was only five years later that Thomson proved the existence of electron using another experiment. See [Centuries of Natural Sciences in Croatia 2, p. 62, article by academician Vladimir Paar, outstanding Croatian physicist].
The Supreme Court of the USA overturned Marconi's patent of modern radio in favor of Nikola Tesla in 1943, soon after his death. Tesla died in New York, in circumstances close to poverty.
It is interesting that in Bartol Kasic's dictionary of Croatian language (16/17 centuries) one can find the name of "tesla", meaning adze. The word tesla (adze) is without any doubt related to Croatian words tesar - carpenter, tesati - to trim (a log), to dress (a stone).
Among scientists studying seismology the famous Moho-layer (or Moho-discontinuity) of the Earth is well known. It was named after the great Croatian geophysicist Andrija Mohorovicic (born in Volosko, 1857-1936), professor at the University of Zagreb. His discovery was essential for understanding the inner structure of the Earth and the behavior of seismic waves. Together with the theory of forces due to Rudjer Boskovic, this is probably the greatest achievement in the history of Croatian science.
Let us cite a part of his biography from Willard Basom's monograph A hole in the Bottom of the Sea, The story of the MOHOLE project, 1959/61, Doubledays, USA (p. 143):
...As a boy of 15 he spoke Italian, French, and English as well as his native Croatian, later added German, Czech, Latin, and old Greek. He studied physics at the University of Prague under some famous professors including E. Mach and did his graduate work at the University of Zagreb, from which he obtained a Ph.D. In 1894 Dr. Mohorovicic became Director of the Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics and Professor at the University of Zagreb in 1897, where he remained until his retirement in 1921. His special interest was the precise measurement of time for both astronomical and seismical events, but his reputation mainly rests on his classic paper in the field of seismology, The Earthquake of October 8, 1909, which contains the news of his discovery of a major discontinuity at a depth of 55 kilometers. This discontinuity, now generally known as the Moho in his honor, defines the crust of the earth. Professor Mohorovicic died in 1936 in circumstances approaching poverty.
Photo from an article by Mete Oner: Deepest borehole ever drilled
Andrija Mohorovicic around 1902,
photo from 150 godina Geofizickog zavoda, ur. Mirko Orlic, Zagreb 2011.
Two Croatian names appear on the map of the Moon. The name of Rudjer Boskovic was given to a mountain on the visible side, and the name of Andrija Mohorovicic to a mountain on the dark side of the Moon.
Andrija Mohorovicic, links
Mohorovic made pioneering observations of rotor-type circulation in bora. For more information see the following article:
Vanda Grubisic and Mirko Orlic: Eearly observations of rotor clouds by Andrija Mohorovicic [PDF], Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (vol. 88, 2007, str. 693-700) [many thanks to dr. Orlic, University of Zagreb, for the PDF]
Stjepan Mohorovicic (1880-1980), professor of physics at a grammar school in Zagreb, made a very important theoretical discovery of the positronium (rotational pair of electron and positron) as early as in 1934, published in "Astronomishe Nachrichten", a prestigeous German scientific journal (precise reference is A. Mohorovicic, Astron. Nachr. 253, 94 (1934)). Its existence was confirmed experimentally in 1951 by Martin Deutsch, MIT physicist (and a member of Manhattan Project).
Still earlier, in 1927, Stjepan Mohorovicic predicted the existence of the MOHO-layer on the Moon, analogous to that of the Earth, discovered by his father Andrija Mohorovicic. Its existence has been proved in 1969 during the famous Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. Seismic measurements have been carried out by Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, the first humans to land on the Moon.
Stjepan Mohorovicic with his father Andrija Mohorovicic.
As an explorer, Dragutin Lerman (1863-1918) was a member of Stanley's expedition to Congo (Zaire), and a commissary (Commissaire General) of the Belgian government in Congo. By the end of his career the Belgian king Leopold conferred the knighthood of Lion's order on him. And the famous Stanley wrote: "The Croat is energetic, cautious, in high spirits..." It is interesting that in 1882 Lerman discovered huge waterfalls on the river of Kwil, which he named the Zrinski Waterfalls (Zrinski chutes), in honour of a famous Croatian family of rulers. He donated about 500 artifacts related to various traditional African cultures to the Ethnographic museum in Zagreb.
Misionar na Gornjem Nilu, Damir Zoric
Brothers Mirko (Karlovac 1871-Peru, 1913) and Stevo Seljan (Karlovac 1876-Ouro Preto, Brazil 1936) spent several years in Ethiopia carrying out geomorphological, climatological and ethnographic investigations.
They occupied an important position at the court of Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II. Later they went to South America, where they founded the society La Mission Cientifica Croata Mirko y Stevo Seljan and organized some expeditions, especially in Peru, Chile and Brazil (in the region of the Amazon).
Ethiopian Star and The Solomon's
A gift of Emperor Menelik II to
Seljan, with inscription on gold plated sword:
A charter bestowed by Emperor
Menelik II to
Their most important book is Mirko and Stevo Seljan, El Salto del Guayra, 1905, Buenos Aires. Origianlly written in Croatian, so that it could be printed in the United Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia, and Dalmatia, it was translated already in 1905 into French. In 1913 Stevo Seljan was elected as a honorary member of the Mexican Geographical Socitey.
In 1878, at the age of 27, Mirko Seljan walked 2800 km from St. Petersburg (Russia) to Paris (France), in just 110 days.
Photos from Aleksandra Sanja Lazarevic: Zivot i djelo brace Seljan, Etnografski muzej u Zagrebu, 1977.
Henry Suzzallo (originally Zucalo, 1875-1933) was president of the University of Washington from 1915 to 1926. The central library of the University of Washington is called Suzzallo Library. His parents Petar and Ana Suzzallo, Croatians originating from Dalmatia, arrived to San Francisco in 1852.
On the birth certificate of Henry Suzzalo the names of his parents are given as Petar and Anna Zucalo. His godparents were also Croatians: John Lepes and Elisabeth Mahoni. Source: [Soric, p 105].
Milan Sufflay (1879-1931), was a brilliant Croatian historian and polyglot of international reputation, known by his numerous scientific contributions, especially in the field of albanology. His mother was a German from Hungary, and his father a Croat. In 1913 and in 1918, in cooperation with Konstantin Jirecek and Ludwig von Thalloczy, he published two volumes of Acta Albaniae (Acta et Diplomata res Albania mediaevalis illustrantia) in Vienna, in the Latin language. It covers the history of Albania from 344 AD to 1406. His monograph Srbi i albanci (Serbs and Albanians), 1925, has been translated into French and English (English translation from Croatian original by Theresa Alt and Wayles Browne, Cornell University, USA). From 1908 till 1918 Sufflay was professor of the University of Zagreb. From 1918 onward he was not allowed to lecture any more, and the ex-Yugoslav government in Belgrade did not allow him to visit Hungary, Italy, and the Vatican for scientific archival work. It was forbidden for him to accept the position of professor offered to him by the University of Budapest in Hungary. Despite all this, Sufflay planned to publish a continuation of Acta Albaniae in four additional volumes. The project had been financed by the Albanian King Zogu and the government of the state, and Sufflaz even delivered a lecture in the building of the Albanian Parliament in Tirana in Albanian language about his project. The financial support equivalent to today's 3,000,000 USD had been deposited in a Swiss bank.
Sufflay was assassinated by a steel rod on a street in the center of Zagreb in 1931, at the age of 52. After the dramatic events that followed, Albert Einstein and Heinrich Mann sent an appeal to the International League of Human Rights in Paris to protect Croats from the terror and persecutions of the Serbian police. It was also published in the New York Times (6th May 1931). As we learn from this letter, the newspapers in Zagreb were not allowed to report about Sufflay's activity; it was not allowed to attach a half-mast flag on the main building of the University of Zagreb in his honour; the time of the funeral could not be announced publicly, and even condolence messages were not allowed to be telegraphed. In their letter Einstein and Mann hold the Yugoslav king Aleksandar explicitly responsible for the state terror over the Croats. The letter concludes that it should not be tolerated that killings be allowed as a means to achieve political goals. We should not allow killers to be promoted as national heroes. He is the author of the first Croatian SF (science fiction) novel Na Pacifiku 2255. In 2002, an international congress "Shuflaj dhe Shqiptarët", dedicated to Milan Sufflay, the pioneer of albanology, has been organized in Tirana, capital of Albania. Alfred Moisiu, president of Albania, posthumously decorated Milan Sufflay with the order of "Naim Frasheri d'or". Sufflay's written opus comprises about 3000 items.
Peruvian Croat Juan (Jean) Bielovucic (1889-1949) was one of the first aviators in history. In 1913 he traversed for the first time the Alps by monoplane (20km in 26 minutes), reaching the height of 3200 m. In 1911 he performed the first flight in his native Peru, in the presence of the president of the state. He was one of the founders of Peruvian aviation. Bielovucic was also director of the Aviation School of Reims. See the monograph by Jose Zlatar - Stambuk: Bielovucic - pionero da la aeronautica Castrense, Lima 1990.
Kristian Krekovic - the famous Croatian born Peruvian painter, pintor croata - peruano
Ivan Jagsic (1886-1956), born as a Burgenland Croat in Austria, studied cartography, topography and geology in Zürich. As a professor of University of Cordoba, Argentina, he lectured also meteorology and astronomy, and wrote numerous scientific books. The South American Oceanographic Institute in Brazil was named after him.
Lucas Kraglievich (1886-1932) was distinguished Argentinean paleontologist of Croatian descent.
Rudolf Fizir (1891-1960), born in Ludbreg in Croatia, built 18 airplanes. He was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma by the F.A.I. (Fédération Aeronautique Internationale), for his achievements in developing world aviation. With his two-wing aircraft Fizir, constructed in 1925, he won the first prize at the Petite Entente contest in 1927. From then on began his serial aircraft production in cooperation with well known companies: the Fizir-Mercedes, the Fizir-Wirght, the Fizir-Titan, the Fizir-Kastor, the Fizir-Gypsi, and the half-metallic Fizir-Jupiter.
He also reconstructed some models into hydroplanes. His great success was Fizir FN, two-wing, two-seat aircraft with double commands (more than hundred planes!). It was used as instruction plane even 30 years after the end of the WW2! In 1931 he constructed amphibious aircraft, Fizir 1931, intended for landing on rivers, lakes and the sea. He also constructed a tourist aircraft as early as 1935. He also constructed parachutes, like its inventor Faust Vrancic. During the WW2 he worked in Zagreb, lecturing aircraft construction at the Technical Faculty. After the WW2 he worked in the Industrial Research Institute in Zagreb. For more information see CROATIA, in flight magazine, Automn 2000, pp. 89-99.
Stefan Gelineo, Croat by birth, born in Stari Grad on the island of Hvar (1898-1971), studied in Leipzig and Vienna. He was the professor of physiology at the University of Belgrade (capital of Serbia and former Yugoslavia). He is internationally known by his contributions to the study of hypothermia, i.e. the study of vital functions under low temperatures.
Stjepan Mlakic (1844-?) Bosnian Croat born in Fojnica, a missionary in Africa among the tribes of Shiluks and Nuers in Sudan, like his colleague Kohnen. Very educated, besides his native Croatian he spoke German, Italian, English and Arabian, to which he added the language of Nilot tribe of Nuers. His letters to his brother (also a priest) in Bosnia witness about his very close contacts with Africans. It is worth to note his discovery that in Egypt, near the town of Korsko, there is the village of Ibrim, where used to live Bosnian Muslims (!) inhabited there by a Turkish sultan. He donated a rich collection of artifacts of African culture to the Zagreb Ethnographic museum. See [Zoric].
Bernardo Kohnen (1876-1937), German by birth, born near Hannover, moved as a young boy with his parents to Bosnia, where he attended the famous Jesuit gymnasium in Travnik. He devoted about 30 years of his life to the evangelization and study of life of Shiluks (southern Sudan), at that time one of the most isolated tribes in Africa, and other Nilot tribes (Denka, Nuer, etc). "Father Shiluk", as he was called by the Shiluks themselves, wrote first dictionaries, grammars, and translated holly and liturgical books into their language, praised by the english scholars. Although born as German, Kohnen spoke and wrote in Croatian. He donated some of the artifacts of African culture to the Zagreb Ethnographic museum. See [Zoric].
Fran Bosnjakovic (or Franjo Bosnjakovic, 1902-1993), born in Zagreb, was one of world's leading experts in technical thermodynamics. Educated in Zagreb, where his scientific career started in 1926, he moved to Dresden, Germany, in 1928. In 1931 he became university teacher at Dresden High Mechanical Engineering School. After a short stay in Belgrade, he moved back to the University of Zagreb in 1936. He was a collaborator of Croatian Encyclopaedia. After 1945, during the Yugoslav communist regime, he was degraded to two years of forced labor. In 1951 he became rector of the University of Zagreb.
Since 1953 he started lecturing at the High technical school in Braunschweig in Germany, where he became head of the Department for thermodynamics and director of the Thermotechnical institute. In 1961 he founded the Institute of Thermodynamics for Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, that he led until his retirement in 1968. He also established groups for Irreversible Thermodynamics, Mass Transfer and Thermokinetics, Radiation and Plasma, and Heat Transfer. It is interesting that his textbook Technische Thermodynamik, published already in 1935 in Dresden, had seven improved and extended editions in Germany, and was translated into English (Technical Thermodynamics) and Russian (Tehnicheskaya termodinamika). The Croatian translation had five editions (Nauka o toplini). See his list of publications held at the University of Stuttgart.
Professor Bosnjakovic obtained honorary doctorate from High Technical School RWTH Aachen, Grashof's medal from the German Society of Engineers VDI in 1969, gold medal from the Associazione Termotechnica Italiana in Padova in 1966, another gold medal from the Institut français des combustibles et de l'énergie in Paris. On the occasion of his 80'th birthday in 1982 the German Society of Engineers VDI issued a special publication devoted to his scientific work. In 1987, on the occasion of his 85'th birthday, a solemn colloquium was organized by the Technical University of Stuttgart. Also, he was a member of
Denn das Ingenierwessen is vor allem auch ein Beruf des Könnes und der verantwortungsvollen Gestaltung, wofür wissenschaftliche Grundlagen nur einen, wenn auch beachtlichen, notwendigen Teil bilden.
ECOS 2002 International conference, organized by the Institute for Energy Engineering at the Technical University of Berlin, has been dedicated to the memory of Fran Bosnjakovic.
Bosnjakovic's "Technische Thermodynamik" had till the year 2000 altogether thirty editions in four languages (German, English, Russian, and Croatian).
Danilo Blanusa (1903-1987), Croatian mathematician, professor at the University of Zagreb, was born in Osijek. He discovered a mistake in relations for absolute heat Q and temperature T in relativistic phenomenological thermodynamics, published by Max Planck in Annalen der Physik in 1908:
His work in graph theory resulted with what is now known as
It is not widely known that Max Planck visited the Croatian capital Zagreb in the automn 1942, when he was at the age of 84. He delivered a lecture at the University of Zagreb on September 15th, entitled "On the goals and boundaries of exact natural sciences" (sources: Priroda, Zagreb 1942, p 184, or Glasnik Mat. Fiz. Astr. 2, 1947, p 213).
William Feller (Vilim, Willy, Willi, 1906-1970) is a well known name among mathematicians dealing with probability theory. He was born and educated in Zagreb as Vilim Feller, where he studied mathematics for two years (completing 4 semesters out of 8), and then in 1926 continued his studies at the University of Göttingen. By the end of the same year, at the age of 20, he defended his doctoral degree in mathematics. Göttingen at that time the strongest mathematical center in the world besides Paris. He was a professor at the Universities of Kiel, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Lund, Providence, Princeton etc., a member of many scientific organizations. More than 150 mathematical notions bear his name, and here are just a few of them: Feller's process, Feller's transition function, Feller's semigroup, Feller's property. He is best known for his monograph "An Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications", Volumes I and II, on 1153 pp., translated into Russian, Chinese and Polish. They are considered among the best mathematical textbooks written in the 20th century. At the International Congress of Mathematicians held in 1958 in Edinburgh, William Feller gave a plenary talk "Some new connections between probability and classical analysis."
For more information see William Feller (photo by Paul Halmos).
Feller was among those who initiated issuing the important Mathematical Reviews journal, and was its first executive editor (1944-1945). He worked with von Neumann, one of the creators of modern computers. Feller was awarded the National Medal of Science of the USA in 1969. He was in touch with his relatives in Zagreb, as well as with his colleagues at the University of Zagreb.
Joseph Doob, a renowned American mathematician, wrote about Feller the following:
Vilim Feller, extensive biography, with emphasis on his life in Zagreb, Croatia
The Savannah nuclear ship, the first nuclear-powered merchant ship, was built to the plans of Erazmo Tićac. Born in Žurkovo in 1904, Erazmo went to schools in Žurkovo, Kostrena and Bakar, and made a career as a shipbuilding engineer in the USA. After the president Dwight Eisenhower announced his decision to build an experimental nuclear-powered merchant ship in 1955.
Erazmo Tićac, planner of the Savannah nuclear ship. Source of the photo.
The planning was entrusted to the firm The Sharp Brothers Inc., and Tićac became the leading planner. The ship was launched in 1959. On a plaque above the entrance to the ship’s lounge was written in golden letters: "Ben Tićac, naval architect". Erazmo got the name Ben when he received American citizenship. Source of the text www.kvarner.hr
For more information see www.croatia.org.
In 1972 Hrvoje Saric invented and patented the first professional synchro-rotational photo-camera (360-degree camera) in history. In 1988 he deviced the first electronical construction consisting of nine BETACAM videocameras, catching the range of the full circle. Saric's 360 degree film technology was exploited at 1988 and 2000 at EXPO exhibitions organized in Lisbon, Portugal, and in Hannover, Germany.
Croatian pavillion was the main event at the 1998 EXPO in Lisbon, Portugal, among others due to 360-degree film technology introduced by Hrvoje Saric.
Vladimir Jurko Glaser (1924-1984), theoretical physicist in the field of quantum fields theory, published one of the first monographs on Quantum Electrodynamics in the world (Kovarijantna kvantna elektrodinamika, Zagreb 1955, written in Croatian), at the age of 31. On p. 8 of the book he mentioned that the existence of positronium has been theoretically predicted by Stjepan Mohorovicic in 1934.
He was head of the Department of Theoretical Physics at the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb. In 1957 he found permanent employment at the Department of Theoretical Physics in CERN in Geneva. Letters sent to Glaser by Wolfgang Pauli (nicknamed "the sword of theoretical physics") show Glaser's outstanding scientific status among theoretical physicists of his time. On the occasion of Glaser's death, during the commemoration held in CERN, prof. Henry Epstein said that he does not understand Croatian, but when in need for details and formulae, he prefers to consult Glaser's book (written in Croatian!), since it is reliable in all details. For more information see here (in Croatian).
Professor Gaja Alaga on the left, a member of Croatian Nobility. Source www.knjiznica.phy.hr
He worked not only in Zagreb, but also at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Berkeley, Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich etc. In 1955, in cooperation with K. Alder from Switzerland, A. Bohr from Denmark and B. Mottelson from the USA, he discovered the so called K-selection rules and intensity rules for beta and gamma transitions in deformed nuclei.
Nikola Cindro (1931-2001) was a Croatian physicist, descendant of very old Croatian Nobility from 8th century, from Croatian south (Split, Poljica). He was lecturing in Zagreb, Frankfurt, Paris and Strasbourg, and occupied the position of vice president of European Physical Society. His high quality work was recognized also abroad: he was a member of Italian physical society and Officier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques, Paris, 1997.
Zvonimir Janko (born in 1932 in Croatia), studied mathematics and earned his PhD at the University of Zagreb. He is professor of mathematics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and his name is well known among experts in the theory of finite groups. Professor Janko discovered sporadic groups named J1, J2, J3, and J4 in his honour. They are called Janko groups.
The discovery of J1 in 1964, more than a century after the discovery of the first sporadic group, launched the modern theory of sporadic groups. His group J4, discovered in 1976, has
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elements. About his research he delivered an invited lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Nice, France, 1970.
Eduard Prugovecki (1937-2003), outstanding Croatian theoretical physicist, was born in Craiova, Romania (his mother was Romanian of Polish descent, and his father was Croatian). Having completed his primary and secondary education in Bucharest, he moved with his family to Zagreb, where he studied physics and started his early scientific career. In 1961 he was sent to Princeton where he received his Ph.D. in 1964. The next year he emigrated to Canada, and since then worked at the University of Toronto. Professor Prugovecki wrote four monographs, and the last two are
He also published two futuristic novels: Memoirs for the Future (Cross Cultural Publications, Notre Dame, 2001), and Dawn of the New Man (Xlibris, Philadelphia, 2002).
You can also see the names of three Croatian Nobel prize winners:
Lavoslav Ruzicka (1887-1976, born in Vukovar, of a Czech father and a Croat mother, attended the gymnasium of Osijek), obtained the Nobel Prize for discoveries in organic chemistry, professor at the Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland 1939; see Ruzicka links.
Vladimir Prelog, (1906-1998, a Croat born in Sarajevo, studied in Zagreb), obtained the Nobel Prize for discoveries in organic chemistry, worked at the Technische Hochschule in Zurich, 1975. As a young boy he was a stipendist of Napredak, Croatian cultural society in Bosnia and Herzegovina. See Prelog links. He wrote his authobiography, Vladimir Prelog: My 132 Semesters of Studies of Chemistry, American Chemical Society, Washington DC 1991 (second edition by Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998). Prelog was among 112 Nobel Prize winner who signed and appeal For Peace in Croatia in 1992. He himself expressed on numerous occasions his public protest against the aggression on Croatia and BiH.
The third Croatian Nobel Prize winner is Ivo Andric, for literature. We mention here again that Nikola Tesla refused to receive the Nobel prize for physics, which he had to share with T.A. Edison.
PLIVA is today the largest pharmaceutical company in Croatia and by sales, the largest in Central and Eastern Europe. Its best selling product is Sumamed antibiotic.
Mario Puretic (1917, born in Croatia in the town of Sumartin on the island of Brac; his true name was Mario Puratic), revolutionarized the technology of pulling out fishing nets from the sea by his construction of what is now known as the Puretic Power Block in 1950s. Until then fishing nets had to be manually drawn by eight to ten people, which was an extremely difficult job. The Marco Seattle company developed Puretic's idea, and it soon became a standard mean of fishing in the whole world. In 1975 the United States Patent Office conferred him a special recognition for his patent which revolutionarized the fishing technology worldwide. He was elected among hundred greatest inventors of the 20th century in the USA.
In 1972 the National Bank of Canada issued a new series of 5 dollar banknotes with the Puretic Power Block on a fishing boat drawn on the reverse side! See here:
When Mario Puretic died, his remains were brought from the USA to his native town of Sumartin in 1994. He was an honorary citizen of many countries, including Island (many thanks to Ms Nena Kazulin, USA, for this information).
For more details see
From Marco Seattle web site: No single invention has contributed more to the success of purse seine net hauling than Marco's extensive line of Power Blocks. First introduced in the 1950's the Puretic Power Block line became the linch-pin in the mechanization of purse seining. Combined with fluid hydraulic power technology and new large synthetic nets, it changed the whole character of purse seine fishing. From those early days the Marco Power Block has undergone many design improvements to provide the widest available range of sizes and power options to match changing requirements.
Ribarski uredaj PURETIC POWER BLOCK je namijenjen za izvlacenje i prikupljanje mreze na ribarskim brodovima.
Anthony Maglica, holder of hundreds of patents and trademarks, founded Mag Instrument, Inc, in Los Angeles in 1955, and designed Mag-Lite flashlight, which is now an American product icon, among 100 top products that "America makes best". The Maglite products have been honored by the Japan Institute of Design and the Museum for Applied Art in Germany. Mag Instrument donated thousands of flashlights to aid in the rescue efforts at the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001. Born in New York, and as a child raised in Croatia, Tony Maglica has plenty of other interests which include also Zlarin, Croatia, where he grew up.
Agabekov SA is world's famous company seated in Geneva, Switzerland, dealing with exterior lighting design. Mr Youri Agabekov, the founder of the company, has Croatian roots: his father is Ladislav Žerjavić, from Hrvatsko Zagorje (village of Mače) near Zagreb. His products have been used to cover with soft lighting such buildings like (photos by kind permission of Mr. Youri Agabekov):
Mr Youri Agabekov is a Croat born in Russia, living in Switzerland (Geneva) and in Croatia (Zagreb). His company, Agabekov SA, has 80 representatives throughout the world. Here is the logo of the company devoted to his wife Branka:
Light fixture, United States Patent 4158221 by Youri Agabekov; some of his patents are also held in Japan
Ralph Tony Sarich (born in 1938) is an Australian Croat who developed the Orbital Engine in 1972. He is a recipent of several prestigeous ingeneering awards like Australian Inventor of the Year 1972, Sir Lawrence Hartnett Inventors Award 1972, Churchill Medal, British Society of Engineers 1987 and Clunies Ross National Science and Technology Award 1991. His parents are Croatian immigrants to Australia.
Miss Australia Michelle Downes
Ralph Sarich's workshop
The service of buying parking tickets via mobile phones is today widespread worldwide. The service has been conceived and developed in Croatia.
Daniel D. Gajski, a hero of Computer Science. Prof.Dr. Franz Ramming wrote the following: "... Daniel Gajski did not just light the fire, he also fuelled it substantially. During the last three decades he achieved pioneering results. He was a principal contributor to the areas Silicon Compilation, High-Level Synthesis, and System-Level Design. ..."
professor of robotics at the Technical University in Vienna, Austira,
has founded a prestigeous international association DAAAM
in 1990. Among the past conferences, four of them have been organized
in Croatia until 2009: in Dubrovnik, twice in Opatija and in Zadar. The
DAAAM comprises more than fifty member states and hundreds of
Jakša Cvitanic is Professor of Mathematical Finance at Caltech. Prior to joining Caltech in 2005, he held positions as Professor of Mathematics and Economics at USC and Associate Professor of Statistics at Columbia University. He is regarded as a leading expert in mathematical finance. Professor Cvitanic was born in the city of Split, Croatia, and completed his studies of mathematics at the University of Zagreb.
In 1997 Tomislav Uzelac, a student of the Universty of Zagreb, Croatia, invented the AMP Playback Engine, the first successful MP3 player. Two students from the University of Utah adapted it to work on Windows, and called it WinAMP.
Marin Soljacic is the author of the new Wireless Power Transfer, conceived in 1996. It attracted a substantial interest of the press (more than 200 articles in leading newspapers and radio-reports in numerous countries around the world, including: USA, Germany, Australia, Iran, India, Croatia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, UK, Poland, Canada, the Netherlands, Thailand, Dominican Republic).
He is a young Croatian physicist born in Croatia's capital Zagreb, where he completed his secondary school education. Dr. Soljacic is employed as researcher at the Department of Physics, Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.
Nenad Ban is distinguished Croatian scientist, an expert in biochemistry and biophysics. He is recipient of the Heinrich Wieland Prize 2010 for his work on key structures in human fatty acid synthesis. According to Professor Konrad Sandhoff from Bonn, Germany, his work is "truly pioneering" and "great achievement". Professor Ban is working at ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. It is interesting that he and his group of young scientists had two publications in the same issue of "Science".
Marijan Ožanić: Velikani hrvatske znanosti
One of the most famous Croatian scientists is Professor Balthazar, born in Zagreb in 1967: