Michael Pupin

In 1874, Michael Idvosky Pupin (1858-1935) immigrated to the United States from what is now Serbia and Montenegro.  He was 16 years old.

Within several years he had mastered English and prepared himself academically to enroll in Columbia College, where he was awarded the B.A. degree in 1883. A brilliant student, he won fellowships to study at Cambridge University and the University of Berlin, where he earned the Ph.D. degree in 1889.

He returned to Columbia and became Instructor of Mathematical Physics and played a key role in founding the Columbia Department of Electrical Engineering.

He was an active inventor and patented many of his ground-breaking inventions including a method of rapid x-ray photography, the discovery of secondary x-ray radiation, telecommunications technology, and sonar-related technology.

His autobiography, From Immigrant to Inventor, won a Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography in 1924. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1904 and was awarded five medals and 18 honorary degrees.

This distinguished Serbian-American scholar, teacher, applied physicist, and inventor died on March 12, 1935 in New York City. Shortly after his death, the Columbia University Trustees named the university's new physics laboratory building "Pupin Laboratories" in his honor.

Some other information and pictures regarding Michael Pupin can be found on the Tesla Society pages.