Michael Pupin

A US scientist of Serbian origin (1854–1935). As a university professor of theoretical electrical engineering, he focused his research on electromagnetic studies. He was a successful inventor, registering 24 inventions, the best known one being the Pupin’s loading coil, which help maintain an electrical signal in telegraph cables. It brought him the world fame and wealth. Owing to Pupin, this civilisation has inter-city and international telephone communication.

Michael Pupin was awarded numerous international prizes and commendations, he was a member of the US and Serbian Academy of Sciences and an honourable doctor of science at 18 universities.

He was born in a Banat village of Idvor near Kоvаčica. As a very young man he immigrated to the USA to attend school. He studied mathematics and physics at Cambridge. He obtained his Ph. D in physical chemistry in Berlin. For forty years he worked as a professor of theoretical electrical engineering at the Columbia University.

His whole life Pupin remained a great Serbian patriot. He was active in the Serb émigré societies in the USA. He also organised the Circle of Serbian Sisters, and a patriotic  association the Serbian Popular Defence. He also wrote about the history of the Serbian Orthodox Church and charity was an important part of his work, taking care of getting the clothes and medicaments for the Serbian war orphans.

He wrote the Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography, From Immigrant to Inventor.


The memory of the great Pupin’s work today is the joint Serbian and USA heritage. In 1958 Columbia established Pupin Medal for Service to the Nation, awarded annually.