Ivan Pulyui

In 1995 Ukraine and progressive people of the world marked the 150th anniversary of a distinguished Ukrainian scientist Ivan Pulyui. He was born in 1845 under the sign of Aquarius. He was bound to become a lively, capable, friendly, witty, modest, uncompromising person. Usually gifted inventors grow out of the Aquarius but very often they are unable to use their inventions properly.

I. Pulyui was born in a small town of Grimailiv, Scalat district, Ternopil region. His father was a noted townsman, later he'was appointed a mayor of the town. Their family was a Ukrainian one, in which the native ,tongue was highly honoured. At the age of 6 Ivan was sent to school where, he studied eagerly and with ease. Having read all the books written in Ukrainian, which were at his disposal, he started borrowing Polish and Russian books. Studying at the Ternopil classic school (gymnasium), he took a considerable interest in physics, mathematics, astronomy. Every day he covered the distance of 10 km to get to gymnasium from which he graduated with honours.

Following his parents' advice he entered the theological department of the Vienna University. The way to Vienna passed through Lviv, Krakiv, Prague for almost 1,5 thousand km. It took him nearly a month to get there on foot practically. He fed himself mostly on bread and water. Studying theology, he simultaneously attended the lectures on physics, mathematics. But he gave up the idea of becoming a priest. That made his father very angry and he repudiated his son. He earned for his living by teaching. It took a great deal of his free time but it could not be helped. His greatest assistant was his strong will and persistance, his loyalty to his principles. His ardent desire was to teach in Lviv or Kiyiv, where he could give deep knowledge to his countrymen. But Russian gendarmes interfered with his plans. He was listed as untrustworthy, unreliable. While studying at the department of phylosophy in Vienna Pulyui published his scientific paper on astromony "About Immovable Stars and Planets". It aroused great irritation of Russian authorities. He was accused of encroaching upon the basis of the Russian monarchy. He was considered to be a leader of masses who might provoke the coup in Russia. The police searched his apartment, and in a year returned his works together with apologies.

He spent long hours in laboratory, devoting himself completely to science. Then he moved to Khorvatia where he taught physics and mathematics at the naval academy. He lived a very poor life there, saving every- penny. In autumn 1875 he arrived in Germany. At the ancient Strasburg University he took up teaching electromechanics. The University enjoyed great popularity with the Ukrainian Students. The last Ukrainian hetman Kirilo Rozumovsky studied there. In 2 years Pullyui came back to Vienna. He was given a warm welcome as a well-known professor of philosophy, physics and mathematics. Pulyui worked additionally at the Budapest company "Gantz" which had its branch in Vienna. The company produced electric lamps. It was a very difficult period in the life of I. Pulyui. Being honest, straightforward and sincere he had to work in the atmosphere of provocations and intrigues. He communicated with the factory owner only in written form. Pulyui participated in the biggest exhibiton in Europe, displayed practical use of electric energy. His projects of chanderliers and multicoloured advertisements were highly estimated at that time.

His lamps were much more perfect than those of Edison. His closed assistant at that time was his former student Catherine Strozhitska. She was 18 years his junior. She had splendid long hair which she sacrificed as the raw material for lamps. They got named and moved to Prague. Their children were brought up in the spirit of love for Ukrainian culture and traditions. I. Pulyui was a highly respected technical adviser. He persuaded a lot of city councils that it was necessary to build electric power stations. It was due to his initiative that electric stations were built in Czekhia, Hungary, Italy. Among the Ukrainian diaspora abroad Pulyui spread the idea of organized life. He founded the society "Sych", he advocated the Ukrainian cause in his private talks with ministers, manufacrurers. He founded the cultural society "Ukrainian Community". "Pulyui's Fund" supplied scholarships for needy students. He and his daughters organized celebration of the 35th anniversary of V. Lycenko's birthday abroad. Pulyui translated Psalter into Ukrainian, helped to publish the Bible translated by Kulish and Nechui-Levitsky. While doing it he managed to visit Western Ukraine, his native town of Grimailiv. I. Pulyui died on January 31,1918. His range of activities was very broad: he was a scientist, a philosopher, a public figure, an astronomer, a theologist, a pedagogue, an electromechanic, a physicist, a mathematician, a polyglot (he knew 15 languages), a smith, a carpenter, a writer (L Franko appreciated his writing talant most highly).

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