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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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