"The greatest scientists in the world have never discovered how to make grass into milk."
Michael Idvorsky Pupin (1858–1935)
Columbia College 1883
ScD 1904 (hon.)
A holder of 34 patents, Michael Pupin was a prolific electrical inventor whose many discoveries included devices widely used in telegraphy and telephony. His oscillating circuit made possible the simultaneous transmissions of several messages while his inductance coil increased the range of long-distance telephone communication. He also contributed to substantial advances in the use of X-rays. A long-time member of the Columbia faculty, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1904. Pupin was born in the Serbian Village of Idvor, then in Austria-Hungary, and as a boy worked in the fields tending sheep; his autobiography, From Immigrant to Inventor, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1924, tells of his transformation into one of America's great electrical inventors.