Ivan Pavlovich Pulyui (Ukrainian:
Іва́н Па́влович Пулю́й; German: Johann Puluj) (2 February 1845 – 31
January 1918) was a Ukrainian-born physicist, inventor and patriot who
has been championed as an early developer of the use of X-rays for
medical imaging. His contributions were largely neglected until the end
of the 20th century.
Was born in Hrymayliv near Ternopil, Austria-Hungary (present-day Ukraine)
Ivan Pulyui graduated with honors from Theological Faculty of the University of Vienna (1869), later also from the Department of Philosophy (1872). In 1876 Pulyui finished his doctorate on internal friction in gases at the University of Strasbourg under supervision of August Kundt. Pulyui taught at the Navy academy in Fiume (Rijeka, Croatia) (1874–1876), University of Vienna (1874–1884) and the German part of the Higher Technical School in Prague (1884–1916). He served as the rector of the Higher Technical School in Prague (German part) in 1888-1889. Pulyui also worked as a state adviser on electrical engineering for Bohemian and Moravian local governments.
In addition he completed a translation of the Bible into the Ukrainian language.
Pulyui did heavy research into cathode rays, publishing several papers about it between 1880 und 1882. As a result of experiments into what he called cold light Pulyui developed the Pulyui lamp which was mass-produced for a period. This device was also some kind of primitive X-ray tube, but it was not until Wilhelm Röntgen discovered the X-rays and published his experiments, that Puluj recognized the potential of his own device. He was nevertheless among the first who worked with X-Rays and used them for medical diagnostics.
Pulyui published his results in a scientific paper, Luminous Electrical Matter and the Fourth State of Matter in the Notes of the Austrian Imperial Academy of Sciences (1880–1883), but expressed his ideas in an obscure manner using obsolete terminology. Pulyui did gain some recognition when the work was translated and published as a book by the Royal Society in the UK.
Pulyui made many other discoveries as well. He is particularly noted for inventing a device for determining the mechanical equivalent of heat that was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1878. Pulyui also participated in opening of several power plants in Austria-Hungary.
Quotes about Puluj
"World history has never been just to certain individuals or certain nations. Small nations and their achievements are often neglected while the accomplishments of large nations are at times exaggerated."
Slavko Bokshan, a Serbian scientist who worked in the same department as Pulyui and Roentgen
Ukraine's Ternopil Ivan Pul'uj National Technical University is named after him.
A stamp published on the occasion of Pulyui's 150th Birth Anniversary in 1995.
Streets in Kyiv, Lviv and other Ukrainian cities has the name of Ivan Pulyui.
Support of Ukrainian culture
Pulyui is also known for his contribution in promoting Ukrainian culture. He actively supported opening of a Ukrainian university in Lviv and published articles to support Ukrainian language. Together with P. Kulish and I. Nechuy-Levytsky he translated Gospels and Psalter into Ukrainian. Being a professor Pulyui organized scholarships for Ukrainian students in Austria-Hungary.