WORDS: ALEKSANDRA NINKOVIĆ-TASIĆ
PHOTOGRAPHS: PRIVATE ARCHIVE
The exploring the history of science means to explore the private history of extraordinary people, their restless destinies, growing up, fears and love. What kind of enthusiasm has led them to their scientific knowledge?
What has been written on their souls sometimes was as equally important as what they have born in mind.
The whole life of one of the greatest minds of science can fit in a single word – Love. Love for country, mother, life, wife, birth place, science, his students, and children. And that would be just the beginning of the list.
His love is the engine of a viable, useful life. To bestow others your whole life can be done only with a great love. According to that, it is not odd what Pupin has written to Dr Vlada Petković, the director of the National Museum:
You say: “Due to a fact that you are a patriot and a benefactor, I will be free enough to propose you to be honored with a decent medal”. I am kindly asking you not to do that, because I do not take any awards for the small gifts that can, in my opinion, make me more pleasure than to those who accept gifts. Please be sure that whatever I do now, and what I will maybe do in the future for the National Museum, is the expression of my pure love to this institution which suffered so much during the war.
For him, the science was love to the eternal truth, even the machines in Pupin’s notes have the soul, due to a fact that they have been made by a human being. The simplicity of this brilliant mind and his will to make this world a better place will write down one of the richest heritage in the history of science.
He didn’t emphasize his private life, didn’t leave a clear clue about people he loved, about members of his family in USA. The autobiography that has been red by the whole world didn’t have the assign to speak about everyday life, the purpose of it was to represent the Serbian people and the Serbian mother to the Americans, as Pupin has explained to the priest in Idvor. She was there to motivate and give strength, not to give details from the personal life. This is the reason why we today, 81 years after Pupin’s death, after many searching, we find out that the full name of his daughter was Barbara Ivanka Pupin, that his wife Sarah Catharine Jackson was widow when she has met Mihajlo Pupin, and that he took care of the children with true love of a father, Frederick James and Mary Virginia Smith that she has brought to their marriage. After their mother has passed away, he has prepared them for life, by taking care of their education, and their marriages. We get the information about troubles of young Vava, as Pupin has called his daughter, her two marriages, the divorce, lifestyle, important dates about lives of children from the first marriage of his wife, thanks to the newspapers from the beginning of the century, the big, famous newspapers, but even the local ones, with archives that we can consider a real treasure if we want to look Mihajlo Pupin closer.
There is a rumor that follows the mature Mihajlo Pupin. There were stories that he was secretly in love with Mrs Helen Jenkins. What we know for sure, is the fact that this rich lady, philanthropist and patron, has fell in love with Serbian people, thanks to Mihajlo Pupin. She gave us a piece of her fortune, even one part of Manhattan. Hence, nowadays we can say that this man with heart bigger than mind have had two love stories that stood the test of time. He has loved his wife from the bottom of his heart, and the biggest crisis in his life was her death. However, we also find out that two big properties in Norfolk have been connected with secret channels, by which the good rich widow Jenkins and Mihajlo Pupin have opened their hearts to each other.
From the look to the stars that Pupin considered to be the spring of the supreme inspiration, all to the dining table, are written down love and enthusiasm. Worried Nikola Tesla wrote to the consul of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in New York that Pupin is ill, and that he is not listening to him at all. He doesn’t want to leave the wine, nor the dried meat which he loves so much, but that are harmful to his health that has been damaged by work and years.
To love life and to feel that it is only the path from physical to spiritual reality – that is Mihajlo Pupin.
The shepherd from Idvor – that is also Mihajlo Pupin.
A man who is considered to me the father of telecommunication and electronics – that is also Mihajlo Pupin.
On a gathering in a big American scientific institution, in 1932 while he was getting John Fritz medal, he emphasized that mankind has not reached yet the biggest motional force in a spiritual world – the force of love.
The resonance of heart and mind, their perfect harmony – this is probably what Mihajlo Pupin is all about.