Academic personalities from Transylvania

Alstedtius (Ioan Henric Alstedt ) - german philosopher and scholar

Augustin Maior (1882- 1964) - physicist

Augustin MaiorHe was born on August 21, 1882, in Reghin. His parents were Gheorghe Maior and Tereza, born Cornea. Gheorghe Maior was a teacher and then headmaster of the Romanian Primary School in Reghin. 

He attended the German kindergarten and then the primary school teaching in German language in Reghin, his parents having been, as it seems, convinced of the importance of receiving a German education. Between 1892-1896 he attended the first four grades at the Evangelical German Highschool in Reghin, and continued the following two at the Piarist Highschool in Târgu Mureş. Ever since then he made himself noticed through an unusual capacity to learn foreign languages and because of his inclination towards exact sciences, especially towards Mathematics and Physics. He attended the last two high school grades at the Catholic Gymnasium in Budapest 

Between 1900-1904 he attended the courses of the Faculty of Mechanics of the Polytechnics Institute in Budapest. In 1905, graduating from college, Augustin Maior went on a study trip through Europe’s famous university towns: Viena, Munchen and Göttingen. On this occasion he attended the courses of great scientific personalities such as:  F. Klein, D. Hilbert, H. Minkowski, C. Rünge, E. Riecke, W. Voight, L. Prandtl, H. Th. Simon, E. Wiechert. 

Augustin Maior was passionately drawn to electronics and the Theory of electricity, magnetism and gravity during his entire life. 

Augustin Maior entered into the history of science at the end of 1906, when he managed to achieve the simultaneous transmission of five telephone conversations on a phone line of 15 km, without any interference between each other. The results of his theoretical and experimental studies were included in the article "On Multiple Telephoning" published in 1907 in the German magazine "Elektrotehnische Zeitschrift".In this article he demonstrates both theoretically and experimentally that on a single phone line one can transmit several calls simultaneously, using for each one a high frequency alternative current which is the carrier of a micro-phonic message. This new model of telephony conquered quickly Western Europe and America, areas of considerable economic and financial potential. 

After World War I Augustin Maior returned to his country and initiated in Sibiu the reorganization of the Mail Services and Telecommunications in Transylvania. 
In July 1919 he was appointed professor of Theoretical and Technological Physics at the Institute of Theoretical and Technological Physics of the Faculty of Sciences in the University of Cluj, and on October 1 the same year he was appointed director of the institute. 

On January 26, 1920 the first Romanian school of Theoretical Physics was inaugurated in Cluj, and Augustin Maior was appointed headmaster of this school for more than three decades. The institute's name would later change for the Institute of Applied and Theoretical Physics. At this institute he taught courses on "Electricity and Magnetism" and "Acoustics and Optics".According to the University Archives during the interwar period he made considerable effort to organize and equip the library and the Physics laboratories.  

In 1923, together with a group of colleagues, he built the first radio device to be heard of in Cluj.  

He was Dean of the Faculty of Sciences from the University of Cluj during the period 1929-1930.

Petre Sergescu (1893-1954) - mathematician

Augustin MaiorHe was born on December 3rd, 1893 at Turnu Severin, in a family of intellectuals. His father, Constantin Sergescu was a veterinarian. 

He obtained his BA Degree (1916) and then a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Bucharest (1924) and a BA Degree in Philosophy (1916). He also attended at the same time the courses of the Conservatoire of Bucharest. 

Sergescu began his career in education in 1916. Between 1924-1925 he was co-opted as substitute teacher at the University of Bucharest. In the fall of 1925 he came to the University of Cluj, where he worked as lecturer (between 1925-1928) and then as aggregate professor of Analytical Geometry (1928-1931). 

From April 1, 1931 he was appointed titular professor of Analytical Geometry at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Cluj, and from February 1938 he was appointed professor of Differential and Integral Calculus at the same faculty. In 1943 he transfered to the University of Bucharest. 

Sergescu was a member of the International Academy of History of Sciences (Paris) and of the Masaryk Academy in Prague. At the same time he was corresponding member of the Romanian Academy and the main organizer of the Romanian Mathematicians’ Congresses during the interwar period. 

Sergescu was invited to lecture at the universities of Paris, Poitiers, Montpellier, Clermont and Brussels. In 1929 he was vice-president of the Romanian Society of Sciences and chairman of the Society of Mathematics of Romania. Also he was editorial board secretary for the"Mathematics" review, editor for the "Sphinx" review (Brussels), and reference advisor for"Jahrbuch über die Fortschritte often Matematik”.

Petre Sergescu also entered politics as member of Nicolae Iorga’s political party. In 1930 he was local councillor in Cluj, and in the period 1931-1932 he was deputy for Sălaj. 

Among his most important works we mention: "Sur les noyaux symétrisables" (1924) "Mathematical Reasoning" (1928), "Sur les modules des racines des équations algébriques" (1929), "Remarque sur le théoreme de Rouché" ( 1929), " Les sciences mathématiques"(1933).

Raluca Ripan - (1894-1975) - chemist

Augustin MaiorShe was born in Iasi on June 27, 1894. After graduating primary and secondary school in her hometown, Raluca Ripan joined as a student the Chemistry department in the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Iasi. She graduated in 1919 and on account of her exceptional achievements during the years of study she was kept as preparatory assistant at the Mineral Chemistry Laboratory of the University of Iasi. After only one year, Raluca Ripan was appointed assistant for the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry at the same institution. 

In 1920 she transferred to the University of Cluj in order to complete her doctoral thesis coordinated by professor Gh. Spacu. In 1922 she publicly defended her thesis, entitled “Double amine corresponding to double sulphates in the magnesia series", and therefore Raluca Ripan became the first woman to hold a PhD in Chemical Sciences in Romania. 

During 1920-1931 she was lab activities chief for the Laboratory of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry in the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Cluj. 

Between the years 1925-1927 she held the position of substitute lecturer at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy of the University of Cluj (for the specialty of Inorganic Chemistry).

Starting from October 1, 1926 she was appointed provisional lecturer at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Cluj. 

She was then promoted as titular lecturer (1931) and university professor (1942). During the Second World War she worked in Timisoara, where the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Cluj had taken refuge. After 1945 she returned to Cluj and lectured at the Faculty of Sciences (1945-1948) and then at the Faculty of Chemistry (starting from 1948). 

In the period 1948-1964 Raluca Ripan was head of the department of Inorganic Chemistry from Cluj, dean of the Faculty of Chemistry (1948-1952), and between 1952 and 1956 she was rector of the University of Cluj (The Victor Babes University - teaching in Romanian language). 

Raluca Ripan was the first woman to be member of the Romanian Academy (1948), and was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Nicolae Copiernicus University from Poland (1963). 

Between 1957 and 1975 she was head of the Cluj subsidiary of the Romanian Academy.

Bolyai János (1802-1860) - mathematician

Augustin MaiorHe was born in Cluj on December 15, 1802. His parents were Bolyai Farkas and Benkő Zsusanna.  His father was a famous mathematician, having worked for many years as teacher in various schools in Transylvania. In 1804 the Bolyai family moved to Târgu Mureş, where Bolyai Farkas had been invited to teach at the Reformed College. Young János attended primary school and high school in Târgu Mureş and in 1818 he joined the Academy of Engineering in Vienna. He graduated in 1823 with excellent results and was assigned sub-lieutenant in Timisoara. 

On November 3, 1823, in a letter to his father Farkas, János Bolyai was writing “out of nothing we created a new world”, hinting at the new geometric principles he had discovered, and which are today known as non-euclidian geometry.

In 1825 Bolyai János returned to Târgu Mureş and strongly encouraged by his father he started working on a paper in which he presents his theories. In 1831 the paper Appendix, Scientia spatii absolute veram exhibens was published as an extract from the forthcoming book of his father. In 1832 Bolyai Farkas published the first volume of his book Tentamen, which was also attached to János Bolyai’s work,Appendix.Scientia spatii absolute veram exhibens (written in Latin). 

Great mathematicians and scientists from Europe commented on this work, acknowledging its scientific value. Thus, Gauss wrote in a letter to his friend Gerling the following: "I see in this young geometrician called Bolyai a first-rate genius." 

In 1833 Bolyai János ended his service in the army, being appointed captain, and was retired upon request, as in the previous years he had contracted malaria and cholera during his missions to Lvov and Olomuc.  

After leaving the army he returned to Transylvania and continued his research in the field of Mathematics and Physics.  During the period 1835-1840 Bolyai János formulated the principles of Geometric Physics, and may thus be considered a precursor of Albert Einstein. In 1837 he participated in the competition of the Jablonowksi Society of Leipzig with a paper entitled Responsio, which dealt with complex numbers issues. As his theories were so much ahead of their time, his research did not receive any distinction in this competition.  

In 1846 Bolyai János moved to Târgu Mureş and started to investigate new branches of Exact Sciences. After years of research in 1850 he began to write, without finishing it, the paper entitled Raumlehre (Space Science), in which he formulated basic ideas that were to be used over decades by topographer engineers.  

In 1856 his father Bolyai Farkas died and on January 27, 1860 Bolyai János died too. Bolyai Janos’s tomb was not marked. 

The scientific value of Bolyai János’s work was acknowledged only posthumously, and between 1867-1868 the Italian and French editions of the Appendix were published, in 1891 the English edition was published and in 1897 the Hungarian edition.  

The international fame of the Hungarian scientist determined Franz Schmidt to search for and manage to identify and mark the tomb of János Bolyai in 1893. On June 7, 1911 Bolyai János was exhumed and buried in the same tomb with his father.

Gyula Farkas - prominent scientist from the University of Cluj

Augustin MaiorMathematician and physicist Gyula FARKAS, the most frequently quoted professor of all universities in Cluj from the beginnings until today, was born on March 28, 1847 in the town called Sárosd (in western Hungary). He attended the secondary school in Gyor at the Benedictine Secondary School. In 1866 he was admitted to the Faculty of Law and to the Music Academy concurrently. During this period he published articles on the theory of music. Encouraged by the Physics professor Ányos Jedlik he turned his attention to Physics and transfered to the Natural Sciences and Chemistry specialization. 

During the 1870-1874 period he worked as a professor at Székesfehérvár where he also taught music. He wrote a Physics textbook for the popular schools.

During 1874-1880, being a private teacher for the children of count Géza Batthány he went on a trip with the Batthány family in Italy and France, where he met famous mathematicians (Hermite, Villarceau etc.). These encounters prompted him to turn to Mathematics. During the 1881-1887 period he intensely studied Mathematics with the financial support of count Géza Batthány, subsequently applying for a doctorate in this specialization. After obtaining the doctoral degree he taught the Theory of Functions at the University of Budapest.

In 1887 he was appointed teaching professor at the University of Cluj with the Department of Theoretical Physics. He was Dean of the Faculty of Sciences seven times (1889-1890, 1892-1893, 1893-1894, 1896-1897, 1897-1898, 1898-1899, 1902-1903), Rector once (1907-1908) and deputy once (1908-1909). 

He was elected corresponding member in the Hungarian Academy in 1898, and full member in 1914. In 1892 he was appointed the delegate of the Cluj University to Padua, on the occasion of celebrating the 300 years anniversary since Galilei had come to this University. He was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Padua. 

Gyula Farkas’s most important achievement is a Theorem of Linear Inequalities Systems, today called, out of historical considerations, Farkas’ Lemma.In current language, this theorem can be formulated as follows:  
The necessary and sufficient condition in an euclidian space for the inequality gx?0 is a consequence of the inequalities system g 1 x?0, g 2 x ? 0, . g n x 0 is that the vector g is a linear combination with unnegative shares of the  vectors g 1, g 2, g n .
This theorem has been known and used in the world of science especially since 1951, when the book HW Kuhn - A. W. Tucker was released: Nonlinear programming, which is used to demonstrate the theory for the multipliers in the optimization theory (known today as the Kuhn-Tucker theorem). This Farkas’ Lemma is now quoted on a daily basis in the Mathematics research papers related to operational research. 

Its great merit was to bring to Cluj renowned mathematicians such as Lipót Fejér, Frigyes Riesz, Alfred Haar, who had important contributions to the development of Mathematics in the period when they were teachers at Cluj. Their names cannot be left out of any serious book of Mathematics Analysis even today.

Gyula Farkas published in 1906 his first article related to the theory of relativity (Einstein's article in this field was published in 1905!). Fourier's Principle (described in 1789) was rediscovered in 1829 by Gauss. Gyula Farkas was the first who demonstrated with mathematical rigour this principle. He showed the usefulness of this principle in describing movement in a more general form than all his predecessors had done. He dealt with the theoretical problems of mechanics, thermodynamics, and electrodynamics. In his discoveries in Theoretical Physics physicist Farkas benefited from the help of mathematician Farkas.

"Nature uses mathematical language." - is what he wrote in a paper. In 1900 he published the book entitled Vektortan és az egyszerű inaequatiók tana (Theory of vectors and simple inequalities), which comprises his own achievements in the domain. 

He popularized the achievements of Farkas Bolyai and János Bolyai. In 1902, he held a speech as Dean on occasion of unveiling the commemorative plate on the house where János Bolyai was born.  He was one of the founders of the Society of Mathematics and Physics. He was chairman of the section of Natural Sciences in the Transylvanian Museum Association. 

He wrote a series of course notes, some of which are still to be found nowadays in the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics Library and they can be consulted and easily understood because he put great emphasis on an accurate and didactic exposition. 

Farkas's influence is also identifiable in the works of Alfred Haar, Imre Fényes and Teofil Vescan.

Gyula Farkas retired in 1915 and withdrew to Pestszentlőrinc (town near Budapest) where he died on December 27, 1930.

Alexandru Borza (1887-1971 ) - botanist

Augustin MaiorBorn in Alba Iulia on May 21, 1887 he obtained his diploma in Theology at the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy in Budapest. Then he enrolled for Sciences studies at the Universities of Berlin and Breslau. He obtained the PhD in Natural Sciences. In the period 1911-1919 he taught as secondary professor.

Starting with 1919 he worked as professor of Systematic Botany at the University of Cluj. He was the founder of Geobotany in Romania.

He was director of the Botanical Garden from Cluj, the Systematic Botany Institute and the Botanical Museum. As director of the Botanical Garden, he reorganized the institution following the model of the Western botanical gardens. Alexandru Borza coordinated the monumental publication of the Botanical Museum from Cluj, entitled "Flora Romaniae exsicata", which he sent within a programme exchanging scientific material to more than 30 botanical museums abroad.

He discovered in Dobrogea a new plant species, called Alyssum Borzeanum.

Borza was pro-dean of the Faculty of Sciences from Cluj between 1919-1920 and 1920-1921 and from 1938 until October 1940. He was Dean of the Faculty of Sciences during 1935-1938, General Secretary of the Ministry of Faith and Public Instruction between June 1, 1929 and April 20, 1931. He was Senator of the Rural National Party in 1932-1933.

Alexandru Borza represented the University of Cluj at the International Botanical Congress in the United States (Ithaca - 1927). After the Congress he went on a trip in the United States, and collected a rich flora material. He participated in the international geobotanic trip in Czechoslovakia and Poland (1928). He was member of the Natural Monuments Commission and president of its subsidiary in Transylvania. In recognition of the value of his scientific activity, Borza was appointed member of the International Commission for Elaborating the Fitogeographic Map of Europe.

Among his works we mention: A visit through the botanical gardens of the West (1922),Vegetation and Flora in Transylvania (1929), Botanischer Ausflug (1931), etc.

Herman Oberth (1894-1989) - world renowned physicist

Augustin MaiorHe was born in Sibiu on June 25, 1894 in a family of intellectuals from Transylvania. His father, Dr. Julius Oberth was a famous surgeon doctor, and his mother, Valerie, was the daughter of the poet and thinker Friedrich Krasser. 

In 1896 the Oberth family moved to Sighisoara, where Dr.  Julius Oberth had been appointed director of the local hospital. After attending primary and secondary school, Herman Oberth took the baccalaureate at the "Episcop Teutsch" secondary school ("School on the hill" in Sighisoara) in 1912. In the same year, Herman Oberth calculated the fundamental equation for rockets flight and elaborated his first rocket draft. 

Encouraged by his father Herman Oberth began to study Medicine at the University of Munich in 1913. He felt, however, from the very beginning, much more attracted to the Physics and Aerodinamics courses of the Polytechnic Institute in Munich. The beginning of the First World War forced him to discontinue his academic studies and to enlist in the army. Being injured on the Eastern front in February 1915, Hermann Oberth was sent to the hospital of Sighisoara, which was led by his father, and there, after his recovery he remained as medical sergeant. 

In 1919, after the end of the war, Hermann Oberth decided to finally pursue his interest in Physics, first at the University of Cluj, where he studied for a semester, then moving back to Munich and then to the universities of Heidelberg and Göttingen, where he studied Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. 

In 1920 he designed the first space rocket of 100 tonnes, the three steps rocket. 

In the spring of 1922 he finished the manuscript of his book "The Rocket onto Planetary Space”, which he presented as dissertation at the University of Heidelberg. Although he received favourable feedback from leading specialists in the field of Physics and Astronomy, he was unable to obtain the acceptance of the material presented as a diploma paper. To his great disappointment the paper was also rejected by the publishing houses where he tried to publish it.

He returned home and started again the Faculty of Physics at the University of Cluj, and on May 18, 1923 Hermann Oberth defended his paper before the examining board of this University. His diploma paper was precisely the dissertation rejected at Heidelberg. He passed all his exams, and the presentation of his diploma paper encountered no difficulties. As the scholar later tells his biographer, Dr. Hans Barth, he was very tense waiting for the final decision of the examiners and was pleased when professor Augustin Maior, chairman of the committee, announced:  “Hermann Oberth is granted the title of professor. Our Most Sincere Congratulations!" 

In June 1923 his book "The Rocket onto Planetary Space” was finally published.  

During the interwar period (1923-1938) Oberth worked as professor of Mathematics and Physics in Sighisoara and then in Medias, continuing all this time to make experiments related to flying in the outer space. 

After 1938 and during the Second World War Herman Oberth departed for Germany where he was offered research contracts in Vienna, Dresden, and then at Peenemunde. He witnessed in 1942 the first successful launching of the ballistic missile "Aggregate 4”. 

In 1945 he was sent for a short time in a camp for American prisoners. In August 1945 he settled down at Feucht, near Nurnberg and he carried on with his scientific activity. 

He was afterwards asked to participate as consultant in numerous projects on flying in the outer space in the U.S.A., Italy, etc. 

In 1969 he participated at the launching of "Apollo 11" at Cape Kennedy, launching that led to the first human landing on the Moon. 

In 1972 he was offered the title Doctor Honoris Causa of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, and in 1974 he received the "Scientific Merit 1st Class" distinction.  

Among his most important works we mention: "The Paths of Space Navigation" (1929),"People in Outer Space" (1954), "Moon Automobile" (1954), "Electric Spacecraft" (1961). Over 95 "Oberth solutions" were identified and put into practice in building the first modern rocket.

Nicolae Mărgineanu (1905-1980) - psychologist

Augustin MaiorHe was born in Obreja in the county of Alba on June 22, 1905.

He graduated (1927) and then took his PhD in Philosophy (his main speciality being Psychology) at the University of Cluj, with the distinction Magna cum Laudae (1929). 

He was admitted to education in 1926. He was trainee assistant (1926-1928), assistant (1928-1936) and activities chief (1936-1938) for the Institute of Psychology at the University of Cluj. 

In 1931 he was awarded the title of Docent in Experimental Psychology. He followed specialized training courses in Germany at the universities of Leipzig, Berlin and Hamburg (1929), then at the Sorbonne in France, and then in England in London (1935).  

As scholarship holder of the Rockefeller Foundation he worked between 1932 and 1934 as scientist in the United States at the universities of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Chicago and Duke. 

From 1938 he was appointed titular lecturer in Applied Psychology and lectured in that capacity between 1938-1947 at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, University of Cluj. 

In the period of 1938-1942 he worked as substitute professor of Psychology and director of the Institute of Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, University of Cluj. Also, between 1941 and 1943 he was director of the Psychotechnical Laboratory of the Ministry of Labour, for the Cluj subsidiary, which took refuge to Sibiu. 

When communists came to power, Nicolae Margineanu was banned from teaching, being imprisoned as political prisoner between 1948 and 1964. 
He was reinstated in 1969, and worked between 1969 and 1971 as main researcher of second degree at the Institute of Pedagogical Sciences, being in charge with managing the Cluj subsidiary of this institution.

Among his most important works we mention: "Psychology of Exercise" (1929),"Psychotechnics in Germany" (1929), "Contemporary German Psychology(1930),"Contemporary French Psychology" (1932), "Elements of Psychometrics" (Cluj, 1938),“Human Condition” (1973), “Psychology, Logic and Mathematics” (1975). He also published memoir accounts of his imprisonment experience.

Péterfi Istvan (Stefan) (1906-1978) - botanist, biochemist and phyto physiologist

Augustin MaiorHe was born on March 8, 1906 in Deva, in a family of intellectuals. His father, Péterfi Martin, was botanist and florist, working as conservationist at the Botanical Museum, and then at the Botanical Garden of Cluj (1908-1922). He also collaborated to Shedea Flora Romaniae Exsiccata.

Péterfi Istvan attended primary school and secondary school in Cluj, passing his baccalaureate in 1929. In the same year he became a student at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Cluj, where he studied Sciences of Nature. As a student in the faculty he already started to work as preparatory assistant, and subsequently he held this position during the period of 1929-1936. In 1933 he obtained his BA Degree and continued his academic career in the Department of Plant Physiology and Anatomy at the University of Cluj, being assistant (1936-1941), activities chief (1941-1943) and then professor (until 1976). In the period 1946-1948 Péterfi Istvan was dean of the Faculty of Sciences of Cluj, and between 1959-1976 he was pro-rector of the Babes-Bolyai University. 

In 1937 he held the public presentation of his doctoral thesis which dealt with the research of the Microthamnion Küntzingianum Naeg green alga biology.In fact, most of Péterfi Istvan's research concentrated on algae (systematic, morphology, physiology, ecology, cultivation methods, etc.). He was the founder of the Romanian school of Algology and author of the first treatise of Algology written in Romanian language - "Treatise of Algology” (in collaboration with Al.Ionescu, 1976-1981). Péterfi Istvan discovered and described new species and classes of algae: Clorophaeoclonium, Euglena Sphagnicola, etc. Another important direction of his research focused on defining in terms of biochemical and physiological perspective the differences between growth and development in plants with flowers. 

The importance of his scientific contributions was acknowledged by his co-optation in the Romanian Academy, first as member correspondent (1955), and then as titular member (1963). Between the years 1971-1974 he was member of this committee and between 1974 and 1978 he was vice-president of the Academy. In 1956 he was offered the "Emil Racoviţă" award, and in 1972 he was offered the Ministry of Education award. 

Péterfi was also chairman of the subcommittee for natural monuments in Cluj, and was a member of the National Council for UNESCO.  

Among his most important works we mention: "Elements of Plant Physiology" (1937, in collaboration), "Bush Algae in the Călimani Mountains" (1962, in collaboration), "About Algologic Flora and Vegetation in the Retezat Mountains" (1963, in collaboration) "Plant Nutrition" (1969), “Az algak biológiája es gykorlati jelentösége” (1977), etc.

Emil Racoviţă (1868-1947) - biologist and speleologist

Augustin MaiorHe was born on November 15, 1868 in Iasi. 

He graduated from the Sorbonne with a degree in Law (1889) and Natural Sciences (1891). In 1896 he obtained his doctorate in Science in Paris. 

Between 1897-1899 he participated in the scientific exploration expedition to the South Pole, under the leadership of the famous Norwegian explorer Amundsen. Racoviţă was a naturalist for the Belgian Antarctic expedition "S.Y. BELGICA". At the end of the journey he was authorized to publish the zoological and botanical results recorded by this expedition.  

In the period 1900-1920 he was deputy director of the Arago Laboratory in Banyuls sur Mer. Also in 1900, Emil Racoviţă was invited by the French scientist Henri de Lacaze-Dubreuil to join the directorial board of the journal "Archives of Experimental Zoology", which he would coordinate starting with 1901, after the death of Lacaze-Dubreuil, in collaboration with the scholar G. Pruvot.  

Between 1901-1914 Emil Racoviţă explored the depths of the sea in the Bay of Lyon, and the coasts of the Balearic and Catalonia Islands.  

On May 15, 1907 he published his fundamental work "Essai sur les problemes biospeologiques", which lay the foundations of a new scientific discipline calledSpeleology.Also, beginning with 1905 Racoviţă started coordinating the "Biospeologica (etudes sur l'histoire naturelle du domaine souterrain)" publication, where he presented the results of the explorations he had undertaken, together with numerous colleagues in over 1,000 caves. In his expeditions into the underground Racoviţă collected and studied over 15,000 samples of cave life forms.  

In 1920 he was invited to come to the University of Cluj, where he was appointed Biology professor and director of the Institute of Speleology, the first biospeleology cave research centre in the world. He was in charge of this institute until his death in 1947. 

Between 1927-1929 Emil Racoviţă was appointed chairman of the Romanian Academy. 

He was senator of the University of Cluj and then senator of the Romanian Academy between 1922-1929. Between 1929-1930 he was Rector of the University of Cluj and pro-rector in the period 1930-1931. 

He was chairman of the University of Cluj Celebrations Committee in October 1930. 

He was offered the Doctor Honoris Causa distinction at the University of Lyon. Racoviţă was also chairman of the "Societe de Speologie" in Paris (1910), honorary chairman of the "Societe zoologique de France," and chairman of the Society of Sciences from Cluj (1920). He was also a corresponding member in the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation of the Society of Nations. 

Among his most important works we mention: "Speologia" (1926, 1927), "L'Institut de Speologie de Cluj" (1926), “Observations sur” (1927), etc.

Eugeniu Speranţia (1888-1971) - philosopher

He was born on May 6/18, 1888 in Bucharest. He was the son of writer Teodor D. Speranţia. After graduating his university studies in Law and Philosophy at the University of Bucharest, Eugen Speranţia obtained the PhD in Letters and Philosophy in 1912 at Bucharest. After that he left the country to attend specialised courses at the University of Berlin (1913 and 1914). 

During 1913-1920 he worked as secondary education teacher. In 1920 he was appointed head of the higher education at the General Secretariat for Instruction of Cluj and he was a member in the committee examining the teacher candidates for Cluj during 1920-1921. 

In September 1921 he was appointed substitute lecturer for the Philosophy of Law in Oradea. In October 1923 he was appointed substitute lecturer of Sociology, and in 1927 he was promoted to official lecturer of Sociology and Philosophy of Law. In 1931 he was appointed aggregate professor and in 1934 he was appointed titular professor. Between 1924-1934 he was professor of Philosophy at the Orthodox Theological Academy in Oradea. 

During the period he spent in Oradea, Eugeniu Speranţia was president of the Association of Secondary Teachers in this town (between 1921-1925) and vice-president of the Cultural Reunion "The three Criş Rivers". 

On July 1, 1934 he was transferred to the Faculty of Law of the University of Cluj. 

He was member of the Romanian Society of Philosophy from 1915 and member of the Romanian Writers' Society from 1919. Eugen Speranţia had an extensive journalistic activity, with numerous articles published in the press of the time. He often signed under the pseudonyms of Eugenius, Genică, Carina Lazzaryni, Victor Olimp, Radios de Cerythia. 

Among his most important works we mention: "Definition and Prehistory of Philosophy"(1914), "Hegelian Biology" (1932 ), "Laws and forms of reasoning" (1934), "Philosophy of Law Course""Problems of Contemporary Sociology".

His professional qualities were attested as Eugene Speranţia was co-opted as member of the "Internationale Vereinigung fur Rechtphilosphie" of Berlin in 1928, as member of the "Institut international du Droit et de Sociologie Juridique" in 1937 and as member of the “Standing Committee of the International Congresses of Aesthetics and Science of Art” also in 1937.

Sextil Puscariu (1877-1948) - linguist

Augustin MaiorSextil Puşcariu was born on January 4, 1877 in Brasov, in a well-known family of Romanian intellectuals. His father, Iosif Puşcariu, was a famous journalist, and his uncle, Ioan knight of Puşcariu, juridical consultant and writer, stood out by fighting for the rights of the Romanians from Transylvania, and was among the most notable participants in the Assembly from Blaj in May 1848. 

After graduating secondary school in his hometown, Sextil Puşcariu attended the University of Lipsca between 1895 and 1899, and afterwars he prepared his doctorate in Philosophy in Paris (1899-1901) and Vienna (1902-1904). On August 17, 1904 he entered education as docent in Romance Philology at the University of Vienna, where he initiated the first seminar in the Romanian language. In 1905 he became correspondent member of the Romanian Academy, being entrusted with drafting the Romanian Language Dictionary in 1906. 

Between 1906 and 1918 he worked as titular professor of Romanian Language and Literature at the University of Cernauti, being also dean between 1914 and 1918. On May 19, 1914 he became titular member of the Romanian Academy. 

In 1918 he was appointed vice-president of the National Council of Bukovina and Secretary of State in Foreign Affairs. 

After the unification of Transylvania with Romania he was delegated to manage the organization of the University of Cluj in Romania, as general commissioner of the Ruling Council. He was the first rector of the University of Cluj between 1919-1920, and he presided over the celebrations at the official inauguration of the new institutions of higher education. 

As a professor at the University of Cluj he founded in 1919 “The Museum of the Romanian Language", which he was also in charge with and he coordinated the editing of the institute’s bulletin, entitled "Dacoromania".During the period 1922-1925 he was Romania’s delegate for the Society of Nations, operating in the International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation.

During the Second World War he was again rector of the University of Cluj (October 1940-June 1941), and coordinated the resuming of activity in the institution in the context of its refuge to Sibiu and Timisoara. 

Beginning with the summer of 1941, he was appointed for several years director of the Romanian Institute in Berlin. At the end of World War II he returned to Romania. 

After the establishment of communism he was investigated repeatedly with a view to his activity from the period 1939-1945. He died on May 5, 1948, just a few days before the massive wave of arrests initiated by communists against the right wing extremists and those sympathizing with them (May 14-15, 1948). 

Sextil Puşcariu was corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin, member of the Roman Committee of the German Academy in Munich and of other scientific institutions in Germany. He was also member of the International Standing Committee of Linguistics starting with 1936. Sextil Puşcariu was also an active member for the literary section of "Astra". At the same time he coordinated the "Glasul Bucovinei” review (Cernăuţi, 1918) and “Cultura” review (Cluj, 1924).  

Among his most important works we mention: “Rumänische Etymologien” (Halle, 1903) “Romanian Language Dictionary” (1907-1914), “History of Romanian Literature” (Sibiu, 1921),“Reformation Project of the Romanian Spelling” (1929), “Une survivance du latin archaique dans les langues roumaine et italienne” (Paris, 1927), “Deutsche Kultureinflüsse auf das Rumänische Volk” (Leipzig und Iena, 1933), “Atlas of the Romanian Language" (coordinator), etc.

Brassai Samuel (1800-1897) - Hungarian scholar

Augustin MaiorBorn in Rimetea in 1800, Brassai Samuel had a childhood and adolescence fraught with difficulties. As a result, in order to manage to self-support he started working since he was very young, first as private teacher in families of nobles, teaching foreign languages and music, and then he worked as a librarian. In 1837 he became professor at the Unitarian College of Cluj, and taught in this position until 1848, the year in which he was appointed vice president and participant in the conference on education. Between 1850 and 1859 he worked as professor at Gönczy Pál’s School and afterwards he returned to Cluj as director of the Transylvanian Museum Society and teacher again at the Unitarian College. 

In 1872 Brassai became teacher at the "Franz Joseph" University of Cluj, where he worked until retirement in 1884. The disciplines he taught at the University of Cluj were Mathematics, Linguistics, and Sanskrit. He also showed noteworthy preoccupation for other scientific fields such as Geography, History, Statistics and Economic Sciences, Music Theory, almost all branches of life sciences, aesthetics, literary criticism and history of literature. 

As an adept of the idealistic philosophy, Brassai engaged in a polemic with Mentovich Ferenc in the 1860’s, who was a representative of the philosophy of materialism. In collaboration with Hugo Meltzl, he founded and published starting with 1877 and until 1890 the magazine "Ö sszehasonlító Irodalomtörténelmi Lapok" (Acta Comparationis Litterarum Universarum), the first review of comparative literature in the world. 

This was not the only publication he managed, because during his entire activity Brassai was concerned with the popularization of science and publication of the latest scientific achievements. Thus, between 1834-1848 he was editor of the magazine Vasárnapi Újság[Sunday Review], and in 1837 he began publishing a series of volumes of school readings, grouped in a collection called Kék Könyvtár [The Blue Library], and in 1851 he set up with Boros György a youth magazine called Fiatalság barátja [The Friend of the Youth]. He is also editor of a literary criticism review Criticai Lapok [Criticism Review] and of the Transylvanian Museum Society Annals (between 1859 and 1873). 

For his professional excellence, Brassai was awarded in 1874 the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Cluj, and was then elected honorary member and later titular member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. 

Brassai was one of the most important members of the Unitarian Church. Starting with 1862 he was chief curator of the Unitarian College in Cluj. At the same time he was the first president of the Ferenc Dávid Association.A few months before his death Brassai donated his entire library, which was extremely valuable, and all his properties to the Unitarian Church. He died on June 24, 1897. 

Among his most important works we mention - Bevezetés a világ, föld és státusok esmeretére ([Introduction to Knowing the World, the Land and its States] Cluj, 1834), Logika lélektani alapon fejtegetve ([Logic Explained in Terms of Psychology] Pest, 1858), Magyar vagy cigány zene ([Hungarian or Gypsy Music] Cluj, 1860), Az Akadémia igazsága ([Academy Justice] Cluj, 1862); A magyar mondat ([The Short Sentence in Hungarian] Cluj, 1860-63), A magyar bővített mondat ( [The Sentence in Hungarian] Pest, 1870), A neo-és palaeologia ügyében ([For Neo- and Paleology] Budapest, 1875), "Euklides és Luther - Antiparallél" (Cluj, 1875), Aesthetische Kritik (Als Beitrag zur Theorie der Horaz-Übersetzungskunst”, (Cluj, 1879), "Die Reform des Sprachunterrichts”, (Cluj-London).