February 17 – Happy Birthday, Jozef Murgas

Posted on February 17, 2016

If someone's called a “Renaissance Man,” he's probably had a lot of occupations, or he's made contributions to several different fields.

Today's famous birthday is a Renaissance Man: an inventor, an architect, a painter, a biologist, and a priest. Since he helped develop wireless telegraphy and other wireless communications, I think we could fudge that “inventor” label towards him being a physicist and engineer, don't you?

Jozef Murgas was born in Tajov, which at the time was in the Kingdom of Hungary, which in turn was part of the Austrian Empire. But Tajov is no longer part of Hungary OR Austria; it's in Slovakia!

Slovakia is in the middle of this map and is
colored a dark brown-red.

During his student days, Murgas was noted for his work in physics and in art. But he was also learning theology (the study of religion), and soon he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

While working as a priest, Murgas studied painting in Budapest (Hungary) and Munich (Germany). But after eight years, Murgas emigrated to the U.S. There he worked as a priest but started to work in electrotechnology, publishing papers, obtaining patents, and starting a company.

Along with all this work on wireless communication, Murgas took care of Slovak immigrants. He founded a community organization that took care of children and youths. He published a newspaper. He had a new library, cemetery, gymnasium, and several schools and playgrounds built. He organized a charity, took political action, wrote articles, and supported the creation of the nation of Czechoslovakia (which has since ceased to exist).

Murgas financed some of this cool stuff by selling paintings he painted.

He continued to do experiments in physics, and he also collected mushrooms, plants, minerals, and insects. His butterfly collection included 9,000 butterflies from all over the world.

I think the main contribution that Murgas made was to make all of the rest of us feel like lazy slugs!

In Pennsylvania, in King's College, there is a museum
exhibit of Murgas's paintings and other works.

Also on this date:

National Day in Libya

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