Ivan Puluj

Ivan Pului (son of Pavlo Pului Ukrainian: Іва́н Пулю́й, син Па́вла Пулю́я; German: Johann Puluj; 2 February 1845 – 31 January 1918) was a Ukrainian physicist and inventor, 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.

Ivan Pului
Born2 February 1845
Died31 January 1918(1918-01-31) (aged 72)
Alma materUniversity of Vienna
University of Strasbourg
Known forX rays
Scientific career
InstitutionsCzech Technical University in Prague
Doctoral advisorAugust Kundt


Ivan Pului 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. Pului 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. Puluj 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.[1][2]

Scientific contribution

Puluj did heavy research into cathode rays, publishing several papers about those rays between 1880 and 1882. In 1881 as a result of experiments into what he called cold light Prof. Puluj developed the Puluj lamp;[3] it was awarded the Silver Medal at the International Electrotechnical Exhibition in Paris, 1881. Throughout the world, it has become known as the "lamp of Puluj" and even it was mass-produced for some time.

Puluj experimented with his new device and 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. Puluj did gain some recognition when the work was translated and published as a book by the Royal Society in the UK.[4]

While Professor Puluj's finding were essentially X-rays, he did not recognise them as such at first, although he demonstrated X-ray pictures of a hand and fingers obtained by using his tube / lamp to his students. This credit later went on to Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. Once Roentgen visited Professor Puluj's laboratory and the latter presented one of his tubes to Roentgen. Roentgen went home and in his laboratory started to conduct experiments with Puluj's tube. Puluj also continued to do research with his X-ray tubes. On 8 February 1896, just 6 weeks after Röntgen presented his finding about X-Rays, Puluj published his own findings in the French journal La Nature in Paris. He presented photographs that exhibited the skeleton of a stillborn child. His work was republished in various European scientific journals. Puluj would release further images of human body parts, including an image of a fractured human hand, and would suggest possible medical usages of this new technology. The quality of Puluj's pictures was much better than that of Roentgen's. [5]

Puluj 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. Puluj also participated in opening of several power plants in Austria-Hungary.[6]

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 Puluj and Roentgen


Pulyui's publications and first images (1895)

  • Strahlende Elektrodenmaterie //Wiener Berichte I. – 1880. – 81. – pp. 864–923; II. – 1881. – 83. – pp. 402–420; III. 1881. – 83. – pp. 693–708; IV. – 1882. – 85. – pp. 871–881.
  • Strahlende Elektrodenmaterie und der sogenannte vierte Aggregatzustand' – Wien; Verlag Carl Gerold Sohn, 1883.
  • Radiant Elektrode Matter and the so Called Fourth State. -London: Physical Memoirs, 1889. – Vol. l, Pt.2. – pp. 233–331.
  • Über die Entstehung der Röntgenstrahlen und ihre photographische Wirkung// Wiener Berichte II Abt. 1896. – 105. – pp. 228–238.

Select Works

  • Puluj, H. J. (1875). On a lecture-room apparatus for the determination of the mechanical equivalent of heat. Taylor and Francis.
  • Puluj, J., Pulyui, I., Пулюй, И. П., & Пулюй, І. П. (1876). Über die Abhängigkeit der Reibung der Gase von der Temperatur. (About the dependence of the friction of the gases on the temperature).
  • Puluj, J. (1876). Ueber einen Schulapparat zur Bestimmung des mechanischen Wärmeaequivalentes. Annalen der Physik. 233(3): 437-446. (Over a school apparatus for determining the mechanical Wärmeaequivalentes).
  • Puluj, J. (1876). Beitrag zur Bestimmung des mechanischen Wärmeaequivalentes. Annalen der Physik. 233(4): 649-656. (Contribution to the determination of the mechanical Wärmeaequivalentes).
  • Puluj, J. (1877). Ueber die Abhängigkeit der Reibung der Gase von der Temperatur. Annalen der Physik. 237(6): 296-310.
  • Puluj, J. (1877). On the diffusion of vapours through clay cells. Taylor and Francis.
  • Puluj, J. (1878). On the friction of vapours. Taylor and Francis.
  • Puluj, J. (1879). On the radiometer. Taylor and Francis.
  • Crookes, W., & Puluj, J. (1880). Annalen der Physik. Phil. Trans. 1: 152-3879. (Annals of Physics).
  • Puluj, J., & Glaser, G. (1880). The Fourth State of Matter. A Refutation. Science. 58-59.
  • Puluj, J. (1880). Strahlende Elektrodenmaterie. ©Akademie d. Wissenschaften Wien, 864-923.


  • Puluj, J. (1883). Strahlende Elektroden-Materie und der sogenannte vierte Aggregatzustand. (Radiant electrode material and the so-called fourth state).
  • Puluj, J. (1887). Objective Darstellung der wahren Gestalt einer schwingenden Saite. Annalen der Physik: 267(8): 1033-1035. (Objective presentation of the true form of a vibrating string).
  • Puluj, J. (1888). Apparatus for illustrating the fall of bodies in a vacuum. Taylor and Francis.
  • Puluj, J. (1888). Fallapparat. Annalen der Physik. 269(3): 575-576.
  • Puluj, J. (1890). On a telethermometer. Taylor and Francis.
  • Puluj, H. (1895). On Kathode Rays. Proceedings of the Physical Society of London. 14(1): 178.

Support of Ukrainian culture

Puluj 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.[7] Being a professor Puluj organized scholarships for Ukrainian students in Austria-Hungary.

The World Association of Roentgenologists was created in 2018 in Lviv city in honor of Ivan Puluj


  1. Ivan Pul'uj Archived 8 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. TNTU.edu.ua. Retrieved on 8 May 2014.
  2. Комментарии. Risu.org.ua. Retrieved on 8 May 2014. Archived 19 September 2012 at Archive.today
  3. Puluj-Röhre, 1870. uibk.ac.at
  4. Kulynyak, Danylo (9 July 2000). "Ivan Pului, the discoverer of X-rays". Ukrainian Weekly. Parsippany, NJ: Ukrainian National Association, Inc. 68 (23): 6.
  5. Gaida, Roman; et al. (1997). "Ukrainian Physicist Contributes to the Discovery of X-Rays". Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Archived from the original on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2008.
  6. Czech language biographical article in the journal of the Czech Technical University (2005, No 2, p. 39-40) mentions details and problems Puljui met during the construction of early power plants in the Czech lands.
  7. Ivan Pulyui (реферат). Ukrreferat.com. Retrieved on 8 May 2014.


  • R. Gajda, R. Plazko: Johann Puluj: Rätsel des universalen Talents. EuroWelt-Verlag, Lwiw 2001, ISBN 966-7343-04-9
  • S. Nahorniak, M. Medyukh: Physical-technical ideas of Ivan Pul'uj. Dschura, Ternopil 1999, ISBN 966-7497-34-8
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.