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The Tesla Memorial Society
21 Maddaket, Southwyck Village
Scotch Plains, New Jersey 07076
William H. Terbo
Executive Secretary
  Maria Godfors
Nikola Tesla: 1856 - 1943

Points of Special Connection Between Michael Pupin and William Terbo
Through My Father, Nikola Trbojevich (Terbo)

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On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Michael Pupin it is appropriate to recall some details of a nearly lifelong appreciation of a person who was held in special esteem by ones father, a person not related by blood but by an ethnicity combined with professional accomplishment.

· In the Terbo (Trbojevich) household during my youth the name of Michael Pupin was as often mentioned as that of father’s uncle, Nikola Tesla.

· When my father arrived in New York in 1914 it was Michael Pupin who first met him. Pupin had a very specific policy of meeting and assisting talented Serbs when they arrived in America through New York City. This began a relationship that lasted until Pupin’s death in 1935. In spite of my grandmother, Angelina Trbojevic (Tesla’s older sister), who very strongly instructing Tesla to “take care of my boy” Tesla was temporarily occupied at the moment of father’s arrival.

· While my father always indicated that he already had a position as Design Engineer at the AT&T Western Electric Division in Chicago before his arrival in New York, I believe Pupin, who had a most influential connection with AT&T, offered additional sponsorship help.

· Father’s rise to scientific prominence (over 150 patents including the seminal invention of the Hypoid Gear) gave great pleasure to both Tesla and Pupin and gave father a continuing social and professional access to both men.

· In 1979, to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of Pupin’s birth, I made my first trip to Yugoslavia to attend the Anniversary Celebration in Idvor, Pupin’s birthplace, and other Yugoslav locations. My invitation was as an Honored Guest of the Country (together with the Pupin Professor of Physics at Columbia University, Madame C. S. Wu, and Isidor I. Rabi, 1944 Nobelist in Physics and a famous product of the Columbia Physics program).

· On October 5, 1979, I delivered my paper Pupin and Tesla – Parallels In Slavic Creativity to the related International Symposium Life And Work Of Michael Idvorsky Pupin at Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. (My hospitality included tours of the entire former Yugoslavia including visits to Tesla’s birthplace, Smiljan, Lika.)

· In 1993, to honor my father and his relationship with Michael Pupin, and with the sponsorship of the Tesla Memorial Society, Inc. (where I held the positions of Chairman of the Executive Board and Honorary Chairman), we made the 50-minute documentary video From Immigrant To Inventor, Michael Pupin Remembered. I wrote the script and provided the narration, Ljubo Vujovic was Producer and Iwona Vujovic was Technical Director. The Documentary had its premiere at Columbia University that winter.

William H. Terbo
Executive Secretary

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TMSu2 2005

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