Milutin Milanković bigraphy, stories - Serbian climatologist

Milutin Milanković : biography

28 May 1879 - 12 December 1958

Milutin Milanković ( pronounced ; 28 May 1879 – 12 December 1958) was a Serbian mathematician, astronomer, geophysicist, climatologist, civil engineer, doctor of technology, university professor, and writer. Milanković gave two fundamental contributions to global science. The first contribution is the "Canon of the Earth’s Insolation", which characterizes the climates of all the planets of the Solar system. The second contribution is the explanation of Earth's long-term climate changes caused by changes in the position of the Earth in comparison to the Sun, now known as Milankovitch cycles. This explained the ice ages occurring in the geological past of the Earth, as well as the climate changes on the Earth which can be expected in the future. He founded cosmic climatology by calculating temperatures of the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere as well as the temperature conditions on planets of the inner Solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Moon, as well as the depth of the atmosphere of the outer planets. He demonstrated the interrelatedness of celestial mechanics and the Earth sciences, and enabled consistent transition from celestial mechanics to the Earth sciences and transformation of descriptive sciences into exact ones.


Early life

Milutin Milanković was born in the village of Dalj, a settlement on the banks of the Danube in what was then part of Croatia within Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (and is now part of Croatia). Milutin and his twin sister were the oldest of seven children. Their father was a merchant, landlord, and local politician who died when Milutin was eight; his mother, grandmother, and an uncle then raised the children. His three brothers died of tuberculosis as children. Being of sensitive health, he received his elementary education at home (in "the classroom without walls"), learning from his father Milan, private teachers, and from numerous relatives and friends of the family, some of whom were renowned philosophers, inventors, and poets. He attended secondary school in nearby Osijek, completing it in 1896.

In October 1896, at the age of seventeen, he moved to Vienna to study Civil Engineering at the Vienna University of Technology and graduated in 1902 with the best marks. In his memoirs, Milanković wrote about his lectures on engineering: "Professor Czuber was teaching us mathematics. His every sentence was the masterpiece of strict logic, without any extra word, without any error." After graduating and spending his obligatory year in military service, Milanković borrowed money from an uncle to pay for additional schooling at the Technical High School in engineering. He researched concrete and wrote a theoretical evaluation of it as a building material. At age twenty-five, his Ph.D. thesis was entitled Theory of Pressure Curves (Beitrag zur Theorie der Druck-kurven) and its implementation allowed for assessment of pressure curves' shape and properties when continuous pressure is applied, which is very useful in bridge, cupola and abutment building. His thesis was successfully defended on 12 December 1904; examination committee members were Johan Brick, Josef Finger, Emanuel Czuber and L. Tetmayer. He then worked for an engineering firm in Vienna, using his knowledge to design structures.

Middle years

Construction engineering

At the beginning of 1905, Milanković took up practical work and joined the firm of Adolf Baron Pittel Betonbau-Unternehmung in Vienna. He built dams, bridges, viaducts, aqueducts, and other structures in reinforced concrete throughout Austria-Hungary. The result was particularly evident in the extraordinary design of a reinforced-concrete aqueduct for a hydroelectric power plant in Sebeș, Transylvania, which Milanković designed at the beginning of his career.

He patented a new type of reinforced concrete ribbed ceiling and published the first paper on armored concrete named "Contribution to the theory of reinforced armored pillars". He published the second paper on the same subject based on new results in 1906. In 1908. he published a paper titled "On membranes of same opposition" in which he proves that the ideal shape for water reservoir of equally thick walls is that of a drop of water. His six patents were officially recognized and his reputation in the profession was enormous, bringing abundant financial income.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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