Croatia’s contribution to science from the 15th to 19th centuries

Ivan Lupis VukicCroatian science made leaps between the 15th and 19th centuries. It was the period of awakening when it came to new discoveries that later made a lot of changes with the way things were seen at that time. Particularly, this era proved to be one of the golden times in Croatian history because of the influence of some prominent personalities during that period.

Some of the noted Croatian Personalities that became famous during that era were listed below:

Mark Antun de Dominis (1560-1624) – is considered as one of the greatest philosophers and scientist during his time. He especially earned the good graces of King James I and was given the nobility and rank that was fifth in the hierarchy to the throne. Among his notable contributions to science were his discourse on the double rainbow phenomenon, theory of tides which was later further improved by Newton in his book theory of gravitation, and also his discovery of the phenomenon involving the diffraction of white light.

Although able to produce excellent studies and posit scholarly theories about science, his main focus was the need for reform to foster peace in the European church. He wrote the very popular book “The Rocks of Christian Shipwrecke” to send his message and it was translated in different languages notably Italian, English, and French.

Benko Kotruljic aka Benedict Kotruljevic (1416-1469) – was responsible for the writing of the first ever book about book keeping. The Della Mercatura w del mercante perfetto was written as early as the year 1458 and it is also known as the oldest book of double entry. He also authored the first ever book on navigation and it became the basis of many seafarer’s guide in sea navigation.

Frederik Grisigono (1472-1538) – is a noted mathematician, astronomer, physicist and a doctor. He loved the academe and taught science subjects in a university. He was the one who introduced the theory of tides in which he explained the relation between tides and the moon as well as his concept about antipodal tidal wave.

Faust Vrancic aka Faustus Verantius (1551-1617) – is the author of Machinae Novae published in the year 1595 where his inventions and other ideas were introduced: The most notable of which is the parachute which was rectangular in shape and very much similar or the same to the present design. He was the one who introduced the concept of suspended metal bridges using iron chains but the idea was not used until two hundred years later. He was also responsible for the publication of another popular book titled: Dictionary of five most noble European Languages.

Marin Getaldic aka Marinus Gethaldus (1568-1622) – was hailed as the most outstanding scientist during his time. His vast knowledge was a result of exposure to international studies in England, Italy, and Belgium. One of his notable inventions is the parabolic mirror and it is up to now being kept in London National Maritime Museum. The other notable works produced by Martin Getaldic covers physics, mathematics and Geometry. Some of the books authored by him are Promotus Archimedus and the five volume De resolutione et compositione mathematica both written in the year 1603 and 1630 respectively.

Rudjer Boskovic (1711-1787) – recognized as the most popular philosopher and greatest scientist of Croatia, he was responsible for the theory of forces which became the basis in the study of physics for close to two hundred years. His most invaluable contribution to science is embodied in his book titled Theoria Philosophiae Naturalis.

Franjo Domin (1754-1819) – A native of Zagreb, Croatia, he was an outstanding student of physics and philosophy and became a dean of the Philosophy Department and later rector in a Budapest university. He is remembered as the first who introduced electrotherapy as a cure for various diseases.

Ivan Lupis Vukic – was the first to build the torpedo in the year 1866. It became one of the potent weapons in naval history and up to today is being used by warships and submarines in naval battles. The design and basic appearance of the torpedo remains to this day as it was before.

Many of the inventions of Croatian scientists are still used today. They introduced the basics and from there, those who followed them made improvements to become more attuned to the signs of times.