Emanoil Bacaloglu (1830-1891)

Emanoil Bacaloglu

1830 He was born in Bucharest where he graduated primary and secondary schools within private institute. Together with his brother, Gheorghe, he enthusiastically participated to Revolution in 1848 and after its defeat he survived because of private Maths classes.

1856 On April, he left to Germany and enrolled to University in Leipzig.

During three terms he studied the courses of scholars like Mobius for Maths, Hankel for Physics and Erdmann for Chemistry.

1857 On November, going to Paris, he passed the baccalaureate and after one year became licensed in physical sciences, after he had attended Maths courses taught by famous teachers like: Chasles, Cauchy and Bertrand and Physics classes taught by Becquerel, Biot and Pouillet.

1859 On May, Bacaloglu enrolled again to University in Leipzig but attending only specialized courses (like elasticity theory and terrestrial management, but also practical works of Chemistry, physical Geography and Crystallography). C. Istrati describes him as it follows: “I was introduced to Bacaloglu in the dummer of 1859. He came at that moment for the second time to Leipzig, where he had studied in Erdmann’s laboratory. If I am not mistaken, he lived two years to Paris and worked in Dumas’ laboratory in Sorbonne. Even if there was a high age difference between us – Bacaloglu was about 30 years old and I was 19 – we were close friends. He had friendly relations with all students of Erdmann’s laboratory, but I was the only who got him at home. He lived with his old mother who he did not leave during his studies abroad. The great love he had for his mother (she was a Turkish and his father was a Greek, N.A.), the tender care he had in order to satisfy her wishes were almost the best features of his temper... he did not take part in any kind of student party and used his spare time for scientific works, especially for Maths”.

1861 Returned to Bucharest, Bacaloglu was appointed, on autumn, Chemistry teacher of National School of Medicine and Pharmacy led by Dr. Carol Davila.

1862 Until University’s establishment he was appointed Maths teacher of St. Sava College. He immediately started the enthusiastic and skilful activity.

Bacaloglu’s cultural and sciences’ spreading activity was uninterrupted and fruitful. In full enthusiasm of youth, together with Dr. Baras, Falcoianu, Dr. Turnescu and Dr. Felix he established Romanian Society of Sciences (having as model Scientific Medical Society led by Dr. Davila), which had the festive opening session on the 24th of January. On the 8th of February, during the first communication session Bacaloglu spoke “About Atmosphere. Deliberations on Atmosphere’s Form”. But, despite the enthusiasm he had when he started the activity, the Society lasted only one year because its members could not satisfy the established conditions.

1863 On October, Bacaloglu was appointed Physics teacher of the newly established Superior School of Sciences within University.

1864 He was appointed teacher of Bridges and Roads School, from which Polytechnic School in Bucharest was developed.

Spiru Haret remembered in 1904 about the conditions Bacaloglu worked on: “On October 1869 we enrolled to the first year five students, but one left the courses later. All were for Physics-Maths. During that period there was only a student for the second grade and another one for the third... So, faculty’s situation regarding school population was not good. But the situation was bad from other points of view, too. The majority of Departments were joined by two or three for only one teacher... so, there were only 7 teachers. Alexe Marin was the only Chemistry teacher and Bacaloglu de only of Physics”. It is easy to imagine how many hardships the new Physics teacher had to face, if we consider that, according to E. Pangrati: “between 1864 and 1879 universities survived having restricted sources so that their activity must have been very reduced”.

One of Bacaloglu’s concerns as a teacher was academic courses and manuals’ development. During Bourgeois epoch the problem of manual’ printing was always a hard and a sensitive one. The lack of printing stuff, the lack of authorities’ abilities and book sale speculation made this problem open forever.

1865 Bacaloglu actively participated together with Al. Odobescu, Carol Davila and V.A. Urechila to a society’s foundation, called Romanian Athenaeum; this proved to be a viable activity. Bacaloglu was among the first lectures who “exposed by a series of works many facts and ideas borrowed to physical and chemical sciences and accompanied his exposures by different experiences”, according to “Romanian Athenaeum” magazine in 1866.

1868 Bacaloglu took part in Society of Natural Physical Sciences’ foundation which was dissolved after one year. Thus, he did not despair and in 1890 he drafted the statutes of Physical Sciences Society together with C.I. Istrati and A. Marin; this society was a sustainable one.

1870 He printed “Physics Elements”. This book was the first Physics academic manual printed into Romanian. His success was so great that it had two editions, a very rare fact at that moment for a scientific manual.

1879 Because of his merit as a teacher and as a scholar, Bacaloglu was elected member of Romanian Academy, a high cultural institution. He developed here an untiring activity, publishing within “Scientific Annals” communications, statements, reports and essays and he also held public conferences.

In order to be updated regarding Physics progress (thing that could not be done as long as he lived isolated in Bucharest) he spent all holidays abroad, where he visited laboratories and exhibitions. So, he visited electricity exhibitions to Paris (1881), London (1882), Munich (1882) and Vienna (1883).

1883 Bacaloglu installed in his Physics laboratory a Dynamo electric device whose intromission was explained as it follows: “Regarding these science and practice progresses I proposed myself to achieve for the laboratory and Physics course of our University in Bucharest to the level of the current state and even to overcome and do the entire galvanism class helped only by Dynamo electric devices and without galvanic batteries... Electric devices are three, all Siemens system... except these devices I also purchased for Physics lab many Serrin and Siemens electric lamps and a significant number of Swan incandescent lamps”.

Bacaloglu also developed an intensive scientific activity. It started when he was a student to Leipzig and extended on Math, Physics and Chemistry: about 20 Maths works, the same number for Physics and six of Chemistry, published within specialized German and French magazines and also within Romanian Academy’s Annals. “Bacaloglu’s Bend” is the most important mathematical work. Physics works are concerned to Mechanics, Photics and Electricity and are more theoretical as it is easy to understand because of unfavourable conditions for experimental researches.

1891 On summer he left to visit Electricity exhibition in Frankfurt -on-Main but he died when he was coming back by train, on the 13th of September.

1892 During commemorative meeting on the 3rd of March, General Secretary of Romanian Academy, D. Sturza, had kind words of appreciation for Bacaloglu.[1]




    1. Emanoil Bacaloglu (1830-1891), ro.biography.name;


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