Ștefan Micle (1820-1879)

Ștefan Micle

1820 Stefan Micle was born at Fleac, near Cluj, Romania. When he was 8 years old he decided to go for studying to Cluj. So, he enrolled to primary school besides Piarist Monks High School in Cluj.

Graduating as “eminent” the primary school, Micle enrolled to high school but his financial situation did not improve. In order to get rid of daily trip from Feleac to Cluj, he was firstly employed by a clerk from Cluj, then as apprentice to Raica’s workshop where, according to Istrati, “for 4 years he dealt with Locksmiths, rifles and sword making and clockmaking and also with meta foundry. In the same time, he worked wooden objects so he became good at Stoler and Turning”.

On these conditions he successfully graduated the 6th grade of high school.

During the few next years, the data about Micle are uncertain. Istrati wrote that the 3rd grade was attended by him to Bistrita, then, according to Suciu, in 1839 “finding out about the famous Romanian, about Simion Barnutiu, who was a Philosophy teacher to the school in Blaj... he went to Blaj, too”.

Here he ate the famous “tipai”, the bread spread by Metropolitan every five days to poor and deserving students of high school.

1843 He graduated Legal Faculty from Cluj as an “eminent”.

1848 He joined Iancu’s army and fought as a “tribune” within his detachment between Cluj and Somesfalau against Honveds who were rejected. Then he went to Sibiu after it had been occupied by Revolutionary General Bem’s troops, and he was forced to cross the mountains stopping to Craiova. Here he was arrested by Russians but, being recognized by a Russian officer who he had fixed the sword in Cluj, he was freed and allowed to stay to Craiova and earned money by working in a carpentry workshop and on summer of 1849 he returned to Feleac.

1850 He got a scholarship and left to Vienna where he enrolled to Polytechnic. Here, thanks to his experimental ability he caught the attention of Physics teacher who sheltered him into Physics Institute building.

1855 Obtaining the engineering degree he refused a job for Austria Railroads and went back to Feleac and next year got an invitation to be a teacher of Michaelian Academy from Iasi.

1856 To support the demands of a higher education, A.T. Laurian invited Stefan Micle in Transylvania as teachers at Iasi for Chemistry and Physics, in 1858 Ioan Popp for Mathematics and Stefan Emilian for drawing and descriptive Geometry. Micles’ appeal to Iasi was not accidental. This activity was a step of reorganization plan of national schools in Moldavia; a plan that was adopted during Grigore Ghica’s reign, in 1849.

1859 Micle was appointed teacher on March and started his lessons on May. He lectured starting with the 5th grade and upper.

C. I. Istrati, who was his student at Michaelian Academy, remembers Micle’s office as “an altar for which we kindly sacrificed our funny time in order to visit it.”

Micle knew to provide science to a larger audience. He opened a free Physics course whereof V.A. Urechila wrote within his famous book, “Schools’ History”: “During 1858-1859 the first free courses were taught at Iasi. The first was inaugurated on Thomas Sunday in 1858 by Professor Stefan Micle. Council staff... on the 17th of March, 1858, approved that this free course of popular Physics take place in the great hall of Academy from 12 to 1p.m. Experiments done by Professor Micle attracted a large audience.”

Micle was keen on Astronomy. Istrati remembers that “all free days (celebrations) were spent by him to Michaelian Academy in order to make astronomic notices. Before 1860 students of high school had already organized a public party in the old room of theatre in Capsa to achieve more astronomic and physical devices”. In 1859 Instruction Department asked him to communicate his astronomic and weather observations”.

1860 University from Iasi was founded and at the beginning it consisted of three faculties that were called: Legal Department, Philosophy Faculty and Theological Faculty. He was appointed Chemistry and Physics teacher.

1878 Starting with this year he remained tenured teacher of Physics Department until his death. During his last years of life he was Director of Crafts School from Iasi. During this epoch he had also an intensive organizational activity being for a while the Dean of Sciences Faculty and for eight years was the Rector of University. So, it can be rightly said that he was one of academic education’s founders in Iasi.

Micle was a model teacher. P. Suciu has the following assessment regarding his educational skills: “As a teacher, both at high school and University, he knew to accurately follow for his plans all pedagogical rules. So, he lowered to his listeners so that all understood what he proposed. His proposals were clear, understandable for each pupil or student. He can be called the model of teachers who want to sacredly fulfil their duty, both related to proposal and class attendance. He wanted to make all people, with whom he was connected, to know everything he knew.”

It is unfortunate that neither his lectures taught at Michaelian Academy, nor courses from Sciences Faculty and public conferences were not published. Left in manuscripts they lost in time. Istrati says that he had seen the following Micle’s manuscripts: “Mineralogy”, “Agricultural Mechanics”, “Astronomy”, “Botany”, “Zoology”, “Analytical Chemistry”, “Organic Chemistry”, “Inorganic Chemistry” and “Experimental Chemistry”.

Among his students of Academy and University many became important people. We mention P. Poni, G. Rosu, C. Calimescu, V. Paladi, M. Tzoni, P. Ene, C. Brandza, C. Manescu, I. V. Praja, Erm. Pangrati and An. Obregia.

Except his weather and astronomic observations, he did not perform other scientific activity. On circumstances he lived, without suitable conditions and environment, he could not even think to such an activity. Other conditions were mandatory; barely after few decades, he had slowly have joined scientific research.

People who met him admired him not only as a teacher but also as a human being. Poni says that “Micle was the incarnate kindness”, and B. P. Hasdeu wrote about him that “he was the best man and unable to hurt”.

1879 Unfortunately world’s natural ordinance makes Stefan Micle pass away but remaining forever within the books’ written pages! His death pained both his students and his friends and family.[1]

 

 

Bibliography:

1. Ștefan Micle (1820-1879), ro.biography.name;

 

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