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subota, 28. svibnja 2011.

300 years of birth of Ruđer Bošković (1711-2011)

Ruđer Bošković on croatian dinar banknote

Ruđer Josip Bošković (18 May 1711 – 13 February 1787) was a croatian theologian, physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, Jesuit, and a polymath from the city of Dubrovnik in the Republic of Ragusa (today in Croatia), who studied and lived in Italy and France.

He is famous for his atomic theory and made many important contributions to astronomy, including the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position. In 1753 he also discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon.

His atomic theory, given as a clear, precisely-formulated system utilizing principles of Newtonian mechanics inspired Michael Faraday to develop field theory for electromagnetic interaction. Other nineteenth century physicists, such as William Rowan Hamilton, Lord Kelvin, and the elasticity theorist Saint Venant stressed the theoretical advantages of the Boškovićian atom over rigid atoms. Some even claim that Boškovićian atomism was a basis for Albert Einstein's attempts for a unified field theory and that he was the first to envisage, seek, and propose a mathematical theory of all the forces of Nature; the first scientific theory of everything.

The scientist Nikola Tesla, a critic of Einstein, claimed in an unpublished interview that Einstein's theory of Relativity was the creation of Bošković:

“...the relativity theory, by the way, is much older than its present proponents. It was advanced over 200 years ago by my illustrious countryman Ruđer Bošković, the great philosopher, who, not withstanding other and multifold obligations, wrote a thousand volumes of excellent literature on a vast variety of subjects. Bošković dealt with relativity, including the so-called time-space continuum ...”

For his contributions to astronomy, the lunar crater Boscovich was named after him.

The largest multidisciplinary research center in Croatia was named the "Ruđer Bošković Institute" in his honour.

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