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AUREL STODOLA - A GENIUS FROM THE REGION OF LIPTOV

 In 2019, we are commemorating the 160th birth anniversary of Aurel Stodola, who was born in Liptovský Mikuláš and respected worldwide.
 
AUREL STODOLA (1859 Liptovský Mikuláš - 1942 Zürich)

A professor, mechanical engineer and scientist, the most respected and recognised Slovak scientist all around the world. The theory of steam and gas turbines was his main field of work. He was acknowledged even by Albert Einstein, not only as a world-class expert in his field but also as a great and virtuous man with sense of humanism and strong social conscience. Together with Dr. Sauerbruch, an eminent surgeon, he created a moving hand prosthesis to relieve the suffering of war invalids. He was awarded with the James Watt International Gold Medal, which is compared to the Nobel Prize in the field of technology.
 

PLACES RELATED TO THE LIFE OF AUREL STODOLA

METAMORPHOSIS FOUNTAIN in the historical centre
The name of Aurel Stodola takes pride of place at the creation called “A Tribute to Creative Thinking”, which dominates the Metamorphosis Fountain. Upper blocks with rotary reflective prisms symbolise continuous change and movement, endless flow of time, thoughts, ideas and innovations, as well as imaginary blades of a modern turbine. It was mainly creative thinking and studying the processes in turbines that Aurel Stodola devoted his life to.                          
                   

                                     

PROTESTANT CHURCH in Tranovského Street

The parents of Aurel Stodola successfully raised four sons and taught them the significance of love, moral virtues and high-quality education, national consciousness and Protestant religion. Aurel Stodola was baptised in this Protestant church by another significant personality of the Slovak history – Michal Miloslav Hodža. He married Darina Pálková and had both his daughters – Helena and Oľga baptised there as well. Music was his lifelong passion and he sometimes played the organ in the church. 

                                                             
                                    
HOUSE OF THE STODOLA FAMILY with a plaque of Aurel Stodola

Aurel Stodola was born in the original house in 1859. The house was enlarged, with one floor added in 1878. After a fire in 1883, it was renewed and redesigned as we know it today. The family tannery was destroyed by the fire too but was built again. Aurel Stodola, a freshly graduated engineer at that time, helped arrange the mechanical equipment. Although the restored factory was one of the biggest businesses in the town, it does not exist anymore and the house of the Stodola family is owned by somebody else. In 1959, on the occasion of the 100th birth anniversary of Aurel Stodola, a plaque was unveiled on his birth house to pay tribute to him. The house with the plaque is located in 1. Mája Street 138/45. 
                                   
                                    
STUDY OF PROFESSOR AUREL STODOLA in the Museum of Janko Kráľ (the permanent exposition is opened from 11.5.2019)

Groundbreaking discoveries of the scientific genius as well as precious moments of his private life are depicted on photos of the Stodola family album. A copy of Aurel Stodola´s most significant scientific study – “Steam Turbines and Prospects of Heat Engines” can be found there too. The first edition of the book was published in 1903, the 6th, i.e. the last one in 1925, every time with new knowledge supplemented. The last edition contained over 1100 pages and 1100 drawings and was translated to English, Russian, French and even Chinese. It has been used as a textbook by several generations of mechanical engineers.

ZÜRICH

At the age of 32, Aurel Stodola was offered a professorship at the Polytechnic Institute in Zürich, where he had graduated 11 years before. He was a very popular and respected professor, helped raise hundreds of engineers from all around the world. He was a talented teacher and his lectures always introduced the latest scientific findings. At the university, he had a research laboratory built which was the most modern facility in Europe at that time. He also established a fund for socially disadvantaged students. Aurel Stodola was giving lectures at the Polytechnic Institute until his retirement although he had been receiving attractive job offers from various universities and companies.

                                   
 VRBICA CEMETERY
Aurel Stodola died in Zürich on 25th December 1942 at the age of 83. He left all his property to the school he had been working at. The remains of the Stodola couple were transferred to the Vrbica Cemetery in Liptovský Mikuláš in 1989.


 



Upper photo: The name of Aurel Stodola carved into the granite of the Metamorphosis Fountain

Made by: INFORMATION CENTRE of the town of Liptovský Mikuláš, photos: archive of the IC LM, Museum of Janko Kráľ and the Slovak Technical Museum.