Bruno Abakanowicz

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Bruno Abakanowicz
Born(1852-10-06)6 October 1852
Died29 August 1900(1900-08-29) (aged 47)
Occupation(s)mathematician, inventor and electrical engineer

Bruno Abdank-Abakanowicz (6 October 1852 – 29 August 1900) was a Polish mathematician, inventor, and electrical engineer.


Abakanowicz was born in 1852 in the Russian Empire (now Lithuania).[1] After graduating from the Riga Technical University, Abakanowicz passed his habilitation[2] and began an assistantship at the Technical University of Lwów. In 1881, he moved to France[2] where he purchased a villa in Parc St. Maur on the outskirts of Paris.

Earlier he invented the integraph, a form of the integrator, which was patented in 1880,[3] and was henceforth produced by the Swiss firm Coradi.[4] Among his other patents were the parabolagraph, the spirograph, the electric bell used in trains, and an electric arc lamp of his own design.[5] Abakanowicz published several works, including works on statistics, integrators and numerous popular scientific works, such as one describing his integraph. He was also hired by the French government as an expert on electrification and was the main engineer behind the electrification of, among other places, the city of Lyon.[2] His patents allowed him to become a wealthy man and made him receive the Legion d'Honneur in 1889.

The Château de Costaérès

Around that time he retired to a small island in Trégastel, off the coast of Brittany, where between 1892 and 1896 he erected a neo-Gothic manor.[6] Although the construction works were not finished in Abakanowicz's lifetime, the castle of Costaérès became a notable centre of Polish emigree culture, housing many notable artists, scientists and politicians. Among frequent guests of Abakanowicz were Aleksander Gierymski, Władysław Mickiewicz, Leon Wyczółkowski and Henryk Sienkiewicz. The latter became the closest friend of Abakanowicz. It was in Abakanowicz's villa in Parc St. Maur that he finished his The Teutonic Knights and The Polaniecki Family, while the Quo Vadis novel, one of the works for which Sienkiewicz was awarded with the Nobel Prize, was written entirely in Abakanowicz's manor.[2]

Bruno Abakanowicz died suddenly on 29 August 1900. In his will, he made Sienkiewicz the tutor of his sole daughter Zofia, who later graduated from the London School of Economics and the Sorbonne and was murdered during World War II at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

As for Abakanowicz's nationality, he was born in the lands which were once part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Some later documents refer to him as a Russian because at the time of his birth, Ukmergė was part of the Russian Empire. Encyclopædia Britannica calls him a Lithuanian mathematician in its article on the integraph. Others consider him a Pole due to his fluent command of the language, friendship with many leading Polish personalities of the time, and literary contributions in Polish.[2] His surname Abakanowicz which has Lipka Tatar roots goes back to the szlachta of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth under the Abdank coat of arms.[7][8][9][10]


  • Les intégraphes. La courbe intégrale et ses applications, Paris, Gauthier-Villars, 1886. Translated into German as Die Integraphen. Die Integralkurve und ihre Anwendungen, Leipzig, Teubner, 1889.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Piotr Bielerzewski (2005). "Wiłkomierz". Rzeczpospolita Wirtualna (in Polish). own. Archived from the original on 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ewa Klaputh (2006). "Le Château de Costaérès, czyli tajemnice inżyniera Abakanowicza". Po Prostu (in Polish) (22). Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-01-20.
  3. ^ Bruno Abdank-Abakanowicz (1886). Les intégraphes (in French). Paris: Gauthier-Villars.
  4. ^ "Bell Book Collection".
  5. ^ sir William Henry Preece (November 1882). "On a New Electric Arc Lamp". Scientific American. Supplement No. 360 (1882–10–25). Archived from the original on 2006-09-11. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
  6. ^ "maison de villégiature dite Château de Costaérès". Monuments de France (in French). 2005. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-09-20.
  7. ^ A. Boniecki, Herbarz polski, t. 1, Warszawa 1899, s. 17.
  8. ^ S. Uruski, Rodzina. Herbarz szlachty polskiej, t. 1, Warszawa 1904, s. 1.
  9. ^ Выдающиеся математики - биографические сведения - а Archived October 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Fera na Latvia: Julho 2007[permanent dead link]


External links[edit]

Mathematical contributions