Dimitrije Nešić is rightly regarded as one of the outstanding persons in Serbian educational practice, culture and science. Along with Josif Pančić and Đura Daničić he belongs to the most prominent Serbs who have marked the spiritual rise and progress of Serbia in the second half of XIX century. For a number of years he was Rector of the Belgrade College, full member of the Serbian Learned Society, full member of the Serbian Royal Academy (its president from 1892 to 1895), corresponding member and president of State Council.
He was born on October 8 (20) 1836, in Belgrade, where he completed his elementary and six-grade secondary school. In 1853 he enrolled Department for natural sciences and technical sciences at Lycaeum, and in 1855 he got state scholarship and continued his studies at the Technical College in Vienna (1855-1858). Then, he proceed to the Polytechnical School at Karlsruhe. Following the completion of his studies in 1862, Dimitrije Nešić returned to Belgrade where he was elected a professor of mathematics at the Lycaeum, which became the Belgrade College the next year. He was a professor at the Belgrade College until his retirement 1894.
As he was educated in Belgrade and other progressive scientific and technical centers of Europe of that time, with fresh and broad intellectual and far-reaching concepts and views of the situation in natural sciences, Dimitrije Nešić knew and was able to evaluate and accept the new ideas. His great talent and enormous energy was aimed towards development of education in general, as well as to development of technical culture. He laid the foundations of contemporary university teaching of mathematics in Serbia. He was the author of the first textbooks in higher mathematics in Serbian language (three textbooks) and according to M. Milanković he considered it his primary task.
Being a pedagogue did not stop of involving himself in scientific work. He published eleven works in the Gazette of the Serbian Learned Society and the Voice of the Serbian Royal Academy, mainly referring to mathematical analysis. He was our first mathematician that considered complexity of boundary processes', getting rid of formality of its application.
At the 70-es of the last century, he was appointed a member of state commission, the task of which was to study possibility of introducing metric measures in the Principality of Serbia. He was the author of the draft of Law on Metric Measures, which came into force in 1873, 17 months before the Convention du Metre was signed in Paris. His book Metric Measures was published in 1874. Dimitrije Nešić was decorated with the Order of St. Sava of first and second class and the Order of White Eagles of fourth class. He was a person of good character, noble and open-hearted, good-manners, mild temper and highly honourable person. He died on April 26, 1904, in Belgrade.
Authors: Petković, Jelenka; Jovanović, Boško