ὅδε οἶκος, ὦ ἑταῖρε, μνημεῖον ἐστιν ζῴων τῶν σοφῶν ἀνδρῶν, καὶ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῶν
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LJUBOMIR KLERIĆ

(1844 - 1910)

Mining engineer, professor, academician, minister Ljubomir Klerić (Julius Klery) is a figure who for many long years has honorably held high the torch of Serbian science and education, a figure who is remembered fondly by his older students but who is feared by the young generations. This is because the latter seem to have become slipshod in their work – this is the time of the proclamation of freedom and constitutional government in Serbia – and at examination time almost all of them did poorly in mechanics. This is because Ljubomir Klerić despised nothing so much as sloth and sloppiness. He loved his new homeland more fervently than many of its born sons.

He Was a worthy recipient of Daničić's, Pančić's and Nešić's views and a real enthusiast in intellectual and scientific work. He gave guidance to his younger colleagues and students and steeled them in their struggle for the truth. His enthusiasm for scientific research was one of the powerful expressions of his talents, which did not leave him even when, as a result of the unsettled social and political conditions, he had entered political and administrative service and as a minister of education, and of the national economy, or as a member of the State Council, was the victim of a society torn asunder by political passions.

A mining engineer and geologist by profession and mathematician by his pronounced talent, Klerić in his works inclined more to the applied than to theoretical science. This alone can explain the disproportion existing between his talent and the significance of his scientific work. In addition to all that, bearing in mind the time in which he lived and worked and the environment in which he created, Klerić was manifestly a towering figure in Serbian society and a major influence among Serbian scholars, whose work was to breathe new life into the Serbian people and lead it out of its patriarchal condition to the family of civilized nations.

This is what Academician Dr. Bogdan Gavrilović, his contemporary, wrote about Ljubomir Klerić.

From biographical documents about Ljubomir Klerić, taken from theAnnual of the Serbian Royal Academy of 1887, we find the following: Julius Klery (later Ljubomir Klerić) was born in Subotica, Austria-Hungary, on June 29, 1844. In a curriculum vitae written in 1888, Klerić gives the following information. After completing elementary education in Subotica, he moved to Belgrade in 1855 and attended secondary school for eight years. After graduation from high school in 1862, he studied engineering at the Belgrade College for two years. In 1865, having received a state scholarship, he was sent to study mining engineering at the mining academies in Freiberg and Berlin and mechanical engineering at the Zurich polytechnical school.

Following the completion of his studies, in the summer of 1870, he did practical work in the German mines at Westphalia, Saxony, and Upper Silesia, as well as in the Pribram mine in Bohemia, whereupon he returned home and joined the civil service in the mining section of the Ministry of Finances.

Concurrently he constructed and patented a new drill for deep soundings. Using royalties from his invention, which was used in the salt mines at Stanfurt in 1871, and in the coal mines of Hirst and Dinstaneken in Westphalia, he was able to maintain himself abroad. Working in Westphalia for a Dutch company, he excelled so much that the company appointed him as its „research engineer" to study the mineral wealth in Serbia and in Oran.

He returned to Belgrade in June 1875, worked for a while on geological exploration, and the same year became a professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Belgrade College.

Klerić also wrote a textbook in three volumes and equipped a laboratory for the teaching of mechanics at the College. Having kept abreast of scientific developments in the world and maintained contact with the scientists at the universities where he studied, and having published works in German scientific journals, he became in 1871 member of the Serbian Learned Society. In 1876 he took part in the Serbo-Turkish War, earning a medal for valour.

He became a full member of the Serbian Royal Academy in 1887, together with Dr Josif Pančić, Dimitrije Nešić and Jovan Žujović. His introductory treatise was on the theory of compensation.

At the meetings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Academician Klerić exhibited his scientific work and inventions, which included: - construction of a new typewriter, which he named the polypantograph; - a new compass which he named tractoriograph, or logarithmograph; - a lecture on his tractoriograph and its application; - construction of measuring instruments, curvometre and logarithmometre; - a treatise on Kinematic determination of elliptical integrals.

He served as minister of education and ecclesiastical affairs for a few months between the autumn of 1894 and June 1895. During this time he issued a number of regulations which brought order and discipline to education, obliging ecclesiastical courts to maintain proper documentation, introduced standards for the writing of textbooks, sent students to foreign universities, etc. As minister of the national economy between December 1896 and October 1897, he introduced legal norms designed to stimulate industrialization, agriculture, quality control and general level of technical knowledge among the people of Serbia. He also took care of technical education and protection of health of people, animals, and plants in the territory of Serbia.

Ljubomir Klerić was awarded the Order of Leopold by the Belgian monarch.

He died as a state counsellor on January 21, 1910 in Belgrade.


Author: Stevanović-Hedrih, Katica