Augustin Maior

Augustin Sabiniu Maior (August 22, 1882, Reghin - October 3, 1964, Cluj), great Romanian physicist and engineer, the inventor of the multiple telephony.


Maior was born in Reghin as son of a schoolteacher and attended high school in his hometown, then at Târgu-Mureş and Budapest, developing in this years an original electrical work. He graduated as an engineer in Budapest Polytechnical School (1905), while hearing courses of mathematics and physics at Vienna, Göttingen and München (as a private student), taking knowledge of the great scientific conquests of the early-century, from quantum mechanics and Planck's theory to the Einstein's relativity theory. In 1905, Augustin Maior was employed as an engineer in the Electricity Laboratory of the General Directorate of Posts in Budapest. After World War I, was briefly (1919-1920) General Director of Posts, Telegraph and Telephone in Transylvania and the first leader of Schools of Telegraph and Telephone in this Romanian province. He becomes at the same time, for many decades, a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Cluj (1920-1956), appointed to chair this specialty in Romania.

In the early years of our century, the phone was in a considerable expansion, but the existing network could not cope with increasing needs of telecommunications. The researches were directed to increasing transmission capacity by multiple telephony, but the results were unsatisfactory. After many trials, unsuccessful or only partially successful, Augustin Maior made an operational station using alternative currents carry high frequency in 1906, to send at first two, then five calls on the same telephone circuit, 15 kilometers long. In 1907 he published its results and the scheme of the multiple telephony in the best-known speciality journal of his time (Elektrotechnische Zeitschrift - ETZ) and the following year presented a communication at the first Conference of PTT Engineers. However, in March 1911, the English magazine "The Electrician" assigns the invention of multiple telephony to the U.S. Major George Owen Squier, who had in 1910 (four years after Maior), another system of multiple telephony, more rudimentary, with only two of simultaneous phone calls and on a much shorter cable; but Squier achieve, shortly thereafter, to bring his new technology to the market.

To mention in addition, the scientific contributions of Augustin Maior in electricity and electrotehnics, theory of relativity, thermodynamics, radiation. He proposed early transmission of electricity over large distances by currents of high frequency and introduced in the quantum theory a new function called quasientropic.

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