Mihajlo Petrović Alas


Mihajlo Petrović Alas, born in Belgrade, was the real Renaissance personality whose talent reflected at many fields.

Without a doubt, his greatest contribution was given in the field of mathematics – he graduated at the Sorbonne University and he is the author of 250 scientific works. As the professor of Belgrade University, he was the mentor of numerous dissertations. In 1897, he became the member of the Serbian Royal Academy.

He was the passionate world traveller who published his impressions and experiences in the stories about his travels: “Through the Polar Circle” and “In the Kingdom of Pirates”. As the man of letters he also tried his luck in other genres by writing “The Novel of the Eel” and “Metaphors and Allegories”.

He was also engaged in music – he is the founder of the musical society “Suz”, where he played the violin, but he also loved fishing – in 1895 he became “the master of fishing”, known by the name of “Mika Alas”.

As an officer, he took part in both Balkan Wars and the First World War, and the army used the codes he developed.

He was also a fruitful inventor, he had 9 French and 1 British patent. He used them to protect device for determination of distance, multistage transmission device (3 patents), eternal calendar, engine with piston of alternating effect, device for the securing of capacity of sailing for ships after damage, device for quick determination of the elements to fire at airplanes and device for fast launch of projectiles.

Apart from that, Petrovic created a certain number of inventions that he had not patented. Probably the most important of them is the hydro-integrator, which had been exhibited in the pavilion of Serbia at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, where he was awarded the bronze medal of the World Exhibition.