Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fountain pen: Romanian invention

Petrache Poenaru (1799-1875) was a famous Romanian inventor of the Enlightenment era.

Poenaru, who had studied in Paris and Vienna and, later, completed his specialized studies in England, was a mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, teacher and organizer of the educational system, as well as a politician, agronomist, and zootechnologist, founder of the Philharmonic Society, the Botanical Gardens and the National Museum of Antiquities in Bucharest.

While a student in Paris, Petrache Poenaru invented the world's first fountain pen, an invention for which the French Government issued a patent on May 25, 1827.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Insulin: Romanian discovery

Nicolae Paulescu (1869-1931) was a Romanian physiologist, professor of medicine and the discoverer of insulin. In 1916, he succeeded in developing an aqueous pancreatic extract which, when injected into a diabetic dog, proved to have a normalizing effect on blood sugar levels. After a gap during World War I, he resumed his research and succeeded in isolating the antidiabetic pancreatic hormone (pancreine). An extensive paper on this subject - Research on the Role of the Pancreas in Food Assimilation - was submitted by Paulescu on June 22, 1921 to the Archives Internationales de Physiologie in Liège, Belgium, and was published in the August 1921 issue of this journal. Paulescu secured the patent rights for his method of manufacturing pancreine (his own term for insulin) on April 10, 1922 (patent no. 6254) from the Romanian Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Eight months after Paulescu's works were published, doctor Frederick Grant Banting and biochemist John James Richard Macleod from the University of Toronto, Canada, published their paper on the successful use of a pancreatic extract for normalizing blood sugar (glucose) levels (glycemia) in diabetic dogs. Their paper is a mere confirmatory paper, with direct references to Paulescu's article. However, they misquote that article. Surprisingly, Banting and Macleod received the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of insulin, while Paulescu's pioneering work was being completely ignored by the scientific and medical community. International recognition for Paulescu's merits as the true discoverer of insulin came only 50 years later.

Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Between June 27 and 29 we guided Louis Schonfeld (US) to Iasi and Northern Moldavia. He was able to visit old inns on the way and to research the Iasi Jewish cemetery, besides discovering Moldavian hospitality and gastronomy. Although his family roots come mainly from Salaj (Transylvania) and Zakarpattia (Ukraine), he is interested in any link to the Schonfeld family name. In the picture, a tombstone of the I World War Romanian soldier Moise Scheinfeld at Iasi Jewish cemetery.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Romania: vacation secret

I reproduce, below, a fragment of the article Romania: A Well-Kept Vacation Secret for Celebrities, written by Jean Marquit and published on Dec 28, 2005 by Associated Content.

"The country of Romania remains the well-kept secret of the rich and famous. The secret is not just in the inexpensive filming costs, which are increasingly drawing movies and the celebrities that go with them; it is also in the luxuriously metropolitan amenities that live side-by-side with pristine virginity. And whenever one travels to Bucharest, Romania's capital, and from thence into the non-fiction countryside of Transylvania, one is often both uniquely alone and in good company.

The countryside surrounding Bucharest hosts numerous spas and resorts; Romania has long been renowned for its healing waters with dignitaries visiting since the time of the Roman Empire. Armand Assante, who recently shared the screen with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey in Two for the Money, enjoys the Olimp resort at the coast of the Black Sea. It is a getaway on the shores of a sea long famous for its qualities to heal the body and the spirit."

You can read the whole article by clicking here.