Follow AHF on Twitter  
Go to AHF's Homepage Founded in 1906, AHF is one of the nation's oldest ethnic organizations Read all AHF news Buy books and see articles written by AHF members See member links and external resources AHF Action Alerts - get involved! Unity is strength Join AHF, Donate and help AHF help our community
 
Search Search the Web Search AHF
Sign up for the AHF mailing list Subscribe Unsubscribe
Science, Mathematics, & Technology
Hungarian Coat of Arms
Nobel Prize Winners and Famous Hungarians
 by Bryan Dawson

Did you know... the Manhattan Project, atomic bomb and nuclear engineering; the holograph; the moon and mars rover; the Model T Ford; Microsoft Office and WYSIWYG; seat belts and passive safety; binary code, BASIC, computer programming, and the modern computer; supersonic flight and the U.S. aerospace industry; the California wine industry; modern contact lenses; the speaking machine; the telephone exchange; safety matches; color television, full-length motion pictures; jet propulsion; the ball-point pen; the carburetor and the automatic gearbox; the Zeppelin; the dynamo, electricity distribution and the transformer; the torpedo; the automatic camera; modern electric trains; and Intel Corporation all owe their existence to Hungarians?

Click to [Submit] a Famous Hungarian. Please include a Web or other resource for verification purposes. To maintain the high standards and integrity of this site, submissions cannot be accepted without a verifiable resource. COPYRIGHT: Please ask for permission and CITE this source before using this information.

[<< Back to the Master Name Index]

       Sections:


Edward (Ede) Teller - (b. Jan. 15, 1908, Budapest) Physicist, instrumental in the Manhattan Project, Father of the the H-Bomb: co-developed the Atomic Bomb and Discovered BET equation.Edward (Ede) Teller - (b. Jan. 15, 1908, Budapest)
Physicist, instrumental in the Manhattan Project, Father of the the H-Bomb: co-developed the Atomic Bomb and Discovered BET equation. 

Edward Teller is most widely known for his significant contributions to the first demonstration of thermonuclear energy; in addition he has added to the knowledge of quantum theory, molecular physics, and astrophysics. 

Young Edward was a mathematical prodigy. In 1926, Edward left Budapest to study chemical engineering in Karlsruhe, Germany.  In Karlsruhe, Teller became intrigued by physics, particularly the new theory of quantum mechanics. After recovering from teh loss of his foot in a streetcar accident, he learned to walk with a prosthesis, and transferred to the University of Leipzig, to study with Werner Heisenberg, who was in the forefront of the new physics. Teller received his doctorate in physics in 1930 and took a job as research consultant at the University of Gottingen. His first published paper: "Hydrogen Molecular Ion," was one of the earliest statements of what is still the most widely held view of the molecule. Edward Teller made a major contribution to the development of the atomic bomb. Teller's friend Leo Szilárd enlisted Albert Einstein to bring this danger to the attention of President Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt appealed to the scientific community to mobilize for the defense of freedom. In 1941 Teller joined America's best physicists in the top secret Manhattan Project. Their mission: to develop the atom bomb before the Germans did. From the beginning, some scientists had feared that an uncontrolled nuclear reaction, like that of the proposed bomb, might continue indefinitely, consuming the earth. Teller's calculations reassured the team that the nuclear explosion, while enormously powerful, would only destroy a limited area. 

TellerSeen here with President Kennedy accepting the National Medal of Science, Edward Teller managed Los Alamos research on the "Super," as he called the hydrogen bomb. Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan and the end of World War II slowed "Super" research. Teller, a strong anti-Communist and sensitive to U.S. and Soviet relations, pushed unsuccessfully to accelerate work on a super-bomb. He was frustrated by the post-war direction of Los Alamos. He accepted a University of Chicago professorship and left Los Alamos in October 1945.  In April 1946, Teller returned to Los Alamos and led a secret conference on the "Super." The conference reviewed his earlier work on fusion, which led to his full-time return to Los Alamos in 1949 to continue research on the hydrogen bomb. On January 31, 1950, President Truman approved hydrogen bomb development and testing, partly as a result of the first Soviet atomic test the previous August. Since 1975, Edward Teller has been senior research fellow at the Hoover Institute for the Study of War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. He is also Director Emeritus at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Trivia:

  • There is indeed an asteroid named Teller orbiting around the Sun, discovered by E.F. Helin in 1989.)

- Purchase his book, "Memoirs" at Amazon
- See The Hall of Science and Exploration at the American Academy of Achievement.  The in-depth site has an interview, more background, and even videos. 
- Or read another Interview with Teller
- See a fascinating history in pictures at this anti-Teller site


Einstein and Szilard: Leo Szilárd - (b. Feb 11, 1898, Budapest, d. May 30, 1964, La Jolla, California) Physicist - Co-developed the Atomic Bomb, patented the nuclear reactor, catalyst of the Manhattan Project: Conceived the nuclear chain reaction and campaigned for nuclear disarmament, though the first to consider the application of the atom to making bombs. Achieved first sustained nuclear fission reaction with Enrico Fermi. Identified the unit or "bit" of information.Leo Szilárd - (b. Feb 11, 1898, Budapest, d. May 30, 1964, La Jolla, California)
Physicist  - Co-developed the Atomic Bomb, patented the nuclear reactor, catalyst of the Manhattan Project: Conceived the nuclear chain reaction and campaigned for nuclear disarmament, though the first to consider the application of the atom to making bombs. Achieved first sustained nuclear fission reaction with Enrico Fermi. Identified the unit or "bit" of information.

Szilard first realized the potential use of nuclear fission in an atomic bomb, and worked with Fermi on the first nuclear reaction. Seen here with Albert Einstein, his other ideas included the electron microscope, cyclotron,  and linear accelerator. As an inventor, he even has numerous joint patents with Einstein. He proposed term "breeder" to describe an nuclear reactor and holds a joint 1955 US patent on the nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi.   In 1960, after a personal meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, during Khrushchev's visit to New York, he proposed methods of reducing US-USSR tensions, including the Washington-Moscow "hotline."  Shared Atoms for Peace Award with Eugene Wigner and devoted much of his life toward nuclear disarmament and preventing the harmful use of nuclear energy. 

With Wigner, he convinced Einstein, the scientific community, and the President to start the Manhattan Project. Albert Einstein's 1939 letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging development of an atomic bomb - the famous document that started the Nuclear Age - was not written by Einstein at all. It was ghostwritten for him by Szilard. In 1939, Szilard and Princeton scientist Eugene Wigner approached Einstein to ask a vital favor: Given his great stature, would he lend his name to the promotion of a serious study of nuclear energy's wartime applications and the design and construction of an atomic bomb? Einstein agreed, although he confessed relative ignorance about nuclear chain reactions.

Szilárd wrote a draft and presented it to him for his signature on Aug. 2. It spoke of the "vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements [that] would be generated" by a nuclear chain reaction set off in a large chunk of uranium. The message finally went to Roosevelt. Later Einstein did write and sign two follow-up messages which, together with the first, led to the 1942 formation of the Manhattan Project, - which developed the bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. Szilárd was one of the project's guiding forces; Einstein had nothing whatsoever to do with it and wrote:

"I only acted as a mailbox," Einstein later wrote.
"They [Szilard and Wigner] brought me a finished letter,
and I simply mailed it."

Trivia:

  • In the North-West, near the lunar Terminator Line, halfway between H.G. Wells and F. Joliot is the great Szilard Crater of 122 km in diameter

- Visit Leo Szilárd Online. A really incredible site! By author and Szilárd biographer, Gene Dannen. With Bio, classified documents regarding the Manhattan Project & the bomb, the actual letters to the Presidents: the Szilárd Petition to Truman and letter from Einstein to Roosevelt.
- See Wikipedia


John von Neumann: Legendary Mathematician, Physicist, Logician, and Computing Pioneer. Father of Binary Code and the Stored Program Computer, the keys to modern computer computer programming. Father of Game Theory. Proposed Implosion and co-developed the Atomic Bomb. Built a solid framework for quantum mechanics. Played a key role in the development of the U.S. ballistic missile program.John von Neumann - (b. János Lajos Margittai Neumann on Dec 28, 1903, Budapest - d. Feb 8, 1957, Washington, DC)
Legendary Mathematician, Physicist, Logician, and Computing Pioneer. Father of Binary Code and the Stored Program Computer, the keys to modern computer computer programming. Father of Game Theory. Proposed Implosion and co-developed the Atomic Bomb. Built a solid framework for quantum mechanics. Played a key role in the development of the U.S. ballistic missile program.

Education
Neumann was a child genius.  When only six years old he could divide eight-digit numbers in his head. He learned calculus by eight and, amused everyone by memorizing phone book pages, and in 1911, entered the Lutheran Gymnasium (Senior Secondary  School) where is recognized genius soon affords him special tuition.  Incredibly at the same school, in the class just ahead Neumann's, was another genius, Eugene Wigner (below). In 1921, he enters the University of Budapest to study mathematics in 1921. But he did not attend lectures. Instead he simultaneously attended the University of Berlin that same year to study chemistry.  Despite not attending his lectures, he still achieved outstanding results in Budapest. He received both his diploma in chemical engineering from the Technische Hochschule in Zürich and his doctorate in mathematics from the University of Budapest in 1926. In 1930 von Neumann became a visiting lecturer at Princeton University, being appointed professor there in 1931. He along with Einstein became one of the original six mathematics professors in 1933 at the newly founded Institute for Advanced Study (I.A.S.) in Princeton, a position he kept for the remainder of his life. 

The ENIAC, Modern Computing, and Dr. Strangelove
John von Neumann ENIAC Von Neumann was the center of the group who created the "stored program" concept that made truly powerful computers possible. A chance meeting brought him to work on the ENIAC (seen on the right). ENIAC had a big problem. It had no memory. As a consultant to Eckert and Mauchly on the ENIAC, he devised a concept for computer architecture that remains with us to this day. He conceived a fundamental idea that serves all modern computers - that a computer's program and the data that it processes does not have to be fed into the computer while it is working but can be kept in the computer's memory - a notion generally referred to as the stored-program computer.  Known subsequently as the "von Neumann architecture", the stored-program computer (where both the instructions and the data they operate upon reside together in memory) with its central controller, I/O, and memory was outlined in a "Draft Report" and paved the way for the modern era of computing. When he died, the Secretaries of Defense, the Army, Air Force, and Navy and the Joint Chiefs of staff were all gathered around his bed, attentive to his last gasps of technical and policy advice.  

Though he is widely known for his work with the Manhattan Project, Time Magazine writes: "virtually all computers today, from $10 million supercomputers to the tiny chips that power cell phones and Furbies, have one thing in common: they are all "Von Neumann machines," variations on the basic computer architecture that John von Neumann, building on the work of Alan Turing, laid out in the 1940s. Men have become famous for less. But in the lifetime of this Hungarian-born mathematician who had his hand in everything from quantum physics to U.S. policy during the cold war, the Von Neumann machine was almost the least of his accomplishments...As rivalry with the Soviet Union heated up, Von Neumann became a strategic adviser on defense policy. He was appointed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Atomic Energy Commission, which oversaw the postwar buildup of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Von Neumann's game theory became a tool to analyze the unthinkable--global nuclear war--and led to the doctrine of "mutually assured destruction," which would shape U.S. strategy for the next two decades. Von Neumann also became an icon of the cold war. Disabled with pancreatic cancer, he stoically continued to attend AEC meetings until his death in 1957. The wheelchair-bound scientist with the Hungarian accent who mathematically analyzed doomsday is said to have been a model for Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove."

The Manhattan Project and US Government
During and after World War II, von Neumann served as a consultant to the armed forces. His valuable contributions on the Manhattan Project included a proposal of the implosion method for bringing nuclear fuel to explosion, his participation in the development of the hydrogen bomb and his use of his extensive knowledge of hydrodynamics to attempt to create an isotope of uranium with great potential for energy. Howard Feingold writes, "Von Neumann was a very important, probably indispensable, member of the Manhattan Project scientific team. Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Bohr, Lawrence, and the other members of the most gifted scientific gathering of minds in history were as awed by Johnny's intellect as anyone else who ever met him. More impressively, they were as reliant on his mathematical judgment as anyone else. In that galactic cluster of world-class physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and engineers, it was a rare tribute that von Neumann was put in charge of the mathematical calculations upon which all their theories--and the functioning of their "gadget"--would depend."

From 1940 he was a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee at the Ballistic Research Laboratories at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. He was a member of the Navy Bureau of Ordnance from 1941 to 1955, and a consultant to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1943 to 1955. From 1950 to 1955 he was a member of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project in Washington, D.C. Von Neumann ended up a key policy-maker in the fields of nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and intercontinental ballistic weaponry. In 1953 he became chairman of the Air Force Strategic Missiles Evaluation Committee. He was appointed Director of the Atomic Energy Commission and Chaired the Atlas (later ICBM) Scientific Advisory Committee which monitored Atlas progress and sought to speed up development of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. As chairman of both committees, Dr. von Neumann proposed the practicality of using ballistic missiles to deliver nuclear weapons. He believed the Soviets had an edge in the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile and predicted a significant missile gap between the United States and the Soviet Union by the late 1950s. Without greater funding, research and development of an operational Atlas ICBM was scheduled for earliest completion in 1963. Based on recommendations by the von Neumann committees and persuasion by Trevor Gardner (the Air Force Assistant Secretary for Research and Development), the United States pressed forward with its missile program at a faster rate and successfully launched an Atlas missile in December 1958. 

Awards
In 1955 President Eisenhower appointed him to the Atomic Energy Commission, and in 1956 he received its Enrico Fermi Award, knowing that he was incurably ill with cancer. Von Neumann received two Presidential Awards, the Medal for Merit in 1947 and the Medal for Freedom in 1956. Also in 1956 he received the Albert Einstein Commemorative Award. 

Trivia:

  • There is a Crater Von Neumann on the Moon, just east of the Szilard Crater!

- Read Time Magazine's Article, "John von Neumann: Computing Cold Warrior." 
- See US News's John von Neumann: A Calculating Man
- See Howard Rheingold's Brainstorm on the development the computer. My more technically saavy readers should see the  "Von Neumann Architecture." 
- Here is a US Air Force article on his role in the development of Ballistic Missiles: http://www.spacecom.af.mil/hqafspc/history/von_neumann.htm  
- Here are some historical resources: http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/VonNeumann.html. Or read these at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland: Von Neumann Bio or Mathematicians Born in Hungary .  Another good site is Who's Who in Computing.


Theodore von Karman: Aeronautical Engineer & Mathematician. The Father of the Supersonic Flight, first recipient of National Medal of Science from J.F.K., and a founder of the aeronautical and astronautical sciences. Developed first helicopter tethered to the ground that was able to maintain hovering flight. He was one of the creators of scientific fluid mechanics. Designed the first rocket to reach interstellar space!Tódor (Theodore) von Kármán - (b.1881 Budapest - d.1963 Aachen, Germany)
Aeronautical Engineer & Mathematician. The Father of the Supersonic Flight, first recipient of National Medal of Science from J.F.K., and a founder of the aeronautical and astronautical sciences. Developed first helicopter tethered to the ground that was able to maintain hovering flight. He was one of the creators of scientific fluid mechanics. Designed the first rocket to  reach interstellar space!

Education and Early Developments
Theodore Von Kármán was a mathematical prodigy. He became a student of the present Trefort Street Grammar School in Budapest, where he would win competitions of Mathematics. His father, worried that his son would become a mathematical "freak," pushed him toward engineering. In 1902, he received his degree in mechanical engineering from the Royal Hungarian Technical University. 

Following initial success – on his father's advice - he went to Göttingen in 1906, on a scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences where he received his PhD and taught. Kármán writes, "It was in Göttingen that I performed the experiments and I got my doctoral degree in 1908. My curiosity was directed towards solid bodies and flexibility. First I got engaged in aerodynamics.  I think I first heard about supersonic jet propulsion from Albert Fonó." He was nominated head of the department of aeronautics at the university of Aachen. It was there that he met professor H. Junkers, former head of the department of internal combustion engines. He involved Kármán in his airplane-designing work, and they developed together the wings of legendary and ever sturdy Junkers J-1

WWI
In World War I he was called into military service, and in August 1915, when the chiefs of staff of the Austro-Hungarian army realized that Kármán had a good knowledge of aviation as well, an experimental laboratory was put to his disposal in the empty Zeppelin hangar where he built a wind tunnel adequate for the testing of propellers. He played a substantial role in the preparation of PKZ (Petróczy-Kármán-Zurovecz) helicopters.  It was at the Military Aircraft Factory at Fischamend in Austria, where he led the development of the first helicopter tethered to the ground that was able to maintain hovering flight. After the war in 1918, he came to Budapest and got to the Ministry of Public Education where he spared no effort in order to modernize university education. Among several of his important measures it should be mentioned that he doubled the number of Mathematics classes. In 1919 he returns to Aachen where he became director of the Institute of Aerodynamics. He lectured on gliding aircrafts. One of his students was Messerschmidt, the later famous airplane constructor. 

The New World, WWII, and Supersonic Flight
Politics put an end to the years in Aachen. He left Germany. The new world – the United States – became the scene of his creative period. In 1930, he became director of the Guggenheim Aeronautics Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. His laboratory at the California Institute of Technology later became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 1933, he founded the U.S. Institute of Aeronautical Sciences. In 1939, he was commissioned to design a wind tunnel for the purposes of supersonic aviation. He built the first wind tunnel reaching sonic speed by the order of the Boeing Works.  He had a leading role in the development of the B-36, B-47 and B-52 bombers, as well as the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman rockets. Kármán made unique contributions to the theory of elasticity, produced important findings on the strength of materials, aircraft structures, aerodynamics and thermodynamics. For his pioneering role in aviation science, Kármán is often remembered as "the father of supersonic flight." In 1942, he established the Aero-Jet Engineering Corporation. When in November 1943, German V-2s began to bombard London, this corporation was commissioned to develop long-range rockets. The first rocket, launched in December, 1944, reached the height of 11 miles (17.5 km). In 1945, the height was over 71 km; and in 1949, their rocket got as high as 393 km. This was the first rocket to have reached interstellar space. In 1944, he was appointed Chairman of the Advisory Board of the US Army Air Force and in 1952 was Chairman of NATO Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research & Development. His mathematical breakthroughs made supersonic and space flight possible. A stamp was issued in his honor by the US in 1992. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society and memorialized by Crater Karman on the Moon and Mars!

Quote:

"The scientist describes what is; the engineer creates what never was."
Quoted in A L Mackay, Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (London 1994)

Trivia:

  • there is a mount named Von Kármán Crater on Mars
  • a huge ring in the southern part of the far side of the Moon has also been named Von Kármán Crater

- See Encylopedia Britannica's article: http://britannica.com/bcom/eb/article/7/0,5716,45787+1,00.html  
- Or read more about him and other great scientists at The Technical University of Budapest.


John Kemeny: Mathematician, President of Dartmouth, Leader and innovator in mathematics education, and "Father of Microcomputing": Developed BASIC computer language. Manhattan Project Mathematician at 17!John Kemény -  (b. 5/31/1926, Budpapest - d. 12/26/1992, Hanover, New Hampshire)
Mathematician, President of Dartmouth, Leader and innovator in mathematics education, and "Father of Microcomputing": Developed BASIC computer language. Manhattan Project Mathematician at 17!

"Einstein was not very good at math"

"The most dangerous voice you will ever hear is the evil voice of prejudice that divides black from white, man from woman, Jew from gentile. Listen to the voice that says man can live in harmony. Use your very considerable talents to make the world better."

Dr. Kemény developed Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) in 1964, along with Thomas Kurtz, because the pair wanted a simple computer language. BASIC is often considered the beginner’s bible in computing, and is included with almost every microcomputer. However, the language has numerous variations because the two men didn’t copyright it. In the 1980s, they developed True BASIC, a more powerful version of BASIC that met ANSI and ISO standards.

Contributor Steve Colman writes: "John Kemeny's claim to fame was that he was a class mate of mine at the Berzsenyi Daniel High School, then on Marko utca. At age 13, when I was already well established as the class dunce, he was discovered to be a genius. In August 1939 he left for USA, where at age 17 he was called up as a soldier and sent to be a mathematician on the Manhattan Project (Atom bomb). [Following the war, he returned to Princeton and in 1947 received his B.A. summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.] [While working on is PhD., ] he became an assistant to Albert Einstein [at the Institute for Advanced Study.] ...He became the "Father of Microcomputing" due to his (and Tom Kurtz's) writing the code of BASIC. He was a well known mathematician, wrote several books and became President of Dartmouth [in 1970 on one condition: that he be allowed to continue teaching Philosophy and Mathematics.] A heart attack killed him in 1992. Kemény's brother-in-law was George Mikes, a fellow Hungarian who is very well known as the author of "How to be an Alien" and other bestsellers. He should also be on your list." Now he is [hipcat]

Many awards and honors were bestowed on Kemeny. He was given the New York Academy of Sciences Award in 1984, the Institute of Electrical Engineers Computer Medal in 1986 and the Louis Robinson Award on 1990. He received twenty honorary degrees.

Trivia

  • In 1979, President Jimmy Carter asked him to chair the commission investigating the Three Mile Island nuclear accident: "The Kemeny Commission," as it came to be called, was very critical of the nuclear power industry and its federal regulators.
  • Kemeny was Albert Einstein’s research assistant. Kemeny later wrote: 

    "People would ask - did you know enough physics to help Einstein? My standard line was: Einstein did not need help in physics. But contrary to popular belief, Einstein did need help in mathematics. By which I do not mean that he wasn't good at mathematics. He was very good at it, but he was not an up-to-date research level mathematician. His assistants were mathematicians for two reasons. First of all, in just ordinary calculations, anybody makes mistakes. There were many long calculations, deriving one formula from another to solve a differential equation. They go on forever. Any number of times we got the wrong answer. Sometimes one of us got the wrong answer, sometimes the other. The calculations were long enough that if you got the same answer at the end, you were confident. So he needed an assistant for that, and, frankly, I was more up-to-date in mathematics than he was."
  • In 1971, he used computer terminals in his office and at home. He predicted that by 1990 such capability would be as common as telephones and said it would raise the intellectual level of the average home to "the pre-television level."

- Columbia University has a great bio entitled, "John G. Kemeny: BASIC and DTSS: Everyone a Programmer"
- The History of Mathematics Archive at University of St. Andrews in the UK and BCC.
- Read True Basic: A sketch of John Kemeny for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine


Charles Simonyi: Billionaire Computer Scientist and Chief Architect, Microsoft Corporation, Father of WYSIWYG and Hungarian Notation - and now Astronaut!Charles Simonyi (b. 9/10/1948, Budapest)
Billionaire Computer Scientist and Chief Architect, Microsoft Corporation
Father of WYSIWYG and Hungarian Notation
- and now Astronaut!

During the 1970s at Xerox PARC, Charles Simonyi led a team of programmers in the development of Bravo, the first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get, pronounced wizzywig, i.e. MS Word) word processing editor. Bravo was a fundamental departure from the way information was previously displayed and organized and it was part of PARC's contribution that changed the face of computing and ultimately led to personal computing.

Simonyi, born in Budapest, Hungary, holds a bachelor of science degree in engineering mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley and a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University. He worked for the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center from 1972-80 and joined Microsoft in 1981 to start the development of microcomputer application programs. He hired and managed teams who developed Microsoft Multiplan, Word, Excel, and other applications. In 1991, he moved to Microsoft Research where he has been focusing on Intentional Programming.

Dr. Simonyi, whose long career has made him independently wealthy, has endowed two chairs: the Charles Simonyi Professorship For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University which is held by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins; and the Charles Simonyi Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Charles Simonyi returns to earth! Simonyi paid $25 million for a 13-day trip to outer space and returned to Earth on April 21, 2007 in a space capsule that also carried a cosmonaut and a U.S. astronaut, making a soft landing on the Kazakh steppe.

Charles Simonyi (b. 9/10/1948, Budapest) is a billionaire computer Scientist and was Chief Architect of Microsoft Corporation returned safely to earth after a week aboard  a Soviet spacecraft.American Hungarian Federation Executive Committee Chairman, Bryan Dawson-Szilagyi issued the following statement:

"A New Hungarian-American Trailblazer - When Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi was asked if he believed in extraterrestrials, he replied, "They are already here...they are called Hungarians! Charles Simonyi's accomplishments are a matter of great pride to the American Hungarian Federation and to the Hungarian American community - and to those 1956 freedom fighters we honored last year on the advent of the anti-Soviet revolution's 50th anniversary. It is a testament to the genius Hungary has lost to war and occupation and to what a Hungarian can accomplish in a free society.

It is also a testament to the Hungarian pioneering spirit. Charles Simonyi carries on the torch of the great Hungarian explorers who blazed a trail from the African steppes and Mt. Kilimanjaro, to the hidden worlds of Tibet and the Himalayas, to the great plains of the United States. The Hungarian zeal for discovery has now left our Earth in Human form to join another Hungarian space explorer, the NASA moon rover. We have all followed Charles' career and have been waiting in anticipation of his blast off into history. We are pleased to see Enrico Fermi's theory proven." See the Duna TV Website "Charles in Space / Magyar az Ürben"

Resources:
Interview with Simonyi,
The Edge.org
,
Intentional Programming


Farkas Kempelen: Inventor - First Speaking Machine - first experimental phoneticianFarkas (Wolfgang) Kempelen de Pázmánd - (b.1734 Pozsony then capital of Hungary [called Bratislava after  Czech and Slovak annexation], d. Vienna in 1804) 
Speaking MachineInventor - First Speaking Machine - first experimental phonetician
 
His main concern was the study of human speech production, with therapeutic applications in mind. He has been called the first experimental phonetician. He was first to observe minute movements in formation of spoken sounds and in 1788 constructed first "speaking machine."  In his book Mechanismus der menschlichen Sprache nebst Beschreibung einer sprechenden Maschine (1791) he included a detailed description of his speaking machine - in order for others to reconstruct it and make it more perfect. The drawings shown here to the right  are  taken from this book. Von Kempelen's machine was the first that allowed to produce not only some speech sounds, but also whole words and short sentences.  It used a bellows to supply air to a reed which, in turn, excited a single, hand-varied resonator for producing voiced sounds. Consonants, including nasals, were simulated by four separate constricted passages, controlled by the fingers of the other hand. An improved version of the machine was built from von Kempelen's description by Sir Charles Wheatstone (of the Wheatstone Bridge, and who is credited in Britain with the invention of the telegraph). This early phonograph is on display at Deutsches Museum in Munich. 

The genial Kempelen worked in almost every branch of technical science. He organized the textile industry in the South of Hungary, and built the Pozsony bridge of pontoons in the North, Kempelen was the first to experiment with the use of printed letters for teaching the blind in Paris. Kempelen amazed the world with his "chess-playing machine," with which he traveled throughout Europe, astonishing even Napoleon. The Emperor is said to have lost his game with the machine, upon which he swept the figures off the board in frustration. The secret of this machine was never revealed.

- For more see, "Wolfgang von Kempelen's and the subsequent speaking machines."  
- Here is yet another in-depth look at this remarkable man and his invention: http://www.slovakradio.sk/kultura/expstudio/kempe.html
- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!


Gabor Denes: Nobel Prize in 1971 for his investigation and development of holography.Dennis Gábor (b. 1900, Budapest - d. 1979, London)
Nobel Prize in 1971 for his investigation and development of holography.

(adapted from his autobiography)
Dr. Dennis Gabor was born in Budapest, Hungary, on June 5, 1900, the oldest son of Bertalan Gabor, director of a mining company, and his wife Adrienne. His life-long love of physics started suddenly at the age of 15. Fascinated by Abbe's theory of the microscope and by Gabriel Lippmann's method of colour photography, he, with his late brother George built up a home laboratory and began experimenting with wireless X-rays and radioactivity. He entered the Technische Hochschule Berlin and acquired a Diploma in 1924 and his Doctorate of Engineering in 1927 in electrical engineering.  While there he spent his free time working on physics at the University of Berlin. His doctorate work was the development of one of the first high speed cathode ray oscillographs and in the course of this, made the first iron-shrouded magnetic electron lens. In 1927 he joined Siemens & Halske AG and made one of his first successful inventions; the high pressure quartz mercury lamp with superheated vapour and the molybdenum tape seal, since used in millions of street lamps. In what Dennis calls his "first lesson in serendipity," he invented the mercury lamp while attempting to develop a cadmium lamp which proved unsuccessful.

With the rise of Hitler In 1933, Dennis left Germany and after a short period in Hungary went to depression stricken England. Finding a jobs as a foreigner was very difficult. He eventually obtained employment with the British firm, Thomson-Houston Co., in Rugby, on an inventor's agreement. His work on gas discharge tubes gave him a foothold in the BTH Research Laboratory where he remained until the end of 1948. Dennis writes that the years after the war were the most fruitful. One his first papers was on communication theory. He also developed a system of stereoscopic cinematography, and in the last year at BTH carried out the basic experiments in holography, at that time called "wavefront reconstruction."

On January 1, 1949 he joined the Imperial College of Science & Technology in London, first as a Reader in Electronics, and later as Professor of Applied Electron Physics, until his retirement in 1967. With post-graduate assistants, he attacked many problems, almost always difficult ones. Developments included: a holographic microscope; a new electron-velocity spectroscope; an analogue computer which was a universal, non-linear "learning" predictor, recognizer and simulator of time series; a flat, thin colour television tube; and a new type of thermionic converter. Theoretical work included communication theory, plasma theory, magnetron theory, and a scheme of fusion.

After his retirement in 1967 he remained connected with the Imperial College as a Senior Research Fellow and became Staff Scientist of CBS Laboratories, Stamford, Conn. where he collaborated with the President, life-long friend, and father of the color television, Dr. Peter C. Goldmark, in many new schemes of communication and display. 

- See my Dennis Gabor Site for more


Tivadar Puskas: Inventor, Telephone Pioneer / Thomas Edison's Colleague - Devised the idea of using telephone exchanges between subscribers, invented the switchboard and built Europe's first telephone exchange. Inventor of the Telephonograph (forerunner to radio) and Telephone NewsTivadar Puskás - (b. 9/17/1844, Pest - d. 1893) 
Inventor, Telephone Pioneer / Thomas Edison's Colleague - Devised the idea of using telephone exchanges  between subscribers, invented the switchboard and built Europe's first telephone exchange Inventor of the Telephonograph (forerunner to radio) and Telephone News

In 1874, after a successful Travel Agency enterprise in Vienna, he travels to America by ship. Buys some land in the gold-fields of Colorado and starts searching for gold. In New York he gets acquainted with Edison and Edison's invention, the carbon microphone. There it occurred to him to set up a central  exchange which would be suitable for connecting several persons talking. In 1876 he travels to London and Brussels where he is involved in discussions about the latest telegraphs and the development of a telegraphic network for cities. At the news of Edison's invention, he returns to America where he becomes Edison's collaborator and is engaged in working out the details of the telephone exchange.

In 1877 he goes to London on behalf of Edison to register the patent for the phonograph. In 1878 he moves from London to Paris. On the continent, as Edison's representative, he has dealt with every patent. In addition, Puskás worked on the electric lighting of London (1882) and the telephone network in Madrid (1883). Apart from this he sets up his own enterprise: an agency for selling patents. The main reason for him moving to Paris is to build a telephone exchange, the first in all of the capitals of Europe, where in 1879, he built Europe's first.

In Budapest, the world's fourth exchange commenced operating in 1881. It was in this city that another of Puskás's inventions, "the speaking newspaper" (Telefonhírmondó), was first put into practice on February 15, 1893, sending news and music to subscribers as a forerunner of modern telecommunications. Puskas was a genius of online content: His service featured up-to-the-minute stock reports and sports results, live music, a newsroom delivering late-breaking news, and programming for children. Pundits of the time, as Thomas White's online archives reveal, sounded a lot like pundits today. "Will the newspaper always remain in a form now so familiar," pondered a reporter for the Living Age in 1903, "and will the news always be printed from type upon paper?" A similar venture had already installed theatrophones in fashionable Paris hotels and cafes. Subscriber lines also were strung across London; Queen Victoria had one in her sitting room.

Trivia

  • Coined the term "Hello" an Englishized version of "Hallom" which means "I hear you" - his famous words to Edison on the successful test of his new invention, the telephone.
  • October 1879, Tivadar Puskás became a member of the board of directors in the Edison Company

- Read TIVADAR PUSKÁS: From Pest to Nagyvárad - via London
- Go here for more on his life as well as academic achievements and inventions.
- See Hungarians in the History of Communication    
- Read all about his invention, Telefon-Hirmondo, or Newsteller 
- See the fascinating Little Stories about Great Hungarians


Peter Goldmark: Engineer, CBS Chief Scientist - Invented the Color Television, 33 1/3 LP Record, and the Electronic Video Recorder! National Medal of SciencePeter Carl Goldmark - (b. 12/2/1906, Budapest – d. Westchester County, NY, 12/7/1977)
Engineer, CBS Chief Scientist -
Invented the Color Television, 33 1/3 LP Record, and the Electronic Video Recorder! National Medal of Science

"Peter had more ideas in a day than most others in a lifetime" - CBS President, Frank Stanton

Goldmark FilterDr. Goldmark, responsible for over 160 inventions in his storied career, studied at the University of Vienna (B.S., 1929, Ph.D., 1931) and from 1931–33 worked for a radio company in England. After emigrating to the United States in 1933, he worked as a construction engineer until joining the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1936. There he developed the first commercial color television system, which used a rotating three-color disk, and announced in 1940 that CBS had a marketable color television and broadcasted in New York.

Although initially approved by the Federal Communications Commission, RCA, which had invested heavily in black-and-white technology, used its lobbying clout to keep the FCC from adopting the CBS system. Goldmark also developed the 33 1/3 LP phonograph record that greatly increased the playing time of records. The LP Phonograph record may not not seem exciting in this, the age of the compact disc, but when Peter Goldmark perfected it in 1948, music lovers rejoiced. Even more crucial, perhaps, was that Goldmark's record was made of vinyl, rather than the shellac-and-clay blend previously employed. Plastics discs were not only tougher and less noisy, but also allowed for narrower grooves and therefore more music -- up to half an hour per side. Finally, audiophiles could settle in for a nice long listen.

Later, Goldmark would achieve fame for the first electronic video recording system—the forerunner for the VCR in your home today. He became the chief engineer and President of CBS’s Laboratory in 1954. He also developed a scanning system used by the Lunar Orbiter spacecraft in 1966 to transmit photographs to the earth from the moon. CBS received credit for all of his work. As a result, Goldmark has not been given the recognition he deserves.  

Other inventions included Chrysler's Highway Hi-Fi, found in Chrysler automobiles from 1956 to 1959, featuring a turntable for playing records, built for Chrysler by CBS-Columbia, located in a shock-proof case mounted just below the center of the instrument panel. A tone arm, including sapphire stylus and ceramic pick up, plus storage space for six long-play records made up the unit.

Trivia:

  • His son, Peter C. Goldmark Jr., is chairman and CEO of the International Herald Tribune
  • Goldmark pioneered the use of color television in surgical education in 1949
  • In 1976 Peter Goldmark had a vision about buying movies for home viewing.  What an idea!

- Read a GREAT article (in .pdf format) entitled, "Peter C. Goldmark: Technological Visionary"
- See Infoplease.com 
- Read The long and winding road to color TV


Benjamin Lax: Electrical Engineer / Physicist: Founder and Director of Francis Bitter National Magnetic Laboratories (MIT); Professor of Physics, Emeritus (MIT); Semiconductor and magneto-optics pioneer; Radar Pioneer: developed the radar height finder and discovered radar meteorology.Benjamin Lax (b. Miskolc, Hungary, Dec. 29, 1915)
Electrical Engineer / Physicist: Founder and Director of Francis Bitter National Magnetic Laboratories (MIT); Professor of Physics, Emeritus (MIT); Semiconductor and magneto-optics pioneer; Radar Pioneer: developed the radar height finder and discovered radar meteorology.

Settling in the USA in 1926, Lax received a BS. Degree in mechanical engineering from Cooper Union in New York ('41). In WWII he was a radar officer assigned to the MIT Radiation Laboratory. Arriving at the MIT Radiation Laboratories in March 1944, Lax worked on Li'l Abner, the X-band height and range finder. 

After the war, Lax went back to graduate school, this time for his Ph.D. in physics at MIT. As early as 1955 Lax realized that the creation of continuous and stabile magnetic fields of the order of 250,000 gauss or more would open up an entire new area of research into basic physics. Together with his colleges, he had convinced the Air Force to establish a National Magnet Laboratory at MIT for this purpose. In 1960, after the contract was awarded to build this laboratory, he became its director. 

He was instrumental in starting the semiconductor laser effort at Lincoln Laboratories. His experiments led to the basic understanding of silicon and related semi-conductors. Borrowing techniques he developed in working with microwave gas discharges, Lax pioneered the important phenomenon of cyclotron resonance in semiconductors. He then extended these techniques to high magnetic fields (MR) and to the infrared and opened up a new field of modern magneto-optics in semiconductors and semi-metals. For this 'fundamental contributions to microwave and IR spectroscopy of semiconductors' he received the 1960 Oliver E. Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society.

 - Read this great interview at the IEEE


Hans Selye: Physician, Endocrinologist, Researcher - Founder of the concept of Stress: The "Einstein of Medicine!"János (Hans) Selye - (b. 1/26/1907, Vienna, d. 10/16/1982, Montreal)
Physician, Endocrinologist, Researcher - Founder of the concept of Stress: The "Einstein of Medicine!"

Dr. Hans Selye was the pioneer in research into stress. Selye's mother was Austrian but his father was a Hungarian doctor in the army. His father was moved to Komárom (now called Komarno after Czech and Slovak annexation) after World War I, so the young Selye attended elementary and secondary school there. As early as his second year of medical school (1926), he began developing his now-famous theory of the influence of stress on people's ability to cope with and adapt to the pressures of injury and disease. He discovered that patients with a variety of ailments manifested many similar symptoms, which he ultimately attributed to their bodies' efforts to respond to the stresses of being ill. He called this collection of symptoms--this separate stress disease--stress syndrome, or the general adaptation syndrome (GAS).

He spent a lifetime in continuing research on GAS and wrote some 30 books and more than 1,500 articles on stress and related problems, including Stress without Distress (1974) and The Stress of Life (1956). So impressive have his findings and theories been that some authorities refer to him as "the Einstein of medicine."

He was the first director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, Université de Montréal (1945-76). After retiring from the university, he founded the International Institute of Stress in 1977, in his own home in Montreal where he would spend 50 years studying the causes and consequences of stress. More than anyone else, Selye has demonstrated the role of emotional responses in causing or combating much of the wear and tear experienced by human beings throughout their lives.

"Man should not try to avoid stress any more than he would shun food, love or exercise."

Trivia:

  • The International Congress on Stress bestows the "Hans Selye Award" to a senior scientist who had made significant contributions to our understanding of stress. 
  • Dr. Selye held three earned doctorates (M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.) plus 43 honorary doctorates. He was an elected member of several dozen of the world's most recognized medical and scientific associations.
  • When Dr. Selye was asked to present a paper in France, it was found that there was no word in French for stress, so they coined one: Le stress. Similarly, when asked to speak in Germany, there was no German word for stress, so it was named Der stress.   He is therefore, without doubt, the founder of the concept of stress.
  • The Slovaks allowed the registration of The Hans Selye College in 1998. The institution aims to support the most gifted university students of Hungarian nationality living in Slovakia and to train an open minded elite, which will take part in recovering of the economy as well as cultural life of Hungarians living in that country.

- Buy the book with a forward by Dr. Selye: The Stress Doctor 
-
Read a biography
- Read about the Hans Selye Society of the Hungarian Society of Behavioral Sciences and Medicine.


Jozsef Dallos - (b. 1905, d. 1979, London): Physician - Developed the First Practical Contact Lenses!Jozsef Dallos - (b. 1905, d. 1979, London)
Physician - Invented the "Living Eye Impression Method" and developed the First Practical Contact Lenses!

Dallos developed a moulding technique using Negocol and Hominite - the first method to be used on the living eye to produce a successful contact lens. In 1827 English astronomer Sir John Herschel suggests grinding a contact lens to conform exactly to the eye's surface. It wasn't until 1929 that Dr. Dallos perfected a method of making molds from living eyes. This enabled the manufacture of lenses that, for the first time, conformed to the actual shape of the eye. He also developed novel fitting techniques and created fluidless lenses.

A commemorative plaque to Josef Dallos was unveiled at 18 Cavendish Square, London, on 23 June 2010.Dallos invented a glass-moulding technique that allowed the lens to take on the characteristics of the sclerotic membrane. He made a copy of the eye’s top layer using a thin copperplate and moulded the molten glass over its surface. After cutting to size, he placed the rough shell on the eye and continued to correct slight imperfections by grinding. Finally he ground the optical effect into the area directly over the cornea. He made such lenses for several of his patients that could be used for even more longer hours.

In 1973, Dallos emigrated to London where he earned worldwide acclaim. George Nissel in London, Dallos’ brother-in-law, produced high quality lenses and Nissel laboratories still exists in England. Dallos was a real pioneer in scleral lenses and was one of the first to recognize and discuss internal or lenticular astigmatism.  A commemorative plaque to Josef Dallos was unveiled at 18 Cavendish Square, London, on 23 June 2010.

Trivia:

  • Since his death in 1979, the British Contact Lens Association annually distributes awards named after Dallos, the "Josef Dallos Award."
  • The Hungarian István Györffy is credited with the development of the soft contact lens!

- Read "Contact Lens History"
- See the Vision RX Encyclopedia or the more technical lecture http://www.nova.edu/~wagner/clhx00.html for more.


Janos Bolyai: Mathematician - Discovered non-Euclidian hyperbolic geometry while at the University of Kolozsvár.János Bolyai - (b. 15 Dec 1802 Kolozsvár, Hungary/Transylvania [now Cluj, Romania] d. 27 Jan 1860, Hungary/Transylvania [now Tirgu-Mures, Romania])
Mathematician - Discovered non-Euclidian hyperbolic geometry while at the University of Kolozsvár. 

Bolyai was educated by his father, famed matmematician Farkas (Wolfgang) Bolyai, in Marosvásárhely and by the time he was 13 had mastered calculus and other forms of analytical mechanics. Bolyai also became an accomplished violinist and he performed in Vienna. He received military training and studied at the Imperial Engineering Academy in Vienna from 1818 to 1822. Immediately after this he joined the army engineering corps in which he spent 11 years. He was the best swordsman and dancer in the Austrian Imperial Army.  He neither smoked nor drank, not even coffee, and at the age of 23 he was reported to still retain the modesty of innocence. He was an accomplished linguist speaking nine foreign languages including Chinese and Tibetan. 

János Bólyai's absolute geometry laid the foundations of modern geometry by resolving the 2000 year old problem of geometry. It opened new horizons in mathematics,. physics, and even in philosophy since it refuted the Kantian concept of "a priori space." Bolyai was plagued with a fever which frequently disabled him and in 1833 he was pensioned off from his army career. Although he never published more than the 24 pages of the Appendix he left more than 20000 pages of manuscript of mathematical  work when he died. These are now in the Bolyai-Teleki library in Marosvásárhely (Tirgu-Mures).

"János Bólyai, more explicitly than Riemann, almost a century ahead of General Relativity, pointed at a possible connection between gravity and geometry, proving thereby his deep insight into the understanding of the laws of nature" - Zoltan Bay

Trivia:

  • In the southern part of the far side of the moon is the János Bolyai Crater; a bit east of it is the Roland Eötvös Crater

- See the Columbia Encyclopedia


Farkas Bolyai: His primary interest was in the Euclidean parallel postulate. His principal work, the Tentamen (1832–33), inspired by his mathematically gifted son János, is an attempt at a rigorous and systematic foundation of geometry (Vol. I) and of arithmetic, algebra, and analysis (Vol. II).Farkas Bolyai - (b. 9 Feb 1775 Bolya [near Nagyszeben], Hungary/Transylvania [now Sibiu, Romania] d. 20 Nov 1856 in Marosvásárhely, HungaryTransylvania [now Tirgu Mures, Romania])
Mathematician

From the Columbia Encyclopedia: Farks Bolyai was educated in Nagyszeben from 1781 to 1796 and studied in Germany during the next three years at Jena and Göttingen, where he began a lifelong friendship with "The Prince of Mathematics," Carl F. Gauss. From 1804 to 1853 he was professor of mathematics at Maros Vásárhely. His primary interest was in the Euclidean parallel postulate. His principal work, the Tentamen (1832–33), inspired by his mathematically gifted son János, is an attempt at a rigorous and systematic foundation of geometry (Vol. I) and of arithmetic, algebra, and analysis (Vol. II).

- Read more at Farkas Bolyai or see the Columbia Encyclopedia


Kalman Kando: Inventor/Engineer - Discovered triple phase high tension current for electric locomotion and industrial applications. He is the Father of Modern Electric Trains!Kálmán Kandó - (b. 1869, d. 1931)
Inventor/Engineer - Discovered triple phase high tension current for electric locomotion and industrial applications.  He is the Father of Modern Electric Trains!

He attended high school in Budapest, and obtained his diploma as a mechanical engineer at the Budapest Technical University. He worked in France as a junior engineer designing and developing Tesla's induction motor. András Mechwart (the Ganz factory's managing director at that time) called Kandó to return home in 1894. Shortly afterwards, Kandó designed the three-phase motor and generator series. Following these successful achievements at home he worked in Italy, later returning to Budapest to work at the Ganz factory where he became the managing director.  One of the sensations of the summer season in 1898 was a small electric train carrying the guests of a French lakeside hotel at Evian Les Bains to and fro the close-by medicinal spring. The motor wagon was supplied by the Budapest-based Ganz Factory. The "S"-shaped track was merely 300 meters long, the train ran only at a speed of 10 km/hour, yet, its novel construction aroused great interest. It was designed by a 29-year-old engineer, Kálmán Kandó, who had been already working on a project of much greater size, the electrification of the Northern-Italian Valtellina Railway... 

A total of 30 percent of this 106 km long line ran through tunnels and half of it ran along curves. For the first time in railway history, Kandó applied high-voltage, 15-period, 3-phase system for electric traction, a daring solution at that time. Kandó's brilliance in both mechanical and electric engineering allowed him to work out all the details of his concept alone.  The Valtellina line was opened on September 4, 1902 and its success earned great international recognition for Kandó. 

At the end of World War I, Kandó pointed out that railway electrification is "only one chapter in the great problems of energy management and can be tackled successfully only within this context". His research focused on creating large energy systems, in which electric current generated for lighting and industrial use, were also used for electric haulage. He worked out a revolutionary system of phase-changing haulage, whereby locomotives were powered by the standard, 50-period, single-phase alternating current used in the national energy supply system. By integrating the electric power needs of the railways, the industry and the public, Kandó managed to find the ideal solution for energy rationalisation for any country.  Kandó's invention of the phase-changing electric locomotive undoubtedly opened a new epoch in the history of railway development.

- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation
- See Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office


Janos Irinyi: Chemist - Invented safety matches!János Irinyi - (b. May 17, 1817, Nagyléta, Hungary  - d. 1895)
Chemist - Invented safety matches! 

János Irinyi was born in Nagyléta, attended middle school in Nagyvárad and later studied law in Debrecen.  He acquired his chemical knowledge at the Vienna Polytechnikum. During one of his professor's experiments, he solved the puzzle of making silent matches. After long hours of experimentation he patented his invention of silent and non-explosive matches in 1836. In the heads of the matches he mixed phosphor with lead dioxide instead of calcium chlorate. Irinyi sold his invention to a manufacturer of matches and went for a study tour abroad. He became a student at the famous Agricultural College in Berlin. After returning home he founded the first factories for matches in Pest in different parts of the city. He wrote several articles on chemistry and published his textbook for schools entitled The Elements of Chemistry.   

Irinyi played an important part in the revolution of 1848 and 49. After assisting his brother with drafting the 12 points outlining the reasons for Hungary's desire to break with Austria, Louis Kossuth (the Father of Hungarian Democracy and leader of the revolution) assigned him to direct the manufacture of guns and gunpowder, and put him in charge of supervising the national factories. After the failed revolution he was sentenced to jail. When he won freedom he retired from political life and continued his scientific work exclusively. 

In the realm of common knowledge only his association with matches is remembered. Yet Irinyi was one of the first people to spread general knowledge about the new chemistry, and played a significant part in the development of the Hungarian technical language of chemistry. 

- See Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office
- See in Hungarian: http://www.kfki.hu/chemonet/hun/mvm/irinyi/irinyi.html


Csikszentmihalyi: Renowned Psychologist - Father of "Flow Theory," former Chair of University of Chicago's Department of Psychology, and Bestselling AuthorMihály Csikszentmihályi (b. Hungary, d.)
Renowned Psychologist - Father of "Flow Theory," former Chair of University of Chicago's Department of Psychology, and Bestselling Author

Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced "ME-high CHEEK-sent-me-high-ee"), of Transylvanian descent, seeks to answer what makes "creative" people creative. His primary interests are in the study of creativity, especially in art; socialization; the evolution of social and cultural systems; and the intrinsically rewarding behavior in work and play settings. 

The Hungarian-born polymath and currently the Davidson Professor of Management at the Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California has been thinking about the meaning of happiness since a child in wartime Europe. His research and theories in the psychology of optimal experience seek to find out how creativity has been a force in our lives and have revolutionized psychology, and have been adopted in practice by national leaders such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair as well as top members of the global executive elite who run the world's major corporations. In the pages of Newsweek, President Clinton named him one of his favorite authors. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich put his work on the reading list for a political planning committee. And corporations and cultural institutions - from Volvo in Sweden to the Chicago Park District to the political leadership of Austria - have seized upon his ideas and how to apply them because his findings have much to offer anyone interested in improving his or her understanding of how people can perform optimally in every area of life.

In his bestselling book, "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience," Professor Csikszentmihalyi interviewed 91 creative people like actor Ed Asner, scientist Jonas Salk, and Senator Eugene McCarthy, to find out what makes them special. He did exhaustive analysis of the data collected and found that certain traits are common to all creative people. He explored states of "optimal experience" when people report feelings of concentration and deep enjoyment and showed that what makes experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called "flow." Professor Csikszentmihalyi explores why creative people are often seen as arrogant (even though they are not) and reveals that the idea of the tortured genius is largely a myth.  Csikszentmihalyi suggests methods for all of us to nurture these traits to explore and expand our creative potential. He argues that creativity needs to be cultivated not only in traditionally creative fields like sciences and arts, but also in business, government, and education. 

For the past twenty years he has been funded by the US Public Health Service and the Spencer Foundation for research and studies on topics related to "flow." His research has attracted much interest as can be seen in articles in Psychology Today, the New York Times and other newspapers. He is also a member of the National Academy of Education and National Academy of Sciences. He has been a Senior Fulbright Fellow and currently sits on several boards, including the Board of Advisors for the Encyclopedia Britannica. He has been on numerous TV networks and has been involved in various segments of "Nova." His other books include "Beyond Boredom and Anxiety," "The Evolving Self: A Psychology For The Third Millennium," "Creativity: Finding Flow,"and Good Business: Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning." He is also co-author of  "The Creative Vision,""The Meaning of things" and "Being Adolescent."

Trivia:

  • His book "Flow" was described on the 1993 NBC Super Bowl broadcast as the book that inspired Jimmy Johnson, then coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

- Read some his memorable quotes
- See his official Website
- Buy his books at Gurteen or see a larger selection at Amazon


Ottó Bláthy, Miksa Déri, Károly Zipernowsky
The "Great Triad"
- The Three Electrical Engineers at the Legendary Ganz Factory: Fathers of Electricity Distribution and the Transformer

It is an exceptional moment in the history of a nation and of science as well, when several of its masterminds have been able to work almost simultaneously and at the same place of work. Their names are mentioned together by historiography. The great triad of Otto Titusz Blathy, Miksa Deri, and Karoly Zipernowsky was connected by the transformer, their revolutionary invention presented in 1885. Besides the transformer, however, other joint works were produced during their years of creativity. 

In 1882 the illumination of the National Theatre was installed to the plans of Károly Zipernowsky. At the time, this was only the third theatre in the world to be illuminated by electricity (after the Savoy in London and the theatre in Brünn [Brno]). However, all had to use a local generator, as there was no method available for transporting electric power. This seriously handicapped the more widespread use of electric power, and experiments were conducted in many places to solve this problem. The first practical solution was found in Budapest, at the Ganz factory. In 1885, after one year of research and development, the Triad invented a device of two coils with a closed iron core, with variable ratio induction, which they called a transformer, the name used ever since. This device was the basis of alternative current (AC) power distribution networks. Such a network was installed at the National General Exhibition in Budapest (May to November 1885) where the system worked faultlessly without interruption. During the following decades, the Ganz factory manufactured and installed several hundred power distribution systems using their own components. In 1886 they installed the Rome-Cerchi steam power plant, the first power plant built to supply a large city with electricity. This was the very first power plant which used, on the proposal of Bláthy, AC generators to supply a common network in parallel connection. The Ganz factory produced electrical equipment for the power network of the city of Rome over several decades.

Individual portraits:

Otto Blathy1) Ottó Bláthy - (b. 1860, Tata, Hungary - 1939)
Father of the electric transformer, the tension regulator,  the watt meter, the alternating current motor, the turbogenerator and high efficiency turbogenerator.

Even as a young pupil, Blathy excelled by his affinity to Mathematics, and his teacher often called him in front of his senior school-mates to solve the problems that they had not been able to cope with. From this small town of Tata, he went to the technical university of Vienna, where he received his engineer's degree in 1882.

Ottó Titusz Bláthy was not satisfied with theory only. He discovered the practical application of the connection between the magnetic field and the excitation creating it. This led to an improved design of DC engines. From the experiments he developed a science of then unforeseeable practical benefits. In 1884, he designed an automatic mercury voltage regulator for direct-current dynamos as his first patent. In the years to come, the generators of several current-generating plants in Italy were operated by this regulator. From 1884 on, on the basis of another patent of his, high-precision watt meters were produced. These were the first instruments with which the power of alternating current could be measured for any phase shift between voltage and current. Bláthy went to work to the Ganz Works in the summer of 1883, where experiments in connection with creating a transformer had already begun. He immediately joined the work, and as early as 1885, the alternating-current transformer, the revolutionary invention of the great triad was presented; power transmission even to great distances could be solved with it. 

The new system was presented at the National Exhibition in Budapest in 1885. The entire area of the exhibition was illuminated by alternating current, distributed at 1,350 Volt primary voltage, of a frequency of 70 Hz, utilizing 1,067 incandescent lamps and 75 small shell-type transformers. It was an immense success. Bláthy soon departed from the lights of Pest, leaving for America, where he also visited the Edison Works. It was there that he observed that the parameters of the exciting coils of the machines to be produced were established on the basis of empirically set charts. Bláthy proved that these data can be arrived at by way of rigorous calculations as well, thus winning the admiration of the engineers at the factory. He did not stay in America for a long time. Work in the Ganz Works was awaiting him.

- Read more about Otto Blathy

2) Miksa Déri - (b. 1854, Bács, Hungary - 1938)
Developed A/C electric generator

Zipernowsky

Deri, Blathy, and Zipernowsky

Born in Bács, Miksa Deri obtained his diploma in hydraulic engineering in 1877 at the Technical University of Vienna. Between 1878 and 1882 he was engaged in designing of the Duna and Tisza river control systems. At the same time he studied electrotechnics. In 1882 he started working at the Ganz factory as an engineer. Later on he became the factory's director, at a time when a remarkably talented professional team worked in the factory. Along with fellow Hungarian, Zipernowsky, they developed a self-excited AC (alternating current) generator during that year, which they began manufacturing in 1883. From 1833 Miksa Déri worked in Vienna as the Austrian representative of the Ganz factory electrical department.

In 1885 jointly with Ottó Bláthy and Károly Zipernowsky, they created the transformer. Déri performed the brunt of the experimental work. From 1889 he organized and equipped the electric power station in Vienna.

Between 1898 and 1902 he worked on his compensated DC machine. Two years later he designed the repulsion motor which was later named after him. Déri's repulsion motor filled up an important gap in equipping lifts, namely, no lift motor had worked safely until then. These brush-type motors were mass-produced and used all over the world.

Zipernovszky3) Károly Zipernowsky - (b. 1853, d. 1942)
A/C electronics pioneer! Founder of heavy-current electrical engineering

Born in Vienna, he completed his studies in Budapest. During his Technical University years he gave many lectures on the subject of electronics. In 1878 András Mechwart, the Ganz factory's managing director entrusted him with organizing their electricity department. Since Ganz was the first factory in Hungary engaged in electricity, it thus became his task to develop the power industry in Hungary. Under Zipernowsky's leadership the factory soon became the pioneer in AC electronics. In 1883 the National Theatre of Budapest was fitted with lights by the Ganz company: this was the first alternating current, incandescent lighting system in Hungary (the third theatre in the world). It is worth mentioning that one of their AC generators, the "giant steam lighting machine", illuminated the Keleti Railway Station for thirty years.

In the 1880s scientists were often engaged in working on the distribution of electric light. Edison had solved the problem of carrying light economically to short distances with DC (direct current). Historical credit is due to Zipernowsky and his colleagues for developing the economical transmission and distribution of light to long distances. In 1889 he developed with Miksa Déri and Ottó Bláthy the transformer and the AC (alternate current ) energy distribution system based on transformers connected in parallel shunt. It should also be mentioned that AC or DC was not a settled question from the start. Edison, who backed DC, was proved wrong, the young Hungarian engineers were right. The state of the art electric equipment they produced was admired by the trade all over the world. (Western Electrician, Chicago, May 25th, 1889.)

In 1893 Zipernowsky acquired the position of lecturer in the department of power electronics at the Technical University, and became a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. From 1905 he was active as the president of the Hungarian Electronic Association.

- Read more about Karoly Zipernowsky.
- See "Innovators and Innovations"


Janos Kabay: First to isolate morphine directly from the plantJános Kabay
First to isolate morphine directly from the plant

His patent, of worldwide significance, still serves up to the present day as the basis for the industrial process used throughout the world. By this process the opiate alkaloids are extracted from the dry capsules of the mature poppy (Papaver somniferum) plant (poppy straw). Kabay's breakthrough in 1928 produced a commercially feasible morphine extraction process. 

During the Second World War, poppy straw processing began under German control as a source of opium during the Allied blockade. Since then, refinements to extraction techniques, and agricultural development have greatly increased yields, so that today more than 50 per cent of the world's legal annual morphine demand of about 230 tons is derived from this source which, in some countries such as Australia, is a highly mechanized agricultural procedure.

Janos Kabay: First to isolate morphine directly from the plantThe government of Tasmania acknowledged his impact on Australian agriculture with a plaque located atVictoria Parade, Poppy Memorial, Devonport, 7310. The Inscription reads: "Janos Kabay. This plaque, erected by the Tasmanian Government, Poppy industry and growers, to commemorate the scientific achievements of Janos Kabay, the Hungarian pharmacist, was unveiled on 29 January, 1986, by the Hungarian Charge D`Affaires, A.I. in Australia, Mr Pal Ipper, to mark the 50th anniversary of Janos Kabay`s death. Janos Kabay invented and developed the process used to extract morphine directly for the poppy straw. The Tasmanian poppy industry is based on further developments of this process." Present at the unveiling were John Kabay and Ilona Oltvanyi, the son and daughter of Janos Kabay. There is also a statue of János Kabay at Tiszavasvári.

- Read, "Opium: A History"
- See Wikipedia
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime


Ignac Semmelweis - Physician - "The Mothers' Savior" - Discovered Cause of Puerperal FeverIgnác (Ignaz or Ignac) Fülöp Semmelweis (b. 1818, Buda, d. 1865, Vienna)
Physician - "The Mothers' Savior"  - Discovered Cause of Puerperal Fever in 1847. Pioneer of antiseptic policy.

Made the first effective attack on bacteria, and discovered the cause of puerperal fever, which was killing thousands of mothers. Semmelweis insisted that doctors disenfect their hands before childbirth. Though the death rate fell from 12% to 1.5%, the Austrian doctors were offended by his suggestions (and the fact that he was a Hungarian in Vienna during the anti-Hapsburg revolution) and sent him back to Budapest. Ironically, he too, fell to puerperal fever due to an accidental infection. Semmelweis's practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory. In 1865, a nervous breakdown (or possibly Alzheimer's) landed him in an asylum, where Semmelweis died of "injuries," at age 47. The so-called Semmelweis reflex — a metaphor for a certain type of human behaviour characterized by reflex-like rejection of new knowledge because it contradicts entrenched norms, beliefs or paradigms — is named after Semmelweis, whose perfectly reasonable hand-washing suggestions were ridiculed and rejected by his contemporaries.

Other legacies of Semmelweis include:

  • Semmelweis is now recognized as a pioneer of antiseptic policy
  • Semmelweis University, a university for medicine and health-related disciplines (located in Budapest, Hungary)
  • The Semmelweis Orvostörténeti Múzeum (Semmelweis Medical History Museum) is located in the former home of Semmelweis
  • The Semmelweis Klinik, a hospital for women located in Vienna, Austria
  • In 2008 Semmelweis was selected as the motif for an Austrian commemorative coin

Sir William Sinclair writes, "It is the doctrine of Semmelweis which lies at the foundation of all our practical work today."

- See Wikipedia


David Schwartz Blimp / Airship / ZeppelinDávid Schwartz (b. 1845, d. 1897)
Inventor, Wood Trader - Father of the Dirigible Air Ship or Zeppelin

The Hungarian inventor of the dirigible airship was not an engineer, not even a technician. He was a wood trader. Like many technically interested people in those years, he became increasingly fascinated by aviation, the great human adventure of the late 19th century.  Schwartz studied the airship and came up with a novel idea. With the very thin aluminum he used for insulating the balloon, the aluminum skeleton, and the propellers at the sides of the basket, he set the course for the airship's future development.  He submitted his design to the Austro-Hungarian Defense Ministry in Vienna, which classified the proposal as "inextricable" and discarded the idea. Schwartz invested all his money in further tests. 

The Prussians recognized the significance of the invention (it used aluminum, the exciting new material) and financed the making of the new airship.  The trial flight in October, 1895, did not succeed, because of the poor quality gas used for the filling of the balloon. Schwartz, who by now had become obsessed with his idea, began to look for the proper gas. The frustration and the ceaseless pursuit of additional funding, undermined Schwartz's health. He died on January 11, 1897. 

The Prussian Defense Ministry continued tests with his airship. The first launch of the world's thus far largest capacity, 47.5 meter long, cigar-shaped airship weighting 3500 kg took place on November 3, 1897.  The widow of Dávid Schwartz who lived in great poverty after his death sold all the patent rights to Graf Zeppelin for 15 thousand Deutschmarks....and two years later the first "Zeppelin" airship rose from Lake Constance... and 25 years later Captain Eckener crossed the Atlantic in 80 hours... Zeppelin had gained a brilliant victory, but the name of the man who conceived it technically has sunk into oblivion.

See Hungarians in the History of Transportation


Bishop Faustus Verancsics: Invented the air turbine, one of the most famous engineers in the Middle AgesBishop Faustus Verancsics (b. Dalmatia 1551 - 1617), 
Invented the air turbine, one of the most famous engineers in the Middle Ages

He was educated in Pozsony, Hungary (now Bratislava after Czech annexation) in the home of his uncle, Antal Verancsics, the Archbishop of Esztergom. After studying at the university in Padua, he returned to Pozsony to devote himself to the study of scientific problems. He was given the captainship of the castle of Veszprém, in western Hungary, before becoming the Emperor Rudolf's secretary for Hungarian affairs. Later he became a priest and ultimately the Bishop of Csanád. In the last one and a half decades of his life he went to Italy, where he became a monk. He lived in Rome and Venice and his writings were published there. He compiled a five-language dictionary—Latin, Italian, German, Croatian, Hungarian—which was published in 1595. 

All his life he pursued solutions for technical problems, thus developing several new ideas and inventions. In 1616 he published Machinć Novć, which was a summary of his ideas and a significant work in the history of science. The book describes more than sixty inventions, forty-nine of them with detailed illustrations. His inventions cover a wide range: grinders, windmills, tide-mill, compacting machine, twelve variations of bridge structures, the suspension-bridge, the parachute (closer to the present paraglider), a dredger, a rope-weaving machine, a steel spring and friction brake for coaches.

- See more in Hungarian at Technical History


Banki: Engineers: Invented the carburetor and dual evaporationDonát Bánki / János Csonka - (1859 - 1922) (1852-1939)
carbEngineers: Invented the carburetor and dual evaporation

Until 1893, there had been many problems with the ignition of petrol engines due to uneven mixing of gases: the device, used to vaporize gasoline and mix it with the air, could not produce the precise mixing proportions. The carburetor (on the right) invented by Banki and Csonka immediately eliminated these problems. As so many times in technical history, the invention was conceived through a freak of fortune. 

Janos Csonka: Engineers: Invented the carburetor and dual evaporation One evening, Banki walked home from the Technical University when he saw a flower-girl sprinkling water on her flowers with a mouth-blown spray. This sight led him to one of the most revolutionary ideas of engineering.  Banki and Csonka suggested that the fuel should be atomized into small particles and mixed with air in the right proportion before feeding it into the combustion engine. In their patent description submitted on February 11, 1893, they wrote: "...in our engine no petrol pump is needed for fuel feeding, as the petrol  necessary for filling each cylinder will be carried in by the air sucked into the engine..." This was the first carburetor in the world and ever since billions of engines, cars, power-boats, motor bicycles and aircraft over the world have used carburetors designed according to Banki's and Csonka's theory. Unfortunately, the credit for the invention of the carburetor is usually given to the German Maybach, although his patent was submitted half a year later. In 1898 Banki and Csonka split. Bánki focused his research on improving his other invention, water-injection engines.

Csonka AutomobileIn 1898 he invented the high compression Bánki-engine with a dual-carburettor (for evaporating fuel and water). This engine won an award at the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. Dual evaporation has been in use ever since. 

Csonka (seen in his hand-made car on the right from 1909) concentrated on automobiles. In 1904, the Hungarian Post Office announced an international tender for the purchase of 8 mail vans. The tender was won by Csonka's original, four-cylinder car, which started its 8-day, 2000-kilometre trial run on May 31, 1905. This date is considered the birth of Hungarian automobile manufacturing. 

- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office
- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!


Jeno Fejes: Engineer, Inventor - first in the world who submitted patents for manufacturing automobile parts by cold-forming, pressing, torch or spot-welding.Jenö Fejes (1877-1952) 
Engineer, Inventor - first in the world who submitted patents for manufacturing automobile parts by cold-forming, pressing, torch or spot-welding.

Many Hungarian engineers and researchers played a significant role in the development of automobiles. One of them, Jeno Fejes, an unfairly forgotten designer, was the first in the world who submitted patents for manufacturing automobile parts by cold-forming, pressing, torch- or spot-welding. Soon after graduation, from 1902, Fejes was employed in the Westinghouse factory in France. The factory's car, designed by Fejes, won first prize at the Coup de la Presse race in 1907.  From 1911 Fejes worked as constructor in the Mátyásföld plant of the Hungarian General Engineering Co. 

He recognized that certain problems with the engines, stemming from casting difficulties or overweight, could be avoided if engines were constructed not using the cumbersome and unreliable casting techniques. The fast development of welding and pressing techniques helped to solve this problem.  His first patent, "Extrusion of cylinder heads of combustion engines", was submitted on September 20, 1921. A year later this was followed by another patent application, "Vehicle chassis for automobiles and its manufacturing process." 

Fejes replaced all cast and heavy pressed parts with cold-formed parts made of iron and steel plates. His other patents covered the manufacturing of the engine-house, the steering gear, the rear axle and the motor block. Cold forming allowed the use of steel plates of much smaller thickness than that of casts and thus the dead-weight of vehicles designed by Fejes was 30 to 35 percent lighter than cars manufactured using traditional methods. Another advantage of the plated engine was that on impacts, it dented and did not rupture as easily as cast engines.  In 1922 Fejes established a company in Hungary to implement his patents and, in 1927, he set up "The Fejes Patents Syndicate Ltd." in England. After a successful pilot run, another company, Ascot Motor and Manufacturing Co. Ltd. was created with a founding capital of 400,000 pounds sterling.  However, Austin, then a leader in the UK car market, was afraid of Ascot spoiling the market with its low-cost cars and used its influence as a share-holder in the company to thwart the launching of the series production.  Fejes' inventions were ahead of their time: They were put into practice only from the 1970's.

- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or
- Hungarian Inventors


Lorand Eotvos: Mathematician - Developed the method and tool to measure gravity: His inventions made it possible to explore for natural resources like oil, coal, and different oresBaron Loránd Eötvös - (b. 7/1848 - 4/1919) 
Mathematician - Developed the method and tool to measure gravity: His inventions made it possible to explore for natural resources like oil, coal, and different ores

Scientific literature and usage bears ample evidence of his inventions: the Eötvös Law of Capillarity; the Eötvös Unit of Gravitation (roughly one-billionth of a gram); the Eötvös Gravitational Torsion Balance of almost incredible sensitivity; the Eötvös Effect: and inventions of instruments for measuring terrestrial magnetism for decades to come. The torsion balance made it possible to explore for natural resources like oil, coal, and different ores. Eötvös also recognized the correlation between surface tension and molecular weights of liquids measured at various temperatures. This led to the Law of Eötvös which was declared by Einstein to be one of the pillars of his theory of relativity and was applied in his "theory of equivalence."

 See more at St. Andrew's Archive: Baron Loránd Eötvös


Sandor Csoma: Explorer and Scholar "Father of Tibetan Studies and Buddhist Culture" Walked from Hungary to Tibet and presented the world with the first Tibetan dictionary and grammar and became a Buddhist Saint!Sándor Kőrösi Csoma - (b. 4/4/1784, Kőrös, Transylvania, Hungary (annexed by Rumania)- d. 4/11/1842, Darjeeling) 
Explorer and Scholar "Father of Tibetan Studies and Buddhist Culture" Walked from Hungary to Tibet and presented the world with the first Tibetan dictionary and grammar and became a Buddhist Saint! 

Awareness of the Hungarians' oriental origin never fell into oblivion, and questions regarding the history of the people and the language focused the attention of scholars toward Asia as a matter of course. First to set off toward the Orient was the legendary and world-famous Hungarian orientalist Alexander Csoma Korosi also known as Alexander Csoma de Koros. Born of a poor Szekler family, he began his studies as a servant and student at the college of Nagyenyed in Transylvania. From 1815, he pursued oriental linguistic studies at the University of Göttingen in Germany on an English scholarship. Here the determination matured in him to leave for Asia on foot and explore the ancient homeland of the Hungarians. He mastered the Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Bengali languages. During his travels starting in 1819 he reached India through Iran and Afghanistan. In Western Tibet, encouraged by the English traveller and scholar W. Moorcroft, his attention turned toward researching the Tibetan language.

In his first three visits to Tibet he spent more than five years in various monasteries conducting a monk-like existence. He was the one to discover that the holy scriptures of Buddhism had not been irretrievably lost, as had been thought earlier on, but were retained in Tibetan translation. He was the first to outline in 1836-39 the content of the 325-volume Tibetan Buddhist canon, Kandjur ('The translation of Buddha's tenets') and Tandjur ('Translations of Explanations') and the life of Buddha who had founded a religion. His articles promoted research into Buddhism, and Schopenhauer learned from his studies about Buddhism, which were to exert a decisive influence on him. After five years, he emerged with the world's first Tibetan dictionary (containing 40,000 words) and grammar book which were published in an English edition in 1843. Without any bias we can state that Alexander Csoma Korösi is a great founding father of not only Tibetan studies but that of Buddhist culture as well.

Tragically, on his fourth journey to Tibet, having at last obtained some information about the Yougar people (a race possibly related to the Magyars), he was fatally struck with malaria and died in Darjeeling without finishing his long search. Korosi-Csoma is buried in Darjeeling, his grave marked by a monument erected jointly in 1910 by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Transylvanian village of Csomakőrös and the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

There can't be many Europeans whom Buddhists revere as a saint but the Hungarian Sándor Csoma Kőrösi is one. His grave, which lies at the foot of the Himalayas, is a place of pilgrimage. When the Dalai Lama visited Hungary he also spoke of Korosi as being a saint, and if anybody is qualified to make a pronouncement on this subject it is his Holiness. Today there stands a statue of Csoma de Koros at the Buddhist Unversity of Japan, where he sits in the lotus position, befitting the bodhisattva he had been declared in 1933.

Trivia:

  • Walked from Hungary to Tibet and learned 17 languages along the way

  • Also known as Skander Beg the Armenian, or Phyi-glin-gi-grwa-pa (Tibetan for 'foreign pupil')

  • Ushered in the "New Age" by making Buddhism and Tibetan culture accessible to the west

  • His tomb has been declared a protected monument by the Government of India and is one of the landmarks of Darjeeling

- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!
- See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies
- Read a great summary and buy the amazing book, The Hungarian Who Walked to Heaven, by Edward Fox
- See Profiles of Tibetan Buddhists


József László Bíró - (b. 1899, d. 1985) Inventor - Developed the Ballpoint Pen AND the Automatic Gearbox for Automobiles.József László Bíró - (b. 1899, d. 1985) 
Biro first patented the "ball point" pen in 1938. In 1940 he and his brother ran away from Hungary to Argentina where, in 1943, he patented his pen again and formed Biro Pens of Argentina (in fact, in Argentina the ball pen is known as birome seen here)Inventor - Developed the Ballpoint Pen AND the Automatic Gearbox for Automobiles.

The Ball Point Pen:
A journalist, magazine publisher, sculptor, and painter in Budapest, Laszlo Biro noticed, during a visit to a printer's, how quickly the printer's ink dried. It occurred to him that this fast-drying ink would work well in a fountain pen. This dense ink, however, would not flow through a pen. Therefore, Biro decided to replace the metal writing nib of his pen with a slim ball bearing. As the pen moved across the paper, the ball turned and suctioned ink from the reservoir, which then transferred it to the paper. The "Biro" was born.

Biro first patented the "ball point" pen in 1938. In 1940 he and his brother ran away from Hungary to Argentina where, in 1943, he patented his pen again and formed Biro Pens of ArgentinaBiro first patented the "ball point" pen in 1938. In 1940 he and his brother ran away from Hungary to Argentina where, in 1943, he patented his pen again and formed Biro Pens of Argentina (in fact, in Argentina the ball pen is known as birome seen here to the right). A clerk of the British government, Henry Martin, who was, by chance, at that time in Argentina, was interested in the fact that Biro's pen wrote at any altitude above sea level, and therefore because it was not affected by air pressure or other atmospheric conditions, it immediately occurred to him to make it available to navigators in airplanes.

The British government bought the patent and in 1944 a pen under the brand name Biro was produced for the Royal Air Force. Their successful performance for the Air Force brought the Biro pens into the limelight. Biro had neglected to get a U.S. patent for his pen and so even with the ending of World War II, another battle was just beginning.

The U.S. Department of State sent specifications to several American pen manufacturers asking them to develop a similar pen. In an attempt to corner the market, the Eberhard Faber Company paid the Biro brothers $500,000 for the rights to manufacture their ballpoint pen in the United States. Eberhard Faber later sold its rights to the Eversharp Company. The first great commercial success for the ballpoint pen came on an October morning in 1945 when a Crowd of over 5,000 people jammed the entrance of New York's Gimbel's Department Store. The day before, Gimbel's had taken out a full-page ad in the New York Times promoting the first sale of ballpoints in the United States. The ad described the new pen as a "fantastic... miraculous fountain pen ... guaranteed to write for two years without refilling!" On that first day of sales, Gimbel's sold out its entire stock of 10,000 pens-at $12.50 each!

The Automatic Gearbox:
He bought a red Bugatti car one day, but found the clutch mechanism too clumsy and began to muse about an automatic solution. After one year of experiments, he made and patented his "automatic gear-box". For its mass production Bíró did not have enough capital and decided to sell the patent. The German subsidiary of General Motors requested him to introduce the patent in Berlin. To prove his invention's reliability, Bíró installed it on his own 350-CC combination motor bicycle, had its gear box sealed by the Automobile Club and with a passenger in the side car drove 1000 kilometres to Berlin, over hill and dale, without any fault. In Berlin he made four successful test drive. GM's draft contract offered him half percent of the price of each unit sold and a monthly USD 200 advance for five years. This latter secured him an easy life for a while, but the license fee was never paid, as, for commercial reasons, the American company suppressed the patent and sank it to the bottom of a filing cabinet. 

Trivia:

  • In Argentina, "Inventors’ Day" is celebrated on Biro's birthday
  • In the UK, the ballpoint pen is known as the "Biro" (by-row)

- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation or
- A Brief History of Writing Instruments or
- Read more about the Ball Point Pen
- See Wikipedia


Paul Selényi (b. 11/17/1884, Dunaadony - d. 3/21/1954, Budapest) Physicist and Father of Electrostatics / Photoconductivity Pioneer - first to record images with an electrostatic marking process: the foundation of Carlson's Xerography!Paul Selényi (b. 11/17/1884, Dunaadony - d. 3/21/1954, Budapest)
Physicist and Father of Electrostatics / Photoconductivity Pioneer - first to record images with an electrostatic marking process: the foundation of Carlson's Xerography!

Pál Selényi was one of the greatest and most versatile researchers of Hungarian experimental physics. He studied physics and mathematics at the Budapest University. After finishing his studies he started to work for the newly established Applied Physics Department of the University. In his early works he was engaged in studying the nature of light. Selényi was a physicist with great technological interest. He worked for various companies, e.g. for the development laboratory of the Tungsram Ltd. He published more than hundred articles in the field of optics, vacuum technology, photometry and electrography, studied and developed photocells, seleniumdiodes and photoelements. His pioneering work in electrostatic picture recording formed the basis of xerography. In fact Selényi published and patented several fundamental idea of electrography and produced better quality electrografic copies well before C. F. Carlson to whom the invention of electric recording is ascribed to. 

Selenyi was the first to record images with an electrostatic marking process in which a modulated ion source was scanned over an insulating layer to form an electrostatic image that was subsequently developed with powder. Selenyi coined the term "electrography" for his electrostatic imaging processed he invented in the 1920's. Carlson's invention was heavily influenced by the earlier work of Paul SelenyiSelenyi was the first to record images with an electrostatic marking process in which a modulated ion source was scanned over an insulating layer to form an electrostatic image that was subsequently developed with powder. Selenyi coined the term "electrography" for his electrostatic imaging processed he invented in the 1920's. Carlson's invention was heavily influenced by the earlier work of Paul Selenyi. Carlson's insight was to use a photoconductive material to produce an electrostatic image that is then developed with charged, pigmented powder. Carlson built a prototype of a copying machine, but was unsuccessful in attracting the interest of large corporations. In 1944, Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio began work on the process where key advances were made in materials and processes. This led to the introduction of the highly successful Xerox 914 plain paper copier in 1959. 

Zworykin, television pioneer, wrote: 

"I recollect with great pleasure my visit during the next few days to the Tungsram Laboratories. It was surprising to me to find in a country as small as Hungary such a well-equipped laboratory and so much advanced work in electronics. One of the laboratories which impressed me particularly was that of Dr. Selenyi, who showed me a method of storing the image on used movie film by electrostatic charging with an electron beam transmitted by a thin-glass window on a cathode-ray tube. He was hoping to use this method for a large-screen television projection picture. As far as I know, he was not able to translate this idea into practice. However, the idea itself survived and many years later was used in modern copying machines." (p. 105 from Chapter 8 - Pre-War World-Wide Television Effort, Zworykin’s European Travels 1935-1939)

- Read more about his work at Optics by Hungarians
- Read about Electrostatics
- See Wikipedia
- See This Month in Physics History, October 22, 1938: "Invention of Xerography"
- A magyarországi fizika története


Egon OrowanEgon Orowan (Orován) (b. 8/2/1901, Budapest, d. 8/3/1989, Cambridge, MA)
Applied Physicist

Applied physics reached world standards in northern Budapest, where the Tungsram Company was created (1896). The name of this light bulb factory originates from tungsten (wolfram), the best resistant metal which was patented by Sándor Just and Ferenc Hanaman (1903), as the glowing fiber in light bulbs, instead of Edison's fragile carbon fibers. Tungsten (and Tungsram) made electric incandescent lamps long-lasting, so that the light bulb could become an everyday item. With Michael Polányi he was responsible for the introduction of the crystal dislocation into physics as the essential mediator of plastic deformation. The Tungsram employees Dennis Gabor, Egon Orowan, and Michael Polányi later became fellows of the Royal Society. 

Though he occasionally spoke at meetings concerned with science and technology policy, and wrote letters to the press on a number of topics, he was an essentially private person and left no biographical notes. A letter from Professor László Bartha, Director of the Research Institute for Technical Physics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, says that Orowan worked with the Tungsram Research Laboratory between 1936-1939, under the supervision of Dr. Imre Bródy. According to this letter, Bródy invented the krypton-filled light bulb. With the help of Mihály (Michael) Polanyi, he developed a new process for extracting krypton from air. Bartha’s letter says that “Orowan was the person, who helped him to verify the large scale separation of krypton from air by fractioned distillation of liquid air. He played an important role at the installation of a pilot plant for krypton manufacturing in a small town—Ajka—about 80 miles from Budapest.

While working on plasticity and fractures in solids, Orowan studied high resolution photographs brought back by the Apollo missions and proved that the craters on the Moon are not products of lunar volcanism but had been created by impacts of meteors from outside. He died in the Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 3 August 1989, a day after his 87th birthday. He is buried in the Mount Auburn Cemetery.

M.I.T. has an award named The Egon Orowan Award for Outstanding Teaching.

- Read a detailed biography and obituary at the National Academy Press
- In Hungarian with a forward by Theodore Karman, father of US Aerospace
- Read about him and his place among the great Hungarian Physicists
- National Academy of Sciences: Egon Orowan (Prepared as a Biographical Memoir for the Royal Society of London and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.)


Laszlo Lovasz: Renowned Yale University Senior Faculty Mathematician, Microsoft Senior Researcher, Computer Scientist: 1999 Wolf Prize WinnerLaszlo Lovasz (b. 3/9/1948, Budapest)
Renowned Yale University Senior Faculty Mathematician, Microsoft Senior Researcher, Computer Scientist: 1999 Wolf Prize Winner

Lászlo Lovász is a renowned leader in the field of discrete mathematics, an area quickly becoming one of the most important areas of mathematical research, with applications to cryptography, linear programming, coding theory and the theory of computing. Dr. Lovász received his Ph.D. from the prestigious Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest in 1970. Within a 5 years, he held the Chair of Geometry at the University of Szeged from 1975-1982. In 1983 he was back to his alma mater, this time as Chair of Computer Science at the Eotvos Lorand University, a post he held for 10 years until 1993 when he joined Yale faculty. 

His awards include the George Polya Prize of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (1979), the Ray D. Fulkerson Prize of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Programming Society (1982) and the Brouwer Medal of the Dutch Mathematical Society (1993). He is a recipient of the 1999 Wolf Prize and the Godel Prize for the top paper in Computer Science. 

He is editor-in-chief of Combinatorica and editor of 12 other Journals. He has written 4 research monographs and 3 textbooks, and about 200 research papers. Some of his major works include: Combinatorial Problems and Exercises (1979), Matching Theory (M. D. Plummerrel, 1986), An Algorithmic Theory of Numbers, Graphs and Convexity (1987), Geometric Algorithms and Combinatorial Optimization (M. Grötschellel, A. Schvijverrel, 1988). He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and three other Academies.

He is also a Senior Researcher in the Theory Group at Microsoft Corporation. He is married with 4 children.

Trivia:

- Buy his books for a little "light" reading on Amazon
- Read some of his papers and download presentations on his personal Microsoft site
- Read about his Wolf Prize acceptance speech (in Hungarian)


Peter Lax: Renowned and Prolific Applied Mathematician and "one of the greatest figures in pure and applied mathematics of our times." 1987 Wolf Prize WinnerPeter Lax (b. 1926)
Renowned and Prolific Applied Mathematician
and "one of the greatest figures in pure and applied mathematics of our times." 1987 Wolf Prize Winner

Peter Lax is one of the greatest figures in pure and applied mathematics of our times. His work has been seminal and extraordinarily influential in almost all areas of mathematics and its applications where differential equations are involved, such as integrable systems, fluid dynamics and shock waves, solitonic physics, hyperbolic conservation laws, and so on. His contributions to mathematical and scientific computing are very significant.

In 1970, Professor Lax risked life and limb to help prevent a bomb from destroying the NYU computer center. In August 2000, he will be one of about 30 plenary speakers at the AMS meeting in Los Angeles, Mathematical Challenges of the 21st Century. Professor Lax's work has been recognized by many honors and awards. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1986, shared the Wolf Prize in 1987, the Chauvenet Prize for Mathematics, and shared the American Mathematical Society's Steele Prize in 1992.

He is a past president of the American Mathematical Society, and a former Director of the Courant Institute, and past member of the National Science Board. He worked on the Manhattan Project with many of his fellow Hungarians, is a member of the Los Alamos Lab, and chaired the committee convened by the National Science Board to study Large Scale Computing in Science & Mathematics, a pioneering effort (well-known as the Lax Report). Professor Lax continues to be a  leading and innovative force in mathematics and a tireless reformer of mathematics education. He is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at New York University's Courant Institute.

- Buy his books at Barnes and Noble


Csaba Horvath: Renowned Professor of Chemical Engineering at Yale. Father of high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)Csaba Horváth (b. Szolnok, Hungary, d. 4/13/2004, New Haven, Connecticut)
Renowned Professor of Chemical Engineering at Yale. Father of high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC)

The American Chemical Society lists Prof. Csaba Horváth among greats like Crick and Watson, Linus Pauling, Pierre and Marie Curie, and Ernest Rutherford, individuals who have contributed most to the development of chemistry in the 20th century. Csaba Horváth, along with J. Calvin Giddings and J.F.K. Huber, had come up with the concept of the first HPLC instruments.

In the mid-1960s, Horváth became the first scientist to design, construct, and demonstrate molecular separations using high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), which has become a multi-billion-dollar business. The technique made possible quantitative analysis of complex biological mixtures and allowed advances in the areas of biomedicine, pharmacology, and biotechnology.

Born in Szolnok, Hungary, Horváth graduated with a chemical engineering degree from the Technical University in Budapest in 1952. Because of Soviet repression, he immigrated to Germany in 1956 and joined Farbwerke Hoechst AG in Frankfurt am Main, where he performed research and development work on the surface chemistry of organic dyes. In 1961, Horváth left industry to attend Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, where he earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry (magna cum laude) in 1963. In February 2004, Prof. Csaba Horváth was elected to the National Academy of  Engineering "For pioneering the concept and the reduction to practice of high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and for leadership in the development of bioanalytical techniques."

- See his site at Yale University


Lord Baden and Count Samuel Teleki: Explorer! Led the famous East-Africa ExpeditionCount Samuel Teleki - (1854 - 1916) 
Explorer! Led the famous East-Africa Expedition

In 1886, the Hungarian count Samuel Teleki von Szék, "a jovial Hungarian aristocrat of immense wealth," accepted a suggestion from his friend and benefactor, prince Rudolf, son of the Austro-Hungarian emperor Franz Josef I, to turn the safari he was planning into a journey of exploration of the territories north of Lake Baringo, beyond where Thomson had set foot. And so he did. Accompanied by lieutenant Ludwig von Höhnel (1856-1942), Teleki set on his way, being the first to climb Mount Kenya to later head on northwards and discover in 1888 the last of the Great Lakes, which he named after his friend the prince, and which we know today by the name of the tribe that inhabits its shores, Turkana. Teleki's and von Höhnel's journey also unveiled a smaller lake, Stefanie, south of Ethiopia, re-named later as Chew Bahir.

Teleki SamuelLake Turkana, a 2,500 square mile stretch of water, is alkaline, barely drinkable, and capricious. Sometimes it is calm and unruffled, often it is turbulent with an impression of malevolence, from a distance however it always stretches away peacefully and it's shimmering surface sometimes takes on the colour of Jade, and thus was aptly named the Jade Sea by Count Teleki in 1888. Strong winds blow constantly, temperatures soar well above 100F, and movements in the earth's surface are continually throwing up exposed sedimentary layers, many of which have preserved pre-historic fossils in a remarkably good state.

"The scenery became more and more dreary as we advanced.  The barren ground was strewn with gleaming, chiefly red and green volcanic debris, pumice stone, huge blocks of blistered lava and here and there pieces of wood."   Samuel Teleki, 1888

Count Teleki's father, also Samuel (b. Gernyeszeg, 1739, d. Vienna, 1822), was Lord Chancellor of Transylvania at the end of 18th century. He founded the Teleki library in Marosvásárhely, (renamed Tirgu Mures after Rumanian annexation in 1920) which holds more than 200,000 priceless volumes 40,000 of which from his personal collection. This "Bibliotheca Telekiana,"one of the first Hungarian public libraries, opened in 1802.

Trivia:

  • The giant Lobelia plants found in the Afro-alpine belt of Mt Kenya are named Lobelia Telekii, after Count Samuel Teleki, the first white man to reach the alpine zone.

- Read more about the exploration of Kenya (1883-1892)
- Read about his expedition in Hungarian


Béla Barényi (b. 1907, Hirtenberg, Austria, d. 1997, Sindelfingen, Germany) Engineer, Auto Safety Pioneer - Father of the Volkswagen Beetle, Passive Safety, Occupant Safety Cell, Collapsible Steering System, AND the Seat Belt!In his student days he already thought about the "future people's car". Sketches he made in 1924-25 prove that he was the intellectual father of the "people's car" or "Volkswagen". This would be of particular significance almost twenty years later.Béla Barényi (b. 1907, Hirtenberg, Austria-Hungary, d. 1997, Sindelfingen, Germany)
Engineer, Auto Safety Pioneer - Father of the Volkswagen Beetle, Passive Safety, Occupant Safety Cell, the "Crumple Zone," Collapsible Steering System, Crash Testing, AND the Seat Belt! Has over 2500 partents!

Bela Barenyi completed his studies at the Technikum in Vienna. His father was an Colonel in the Austro-Hungarian Military and his mother from one of the wealthiest Austrian families. When Pozsony became part of the new "Czechslovakia" in 1920, his family took Czechoslovak citizenship. In his student days he already thought about the "future people's car". Sketches he made in 1924-25 prove that he was the intellectual father of the "people's car" or "Volkswagen". This would be of particular significance almost twenty years later as the famous Volkswagen Beetle hit production lines. Because Porsche was later credited with the invention (1938), Famous HungariansFamous HungariansBerényi took legal action in 1955. The German Courts and the State Patent Office in Mannheim acknowledged that Barényi had invented the concept and the main components of the Volkswagen. Barényi only asked for 1DM (one German Mark) as compensation.

From 1939 to 1974 he worked for Daimler-Benz, heading the strategic planning department for a significant period. Several of his inventions were decades ahead of their time. Passive safety was one of these ideas. Out of his 2500 inventions for the automobile industry, dividing cars into three collision zones was the most significant one (1951). The rigid passenger cell is enclosed by deformable front and rear ends (crumple zones) which absorb the impact of collision. In order to mass-produce his design he had to replace the rigid undercarriage with a floor plate, patented in 1943. Since 1959, Daimler Benz (and today every automobile company in the world) manufactures cars - acknowledged for their safety worldwide - based on Barényi's design. Crash tests are also associated with his name.

Bela Barenyi retired in 1974. Barényi's inventions completely changed the world's automobile production. In recognition of his achievements he was admitted to the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1994, the single greatest honor in the motor vehicle industry. His ideas saved the lives of millions.

Trivia:

  • A 1993 Mercedes-Benz advertisement featuring Barenyi’s image proudly stated: “No one in the world has given more thought to car safety than this man.”

- See "Bela Barenyi, The Life Saver" at Mercedes Benz
- See the Automotive Hall of Fame
- See Bela Barenyi
- See Wikipedia


Ányos Jedlik (b. 1800, Szimõ in the county of Komárom [Komarno today after annexation by Slovakia] d. 1895) Benedictine Priest, Engineer, Physicist, Inventor - Father of the DynamoÁnyos Jedlik (b. 1800, Szimő [today Zemné, Slovakia after annexation in 1921] d. 1895)
Benedictine Priest, Engineer, Physicist, Inventor - Father of the Dynamo and Electric Motor

Though he preceded his contemporaries in his scientific work, he did not speak about his most important invention, his prototype dynamo, until 1856; it was not until 1861 that he mentioned it in writing in list of inventory of the university. Although that document might serve as a proof of Jedlik's status as the originator, the invention of the dynamo is linked to Siemens' name because Jedlik's invention did not rise to notice at that time.

Jedlik's education began at Nagyszombat and Pozsony (Bratislava today after Slovak annexation) high schools. In 1817 he became a Benedictine and from that time continued his studies at the schools of that order. In 1827 he started experimenting with electromagnetic rotating devices which he called "lightning-magnetic self-rotor" (approximate translation). In 1829 he constructed the first rotating machine based on the electromagnetic impulse, which was the predecessor of the DC motor.

Famous HungariansHe lectured at Benedictine schools up to 1839, then for 40 years at the Budapest University of Sciences department of physics-mechanics. In 1845 he began teaching his pupils in Hungarian in lieu of Latin. Through his textbook he is regarded as one of the establishers of Hungarian vocabulary in physics. He became the dean of the faculty of arts in 1848, and by 1863 he was rector of the University.  From 1858 he was a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and from 1873 an honorary member. 

In the 1850s he conducted optical and wave mechanical experiments, and at the beginning of the 1860s he constructed an excellent optical grate. Ányos Jedlik's best known invention is the principle of self-excitement. His journal records in 1859 that he discovered the principle of self-ignition and the fact that a remnant magnetic force in the core was sufficient for starting the process. In 1861 he constructed a "single-pole electric starter", which exploited the principle of self-ignition. His machine was a unipolar generator with no brushes. With the single pole electric starter, he formulated the concept of the dynamo (seen here) at least 6 years prior to Siemens and Wheatstone. Jedlik also recognized that when electricity was connected to the device, it became an electric motor.  In 1863 he discovered the possibility of voltage multiplication and demonstrated it with a "tubular voltage generator" (1868), which was successfully displayed at the 1873 Exhibition in Vienna.  

- See more Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office
- See "Innovators and Innovations"
- See Wikipedia


Joseph Galamb - (1881 - 1955)Ford Chief Engineer: Designed the Model T and Model A Ford, the Fordson Tractor, invented the Ignition Plug and the Planetary Gearbox, and prepared the production of Liberty aircraft engines. Joseph Galamb - (1881 - 1955)
Ford Chief Engineer:
Designed the Model T and Model A Ford, the Fordson Tractor, invented the Ignition Plug and the Planetary Gearbox, and prepared the production of Liberty aircraft engines. 

One of the most talented technical forebears in American automotive industry, József Galamb had a very eventful career. He was born in the small Hungarian town of Makó in 1881. After graduating at the Budapest Technical University, he started to work in a wagon factory and later joined the biggest Hungarian automobile factory in Arad, Transylvania (now Oradea, Rumania after annexation in 1920). At the beginning of the 1900s he studied manufacturing processes in the German Adler car factory, finally in 1903 crossed the Atlantic and tried his luck in the United States. He turned up in several cities including St. Louis, Cleveland, and Detroit. He began to work with Ford in December 1905. 

The new Model T slowly took shape. Its most important part was the planetary gearbox, one of Galamb's most brilliant inventions. The Model T designed by Galamb was ready by 1908 and 19 thousand cars were sold the next year.Preliminary design works lasted six months. When Ford approved a part, it was immediately made of wood and thus, the new Model T slowly took shape. Its most important part was the planetary gearbox, one of Galamb's most brilliant inventions.  The Model T designed by Galamb was ready by 1908 and 19 thousand cars were sold the next year. By adjusting the line, output was increased and unit costs reduced. By 1915, production reached 1 million units and by 1927, when the production of the Model T stopped, a total of 15 million had left the factory.  József Galamb also designed the world-famous Fordson tractor and the ignition plug. During World War I, he designed ambulance vans and light tanks, prepared the production of Liberty aircraft engines.  In 1927, he designed the modern and more elegant Model A to replace the now old-Model T. In 1937 he was appointed as chief constructor at Ford, and he kept this position until his retirement in 1944. 

His daughter, Gloria Galamb Albinak wrote to me saying: "...to my surprise and pleasure I saw where you have my father, Joseph Galamb, listed as a famous Hungarian! Perhaps you would like to add his dates: 1881-1955 and the fact that he was at Ford Motor from 1906 to 1945, when he retired. He was Chief Engineer there, cut his teeth on the Model T and designed all Ford cars, tractors and airplanes until his health forced his leaving. He was a graduate of the Technicon, served in the Austro-Hungarian Navy stationed at Pola, came to the USA to attend the St. Louis World`s Fair in 1903 and stayed."

- See Hungarians in the History of Transportation
- See Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office
- See Wikipedia
- See Galamb-összes, röviden


Lajos Lóczy - (b. 11/2/1849 Pozsony, Hungary [now called Bratislava after Czechoslovak annexation], d. 5/13/1920, Balatonarács, Hungary) Great Geologist and Geographer of Tibet and ChinaLajos Lóczy - (b. 11/2/1849 Pozsony, Hungary [now called Bratislava after Czechoslovak annexation], d. 5/13/1920, Balatonarács, Hungary)
Great Geologist and Geographer of Tibet and China

First to scientifically describe the mountains bordering the Tibetan Plateau that connect the Kunlun Mountains with the north-south-oriented belt of mountains and gorges in central China. In 1878, he, with Hungarian Count Béla Széchenyi and Gustav Kreitner, was the first western visitor to remote ancient Buddhist sites such as the oasis town of Dunhuang, situated at the edge of the Gobi desert, in the west of the present-day Chinese province of Gansu. He wrote many accounts his discoveries. He is also well known for his detailed research on Lake Balaton’s environs. 

He subsequently mentioned a "hidden library," one of the "Treasures of Mogao," to a friend, Aurel Stein, a Hungarian-born British subject who was later knighted for his Central Asia explorations and for the archaeological collections (now in Britain and India) that he amassed. 

- See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies

More on Sir Aurel Stein below...


Sir Aurel Stein (b. 11/26/1862 Budapest, d. 1943): "The most prodigious combination of scholar, explorer, archaeologist and geographer of his generation" - The "Sven Hedin of England" - pioneered the use of aerial photography in archaeology. Sir Aurel Stein (b. 11/26/1862 Budapest, d. 1943)
"The most prodigious combination of scholar, explorer, archaeologist and geographer of his generation" - The "Sven Hedin of England" - pioneered the use of aerial photography in archaeology. 

After receiving his education in Budapest, Dresden and Vienna he moved to Tübingen and later to England where he devoted himself to Asiatic studies. In London  he did intensive research into the languages, the history and the antiquities of Asian countries. In 1888 he was professor of Sanskrit language and literature at the Punjab University in Lahore. After doing archeological explorations in India and Kashmir, Stein crossed the Himalayas in 1900 to excavate the ancient ruins in the deserts of Chinese Turkestan. During his second expedition there (1906-1908) he explored the region of Lop Nor, traced the Great Wall of China, and opened up the Church of the Cave of the Thousand Buddhas, which had been brought to his attention by Lajos Lóczy (above). 

Stein won world fame through the expeditions he ran to Eastern Turkestan, Afghanistan and Iran. He pioneered not the Silk Road itself but its recovery for historical memory, as well as the recovery of the cultures which had flourished along its route and then passed into dry, sandy silence. He recovered and published the text of what is almost the only native history of India from before the Muslim invasions; conducted some of the first archaeological surveys of Iran and Iraq; pioneered, in his sixties, the use of aerial photography in archaeology. A large part of the materials collected during his exploratory trips was transferred to London, and another part is on display as a separate collection at the Delhi National Museum. He held the post of general director at the Indian Archaeological Directorate from 1910. He bequeathed his valuable library, manuscripts, letters and collection of photos to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Aurel Stein was one of the few honorary members of the British Geographical Society. Stein met his death while traveling in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!
- See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies 
- See the British Council 
- Buy the book entitled "Sir Aurel Stein," by Annabel Walker: For 40 years, Sir Aurel Stein the archaeologist, led the race to uncover a long-lost Buddhist civilization which had lain for a thousand years beneath China's deserts. This book unfolds the remarkable story of how Stein's single-minded dedication revealed the glories of the Silk Road.


Dr. Albert Fonó - (b. 1881 - d. 1972) Mechanical Engineer - Inventor of the Ramjet enabling aircraft to fly faster than the speed of sound. Developed Torpedos, Jet Artillery, Air Compressors.Dr. Albert Fonó - (b. 1881 - d. 1972)
Mechanical EngineerInventor of the Ramjet enabling aircraft to fly faster than the speed of sound. Developed Torpedos, Jet Artillery, Air Compressors.

The Budapest-born mechanical engineer received his diploma in 1903 at the Budapest Technical University. His main professional interest was energetics, though his theoretical work was extensive. After gaining experience at German, Belgian, Swiss and French factories, he obtained his degree of Ph.D. in the technical field.   His first invention was an aerial torpedo in 1915, which operated on the jet propulsion principle. This invention increased the effective range of artillery. It was a significant invention but failed to attract interest. On the other hand, inventions which were more in accord with the technical level of his age became successful. He patented a new steam boiler in 1923 and an air compressor for mines in 1928.

After World War I, Fonó returned to the subject of jet propulsion. In May 1928 he described a "air-jet engine" (now called a ramjet) which he described as being suitable for high-altitude supersonic aircraft, in a German patent application. In an additional patent application he adapted the engine for subsonic speed. The patent was finally granted in 1932 after four years of examination. With this advanced invention Fonó proved himself ahead of his time.  From 1954 he was a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He received the Kossuth Prize in 1956 and from 1968 he was a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics. 

- See Hungarian Inventors at the Hungarian Patent Office
- See The Spirit of Hungary
- See Wikipedia


Mária Telkes (b. 1900, d. 1996) Chemist, Engineer: Pioneer of Solar Energy: "Mother of the Solar Home," " The "Sun Queen," and "world's most famous woman inventor in solar energy."Mária Telkes (b. 1900, d. 1996)
Chemist, Engineer: Developed first thermoelectric power generator and the first thermoelectric refrigerator. A Pioneer of Solar Energy:
"Mother of the Solar Home," The "Sun Queen," and "world's most famous woman inventor in solar energy."

Telkes is known for creating the first thermoelectric power generator in 1947 and the first thermoelectric refrigerator in 1953 using the principles of semiconductor thermoelectricity. Maria Telkes first became interested in the problems of solar power as a high-school student. She came to the United States in 1925 with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Budapest. After working for twelve years at the Cleveland Clinic as a biophysicist, she went to the research laboratories of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Between 1939 and 1953 she was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a research associate in metallurgy.  It was at MIT that she became known for her research in solar energy. The first experimental house using solar heating was built under her supervision in 1948. 

She was featured in Life Magazine for her work synthesizing chemicals used in Polaris missilesDuring World War II she served as civilian advisor to the Office of Scientific Research and Development, devoting her efforts to the design of a distilling system using solar heat to convert sea water into drinking water. In 1945, Dr. Telkes received a certificate from OSRD for her development of a portable solar distiller for life rafts. In 1953 she became project director at the College of Engineering, NYU, and then research director of the Solar Energy Laboratory, Curtiss-Wright Corporation. She was featured in Life Magazine for her work synthesizing chemicals used in Polaris missiles.

She designed two more dwellings that harness solar energy and obtained approximately 20 patents (distillation equipment, portable desalination of seawater on life rafts, heat storage, cold storage).  She designed, built, and tested solar thermoelectric generators for terrestrial and space uses. She realized that fuel conservation was needed for 20th-century cook stoves so she decided to turn to a solar again and designed one of her well-known inventions: the solar oven.  The Ford Foundation issued a $45,000 grant to Dr. Telkes to continue the development of her solar oven. This grant allowed her to give it many more capabilities: her solar ovens are designed to be used to create any tribal or national cuisine, can by used safely by children, will not scorch foods, and free the cook from constant stirring. In 1973, public interest in solar energy grew after the oil shock. This led to the construction (a joint effort of MIT and the Department of Energy) of the Carlisle solar house in Carlisle , Massachusetts, in 1980. Her solar-energy inventions even led to the development of a faster way to dry crops.

She received the first Achievement award ever given by the Society of Women Engineers in 1952 during her tenure at MIT in recognition of her meritorious contributions to the utilization of solar energy. In addition, Dr. Telkes became known as one of the pioneers of solar energy usage when she received the Charles Greeley Abbot Award (which is awarded by the American Solar Energy Society) in 1977. 

- See "Innovators and Innovations"
- See the Society for Women Engineers
- See Virginia Tech
- See Inventions.org
- See Wikipedia


Oscar Asbóth - (1881 - 1960): Engineer: Student of Theodore Kármán and Helicopter Pioneer. Oscar Asbóth - (1881 - 1960)
Engineer: Student of Theodore Kármán and Helicopter Pioneer.  

In the first decades of modern aviation history, airplane designers seeking for new flying techniques probed many different solutions; along with the rigid-wing "dra-gon" or the orni-thopter, they also experimented with propellers rotating around a vertical shaft. During World War I, Lieutenant-colonel István Petróczy, professor Tódor Kármán and Vilmos Zurovetz jointly made hovering experiments with a windmill plane. At some of these Oszkár Asbóth then only 27 years old, also participated. 

He finished his studies at Arad, Transylvania (today Oradea in Rumania after annexation following the Treaty of Trianon) and became a member of a motor sport club as a teenager. He was only 18 when he built his first glider pulled up into the air by a motorcycle. Soon he designed an engine-driven plane and a stabilizer which was among the prize-winners at a competition organized by the Austro-Hungarian Defense Ministry.  After the outbreak of World War I, he did military service at an aircraft factory near Vienna where he was in charge of propeller manufacturing. Asbóth constructed and tested some 1500 propellers in the wind channel of the factory.  Ten years later Asbóth built his first helicopter. Powered by a 120 HP nine-cylinder engine and propelled by two wooden propellers, each 4.35 meter in diameter, placed parallel above each other and rotating in opposite direction, the model "AH 1" took off vertically on September 9, 1928. Tires were replaced by four footballs to provide sufficient flexibility for landing. For its maiden flight, after 1100 rotations the plane swiftly took off, at ten meters stopped, hovered for some ten minutes, than smoothly descended.  

A director of the research department of the British Air Ministry R. N. Liptrot, who also traveled on the helicopter, wrote in the British Journal of the Aeronautical Society in 1931: 

"the Asboth-helicopter ascends vertically with a remarkable speed...to any height where it can hover stationary for some time. It can be perfectly navigated. But the most remarkable is that, unlike other tested helicopters, this one remains absolutely stable around all axes..."  

Asbóth's merits were much more recognized in foreign countries than in his homeland. In 1954, on the 25th anniversary of the maiden flight of his first helicopter, the Fédération Aeronautique Internationale (Paris) awarded Oszkár Asbóth with the Paul Tissandier diploma for his lifetime achievements in aeronautics.

See Hungarians in the History of Transportation


Zoltán Bay - (b. Gyulavári, Hungary, d. 1992, Washington, DC): Physicist - First to use radar to take measurements of the moon, developed the Light Meter.Zoltán Bay - (b. Gyulavári, Hungary, d. 1992, Washington, DC)
Physicist - First to use radar to take measurements of the moon, developed the Light Meter. 

Following his attendance at the Presbyterian Boarding-school in Debrecen, he continued his studies at the Pázmány Péter Academy of Sciences where he obtained his Ph.D. Following a four-year study tour in Berlin, from 1930 he worked at the University of Szeged as a professor of theoretical physics. He developed his radar in 1936 at the laboratory at Tungsram. As the head of the laboratory, he developed several patents in the field of high voltage gas discharge tubes, fluorescent and vacuum tubes. He lectured between 1938 and 1948 at the Budapest Technical University. He developed radar for air defense in Budapest during World War II, independently of British and German efforts. With his research team in 1946 he observed the reflection of radar beams aimed at the moon, which was considered revolutionary in space research at that time

He was forced to leave Hungary, and between 1948 and 1955 he worked as a professor of experimental physics at the George Washington University where he was engaged in ionization experiments and light speed measurements, developing the definition of the“light meter.” On the basis thereof his new definition of the meter was accepted by the International Weights and Standards Institute in 1983. From 1955 to 1972 he was a departmental head at the U.S. Bureau of Standards. Subsequently he became a professor at the American University. In 1981 the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Eötvös Loránd Society of Physics elected Bay honorary member. He achieved considerable success in the physics of active gases, and worked out the method of fast atom counting, operating on the principle of secondary electron multiplying. He justified by experiment that the universal system of measuring time and length based on the speed of light was in fact valid, thus proving Einstein's idea of space-time.

On his 90th birthday he was decorated with the The Order of the Hungarian Republic adorned with rubies. He passed away in Washington on October 4th, 1992. According to his last will, his ashes returned to his native country

- Visit the Bay Zoltán Bibliography
- See The Spirit of Hungary
- Read George Marx's Conflicts and Creativity


Paul Erdôs - (b. Born: 3/26/1913, Budapest, Hungary, d. 9/20/1996 Warsaw, Poland): Legendary Mathematician: "The Greatest Mathematician of the 20th Century"Paul Erdôs - (b. Born: 3/26/1913, Budapest, Hungary, d. 9/20/1996 Warsaw, Poland)
Legendary Mathematician: "The Greatest Mathematician of the 20th Century"

"When one reads of Paul Erdös, two words invariably come up: prolific and eccentric. While "above average" mathematicians publish some 20 articles in a lifetime, Erdös wrote over 1500 papers, books, and articles, more than any mathematician in history. To say that he was prolific, which means productive, is a fair description. The March 29, 1999 edition of Time magazine, Michael D. Lemonick writes "In a profession with no shortage of oddballs, he was the strangest. Erdös had no home, no possessions, and no life aside from mathematics." The statements are true, so eccentric is probably a fair description of Paul Erdös as well. Despite his peculiarities, Paul Erdös was arguably one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century. He is credited with 'one of the greatest mathematical discoveries of the twentieth century...the simple equation that two heads are better than one.'"

Revered by colleagues and considered to be the "most brilliant mind in his field," he collaborated with so many mathematicians that the phenomenon of the "Erdos Number" evolved. To have an Erdos number 1, a mathematician must have published a paper with Erdos. To have a number of 2, he or she must have published with someone who had published with Erdos, and so on. Four and a half thousand mathematicians have an Erdos number of 2. Erdös has been referred to as the Johnny Appleseed of Mathematics. In his final years, Erdös had become more forgetful and somewhat slower, but he continued to travel the world, spreading his love of mathematics as Johnny spread seeds. According to Erdös, to "die" was to quit doing mathematics. To "leave" was physical death. In Warsaw, Poland for a combinatorics meeting, Erdös "left" at the age of 83, of a heart attack.

Quotes:

"Television is something the Russians invented to destroy American education."
"There'll be plenty of time to rest in the grave"

- See more from above and a great biography entitled, "The Mathematician Who Never Died: The Mathematical Contributions of Paul Erdös" by Cheryl Mootz
- To read the articles written on him in the New York Times, visit fellow mathematician from the University of Kolozsvár, Transylvania: Dr. Zoltán Kása's Homepage
- Also see Erdôs at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, History of Mathematics Archive.


American Hungarian Federation Geza Jako, M.D., "Father of Laser Microsurgery," and pioneer of "Soft Tissue Microsurgery", Laser & Micro-Dentistry, and "Endoscopic Microsurgery." Click to see him with fellow Hungarian scientist and Father of the H-bomb, Edward TellerGeza Jako (b. Budapest, 1930)
Physician, scientist, educator. Father of soft tissue microsurgery, laser surgery, minimally invasive surgery. White House Advisor for Cancer to Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. Pioneer of human cochlear stimulation for deafness. Member of the American Hungarian Federation.

Famous HungariansGeza Julius Jako (Szalardi- von Jako), White House Advisor for Cancer to Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. Inventor of soft tissue microsurgery, laser surgery, minimally invasive surgery. Pioneer of human cochlear stimulation for deafness. Physician, scientist, educator." A 1956 Freedom Fighter remembered for his role in establishing emergency medical services in Budapest at the start of the ill-fated Hungarian Revolution, he went on to become a Professor of Head and Neck Surgery at Boston Univ and to receive staff appointments from Harvard Medical School, MIT, and North Eastern University for Biomedical Engineering. In addition, he has had four Presidential White House appointments (among them 8 years with President Reagan) and served at the highest levels of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

A plaque honoring Dr. Geza Jako, a 1956 Freedom Fighter remembered for his role in establishing emergency medical services in Budapest at the start of the ill-fated Hungarian Revolution. He is also "Father of Laser Microsurgery," and pioneer of "Soft Tissue Microsurgery", Laser & Micro-Dentistry, and "Endoscopic Microsurgery."Dr. Jako (pronounced yuh-ko) has hundreds of peer reviewed journal articles, books and chapters in surgery. His students have gone on top be some of the top ENT surgeons in the world. He holds several patents and the only patents on Lasers in medicine and endo-micro instruments. His first lasers are displayed in museums in Washington D.C. and in the Hungarian National Museum in Budapest in the section of Hungary's most significant scientists featuring Edward Teller, Albert Szentgyorgyi, and many others. His instruments and surgical techniques have become the "gold-standard' for head and neck surgery worldwide and in the fight against laryngeal cancer that today has saved hundreds of thousands of voice boxes. He was forced to flee to the West as a graduate medical student and today has a few historic commemorative plaque and tablets to his contributions during the '56 revolution at the significant sites during the battles. One of these shown here is at the hospital that became a focal point of the revolution and mentioned in several papers and film documentaries for 1956.

Download his [Full Biography] or read more about him and other members of the American Hungarian Federation


Eszter Pécsi (b. 1898 Kecskemét, Hungary, d. 1975, New York, USA)
Structural Engineer - designer of the first reinforced-concrete skyscraper! First woman to receive a degree in engineering in Hungary (1920)

Eszter Pecsi prepared the structural design for the indoor swimming pool on St. Margit Island (Budapest, Hungary), and the first iron-framed tall building of Budapest, the Hospital on Fiume út. In 1957 she fled Hungary and worked in Vienna, Austria for a year where she designed the city's first multi-level parking garage. From 1958 she lived and worked in New York. She was the structural designer of the first reinforced-concrete skyscraper (Hotel Americana) and two skyscrapers erected for the professors of Columbia University. For these three works, Pécsi received the year's best structural engineering design award from New York City. She was also the structural designer of numerous buildings of New York University. She developed a special method to prepare the site of the foundation for the skyscrapers along the Hudson River, for which she was named the best structural engineer of the year.

- See the Hungarian Folklore Museum


Anonymous - (14th century, Kócs, Komárom County, Northern Hungary [now called Komarno by Slovakia after annexation in 1920]): Inventor of the Light Carriage or "Coach" Anonymous - (14th century, Kócs, Komárom County, Northern Hungary [now called Komarno by Slovakia after annexation in 1920])
Inventor of the Light Carriage or "Coach"

A significant invention was the pivoting of the front wheels of carts. The pivot allowed the cart or wagon to turn quickly within a very small radius. A lightweight coach with small front wheels, indicating a pivoted assembly, was first mentioned in writing by a French knight, Bertrandon de la Brocqučre, who visited Hungary in 1433. In that same century, the kocsi, a four-wheel horse drawn vehicle developed in Hungary, was an exceptionally practical form of passenger and light freight transport. It began to be produced in large numbers. The actual name comes from the village of Kocs and the origin is reflected in other countries where it began to be used or manufactured: Kutsche in German, coche in French, coach in English, coccio in Italian, goetse in Flemish, koczi in Polish, koczy in Czech, and kusk in Swedish. (Even in the Caucasian region the word used was "madjar," the local name for Hungarian-type carts.)  

Another major Hungarian contribution to the convenience of medieval transportation was the invention of the hintó or landau (barouche in French).  Matthias, the great renaissance king of Hungary, who travelled almost constantly, had strong and flexible wooden stays fixed vertically to the front and rear axles and had the carriage body suspended on these in such a way that it did not touch the rigid undercarriage but reacted to the jolts of the vehicle with a swaying movement. To make travelling more comfortable, the carriage was lined with leather cushions. This new type of vehicle, the Hungarian hintó soon became very popular all over Europe. In the 17th century the wooden stays were replaced with forged steel springs, but the original suspending mechanism has remained unchanged up to now.

See Hungarians in the History of Transportation


Mihály Dénes (1894-1953): Mechanical Engineer - Father of Sound Film and Television Broadcasting: Produced the first television program in history!Mihály Dénes (1894-1953)
Mechanical Engineer - Father of Sound Film and Television Broadcasting: Produced the first television program in history!

Mihaly Denes graduated from Vörösmarty Mihály High School (Gimnázium) and received his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University in Budapest. He is listed among the world's leading scientists in the field of electronic image transmission. On 7 June 1916, he managed to produce a successful movie with a sound track. On 30 April 1918, he applied for a patent for a method called Projectophon for recording sound pictures. His method provided good quality sound tracks with 35 mm film stock using optical sound recording, and he can thus be regarded as the inventor of the sound film. His patent was published on 18 October 1922. 

He was also engaged in early experiments in television from the 1910s. He initially developed his inventions at the Telephone Factory in Budapest, before going to Berlin in 1924, to work for AEG. His first practical piece of equipment, the Telehor, was introduced in 1928. On 8 March 1929 the Berlin-Witzleben radio station transmitted the first live television broadcast in the world, using his system.

Under Hitler's rule, he was sent to a concentration camp for hiding the persecuted. In 1953, he died from tuberculosis he acquired there.

- See "Innovators and Innovations"or
- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book!


Imre Bródy (b. Gyula, Hungary 1891, d. Mühldorf, Germany 12/20/1944): Physicist: Father of the Krypton Electric BulbImre Bródy (b. Gyula, Hungary 1891, d. Mühldorf, Germany 12/20/1944)
Physicist: Father of the Krypton Electric Bulb

Brody was university educated in Budapest and became a physicist. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the chemical constant of monoatomic gases. First he taught high school, then he became an assistant professor in the department of applied physics at the University of Sciences. Early in his career he accomplished valuable theoretical work investigating specific heat and molecular heat. For a short period beginning in 1920 he worked with Max Born as assistant to the professor in Göttingen. They jointly worked out the dynamic theory of crystals. 

He returned home in 1923 and worked at Tungsram as an engineer until the end of his life. His most important invention dates from 1930. Late in the last century, scientists engaged in the radiation theory of incandescent bodies had already proved that an incandescent body radiates its energy mostly in the form of heat, and only a small part as light.

Brody put his finger on the most important problems of incandescent lamp production. According to his hypothesis, the exit of evaporating tungsten atoms from the incandescent filament through the medium of gas was regulated not by diffusion only, as it was assumed, but was also influenced by other laws of nature. To eliminate such problems, he used gas of great molecular weight (He filled lamps with krypton gas in lieu of argon), thus attaining a longer life for the lamp. He chose the length and diameter of the incandescent wire in such a way that the filament's glowing heat be increased without reducing the lamp's life span. By using krypton gas, he developed an up-to-date lamp with longer life and better performance.He also developed a new process to ascertain the krypton content of air. At the cost of a few years' work he demonstrated that krypton gas could be mass-produced at a cheap rate. Advantage of the krypton lamp was to emit more light without increased energy consumption. Its display at the Budapest Industrial Fair in 1936 was a technical sensation. 

Production of krypton filled lamps based on his invention started at Ajka in 1937. Subsequently Bródy worked on new light source problems. He remained with his family after the German occupation of Hungary in 1944, and despite of the immunity the factory provided for him, he succumbed to certain death. He died on December 20, 1944 in Mühldorf as a victim of fascism.

The Eötvös Loránd Society of Physics named a prize after him, thus commemorating his life's work.

- See Hungarian Contribution to Universal Science


Gabor Bernath (b. 1985 Budapest): Inventor, Child Computer Prodigy: at 15 Invented the commercially viable 3d Scanner, "ScanGuru," and won the 50th Intel ISEF Gabor Bernath (b. 1985 Budapest)
Inventor, Child Computer Prodigy: at 15 Invented the commercially viable 3d Scanner, "ScanGuru," and won the 50th Intel ISEF

The handling of three dimensional objects is becoming increasingly important for computers. Gabor Bernath’s goal was simple: deliver a 3D scanning tool at a reasonable price without compromising the quality of the product. Its realization was a little bit complicated. But manage he did. His finished product provides computer users with a means of visual communication that eliminates the use of very complex and expensive scanners. While a video camera films you, ScanGuru calculates all your 3D surface coordinates, and, within seconds, your 3D portrait will be on the screen for all to use. Gabor developed this clever way to use a simple digital camera and light source to capture a 3D model, and in the process created a new category among the 3D input devices for PCs.

In 1999 Gabor won the Computer Science award in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the world's largest pre-college science competition, recognizing the world's brightest high school science and engineering students for their scientific achievements with over $2 million in scholarships and grants.

When big-footed Austrian broker Richard Hollmann heard about Gabor's invention, after hearing it had won numerous science competitions, he said he knew it could be used for "all sorts of interesting products," including custom-made shoes. When Gabor first heard Hollmann's suggestion, he didn't know what to make of it. He talked it over with his reluctant father, and they decided to go for it, founding EasyScan Ltd in 1998 and selling 60% of the company to 30-year-old Hollmann in exchange for $50,000. The process for the patent was started and the rights are owned by EasyScan Ltd. In 1999 the Hungarian Foundation for Innovation joined the company.

- See EasyScan Ltd.'s Website or contact them at info@scanguru.hu
- see Business Week


Michael (Mihály) Somogyi (b. Zsámánd, Hungary 3/7/1883 [A.K.A. Reinersdorf, Burgenland, given to Austria after WWI] d. 1971, USA): Professor, Chemist: Produced first Child Insulin Treatment in US - Developed the "Somogyi test" for the diagnosis of diabetesMichael (Mihály) Somogyi (b. Zsámánd, Hungary 3/7/1883 [A.K.A. Reinersdorf, Burgenland, given to Austria after WWI] d. 1971, USA)
Professor, Chemist: Produced first Child Insulin Treatment in US - Developed the "Somogyi test" for the diagnosis of diabetes

Somogyi graduated in chemistry from the University of Budapest in 1905 and then went to America. At first he had trouble finding suitable work, but eventually he obtained a position as assistant of biochemistry at the Cornell University Medical College, New York:, where he was active until 1908. That year Somogyi returned to Budapest to become chief chemist at the municipal laboratory. He obtained a doctorate from the University of Budapest in 1914.

In 1922 a colleague at Cornell University persuaded him to return to the USA to become teacher of biochemistry at the Washington University's medical school in St. Louis. In 1926 he became first chemist at the Jewish Hospital, St. Louis. In 1926, his first year working as a clinical chemist in St. Louis, he introduced a method for determining reducing sugars in human blood. He took a special interest in diabetic patients and in 1938, at a meeting of the medical society in St. Louis to the theme of “unstable, severe diabetic patients,” Somogyi first presented his theory that insulin treatment in itself might cause unstable diabetes. In 1940 he developed a method for the determination of serum amylase in healthy and diabetic individuals. He is also credited with devising a test for acute pancreatitis.

Somogyi was active at the Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, until his retirement in 1957. He died from a stroke on July 21, 1971. 

Trivia:

  • The first insulin treatment of a child with diabetes in the USA on October, 1922, was done with a preparation of insulin produced by Somogyi. 

Associated eponyms:
Somogyi's method
- Dinitrosalicylic acid (DNS) method used to assay for the product sugars.
Somogyi's phenomenon
- Rebound hyperglycaemia to counter regulatory hormone release.
Somogyi's reagent
- A reagent for the determination of sugars.
Somogyi's unit
- A measure of the level of activity of amylase in blood serum.
What is the "Somogyi Effect"?

- See The Spirit of Hungary or Purchase this incredible book! or
- Who Named It.com


Thomas A. Sebeok (Sebők), (b. Budapest, 1921, d. 12/21/2002, Bloomington, Indiana): Father of Modern Semiotics (the study of signs and non-verbal communication)Thomas A. Sebeok (Sebők), (b. Budapest, 1921, d. 12/21/2002, Bloomington, Indiana)
Father of Modern Semiotics (the study of signs and non-verbal communication)

A pioneer in the science of signs and symbols, he was noted for challenging the theory that apes and chimpanzees could learn language to communicate with humans. Dr. Sebeok, a professor emeritus at Indiana University, published more than 60 books in his field, known as semiotics, including the classic "Speaking of Apes" (1979), which he edited with his wife. He argued that apes could not learn language because they lacked the body parts for language, like a larynx or vocal cords, and that they were unable to pass language on to their offspring." Dr. Sebeok showed that nonhuman animals need both the anatomy and nature for learning language," said Dr. Marcel Danesi, a professor of semiotics at the University of Toronto, who has also written extensively in the field. "His work demonstrated that if language were a genetic endowment in apes, then we could just teach them and they would pass it on." When Dr. Sebeok began his career, his field was limited to the study of language. But with the publication of his "Approaches to Semiotics" (1964), he revolutionized that field, expanding it beyond human language to nonverbal communication in all organisms. 

In 1981, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission turned to Dr. Sebeok for help in developing "keep away" signs that could be understood by people in 10,000 years, the duration that nuclear waste may be dangerous to humans. Dr. Sebeok suggested signs with words, pictures, cartoons and stick figures to indicate danger. The signs, he said, should also include a "veiled threat that to ignore the mandate would be to invite some sort of supernatural retribution." Thomas Albert Sebeok was born in Budapest but left to study at Cambridge and then immigrated to the United States, receiving a bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago and a doctorate at Princeton. He next went to Indiana, where he created its department of Uralic and Altaic studies, covering languages of Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia. There, he was chairman of its Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies, retiring in 1991. Dr. Sebeok held visiting appointments at 33 universities in 17 countries and received the Distinguished Service Award of the American Anthropological Association. He died at his home in Bloomington, Indiana from leukemia.

- See the New York Times or
- Read about him in Hungarian


Antal Bejczy (b. Budapest 1930 -): Engineer - Developed Mars Rover "Sojourner," and Pathfinder's Remote Control SystemAntal Bejczy (b. Budapest 1930 -)
Engineer - Developed Mars Rover "Sojourner," and Pathfinder's Remote Control System

Famous HungariansBejczy  worked at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Technical University of Budapest until the anti-Soviet revolution of 1956. Fleeing Hungary, he finished his studies at the University of Oslo, Norway, where he received Ph.D. in Applied Physics in 1963. Following space research with NATO, he eventually established himself in the United States. He was appointed Head of the NASA Telerobotics Development Program in 1969. He led development of The Mars "microrover," dubbed Sojourner. This work was completed with the active participation of fellow Hungary Page honorees Ferenc Pavlics the Hungarian originator of the Moon Rover and Pál Greguss (below) of PAL Optics fame. Bejczy was also the Principal Investigator of a robot arm force-torque sensor and control flight experiment on the Space Shuttle in 1994

Bejczy continues as Senior Research Scientist in the Telerobotics Research Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at the California Institute of Technology. His major research interests have been robotics and advanced teleoperation. He is an IEEE Distinguished Lecturer for the Robotics and Automation Society and has won numerous Awards.

- See Hungarian Participation in Space Research or
- Inventor of the Last Decade of the 20th Century


Pál Greguss (b. Budapest 1921 - ): Chemical Engineer and Physicist: invented the Pál-Optic used in NASA's Deep Space Program Pál Greguss (b. Budapest 1921 - )
Chemical Engineer and Physicist:  invented the Pál-Optic used in NASA's Deep Space Program

This invention is a panoramic lens and is among the instruments of the space probe launched within the Deep Space Program. While it takes the Sojourner 6000 photographs to assemble a panorama picture, the Pál-Optic is able to do so in ONE. This lens provides a 360° vision of the Earth, the Sun and the Moon simultaneously, and therefore it can be used to determine the exact location of the space probe.

Pal Greguss is currently Professor Emeritus at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Some of his recognition includes: The Pioneer Award in Medical Ultrasonics from WFUMB (World Federation of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology) and AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine); and NASA’s Certificate of Recognition for Radial Metrology that was based on his invention, the PAL-optic. For the same invention and its applications he received the “Invenció ’91” Award from the Hungarian Association of Inventors, the Genius ‘96 Oscar Award. For his further developed version, the “Humanoid Machine Vision System in Space, on Earth and Under Water,” he won the Gold Medal of the 1st Inventors' Olympic Games - Genius' 98. He is author of over 330 scientific publications including several books, and owner of more than 20 patents all around the world.

- See the Hungarian Folklore Museum or
- Read more about him in Hungarian at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics: greguss@manuf.bme.hu


Ferenc Pávlics - (b. 1928 Balozsameggyes, Hungary): Engineer - Developed NASA's Moon Rover and Directed Development of the Mars RoverFerenc Pávlics - (b. 1928 Balozsameggyes, Hungary)
Engineer - Developed NASA's Moon Rover and Directed Development of the Mars Rover

Frank Pavlics, mechanical engineer, worked as a researcher at the headquarters of the armored vehicle arsenal of the US army in Detroit, at the defense research laboratory of General Motors and at the electronics division of the Santa Barbara Plant. He conducted research regarding the improvement of vehicles designed to travel on rough terrain and the use of vehicles designed for travel on the surface of the Moon. He developed for NASA the first vehicle in history which traveled on extraterrestrial terrain, the moon rover, used on the Moon by the Apollo 11 expedition in 1969. The rover, known as Newcomer, was improved by NASA under Pavlics' direction, and landed on Mars in 1997 with the space probe named Trailfinder.

- See Hungarian Participation in Space Research


János András Segner (b. 1704, Pozsony, Hungary [now Bratislava after Slovak annexation], d. 1777, Halle, Germany): Father of the Water Turbine: First scientist to use reactive force and made substantial contributions to the theory of Dynamics.János András Segner (b. 1704, Pozsony, Hungary [now Bratislava after Slovak annexation], d. 1777, Halle, Germany)
Father of the Water Turbine: First scientist to use reactive force and made substantial contributions to the theory of Dynamics.

The first scientist to use the reactive force of water was the Hungarian who constructed the first water-jet, the Segner-Wheel. When we turn on our sprinklers in the garden, we should remember Segner, who also produced, among other things, the first proof of Descartes' theory of signs. Historians of science remember him as the father of the water turbine.

Segner attended school at Pozsony's Lyceum where he showed special talents for medicine and mathematics. In 1725 he entered the University of Jena, studying medicine there. He did not find being a doctor of medicine to his liking and he returned to the academic world accepting a chair at the University of Jena. He had the great distinction of becoming the first professor of mathematics at Göttingen taking up the chair in 1735. Segner's was therefore the first to fill what was to become one of the foremost chairs of mathematics in the world. In 1743 Segner was put in charge of the construction of the university observatory which was finished in 1751.

Segner's wheel established the basic principles on which the jet turbine was developed decades later. It works on the principle of a stream of water coming out of a cylinder which at its lowest part has several horizontal paddles bent in one direction. The water streaming through the paddles produces a counter-pressure able to turn the cylinder in the opposite direction.

- See Segner for more


Les Besser (b. 8/27/1936, Budapest): Engineer: “Father of microwave computer-aided design" - Microwave EngineeringLes Besser (b. 8/27/1936, Budapest)
Engineer: “Father of microwave computer-aided design" - Microwave Engineering

Les (Laszlo) Besser, was national under-16 year hurdle record holder in 1952, graduated from Kando Kalman technical school in 1954, and won two Hungarian national junior championships in 1955. Escaping to Canada after the 1956 revolution, he continued with his running career, and received a track scholarship to study electrical engineering in the US. At the University of Colorado he received the Pacesetter Award and was selected to be “The Outstanding Engineering Student” and co-captain of the school’s soccer team in 1966.

After gaining practical engineering experience at Hewlett Packard and Fairchild corporations, he authored COMPACT (Computerized Optimization of Microwave Passive and Active CircuiTs), the world’s first commercially successful microwave circuit optimization routine, soon to become the industry standard. He then founded Compact Software, a pioneer CAD software company (now part of Ansoft), and was active in serving the engineering design needs of the RF/Microwave industry during the next ten years. In 1980, his company merged with Communication Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) where Dr. Besser functioned as a Senior Vice President.

In 1985, recognizing the need for advanced continuing education, he started Besser Associates, a training organization that has provided live training to more than 45,000 engineers, managers, and technicians world-wide, retiring from the company in 2004. In addition to directing the company, he presented short courses at various technical conferences and universities, including UCLA, Stanford, MIT, Cambridge (UK) and Oxford (UK). He is a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In 1983 he received the IEEE group’s "Microwave Applications Award," and "Career Award" in 1987, as well as the prestigious IEEE “Third Centennial Medal" in 2000. His recently coauthored textbooks, Practical RF Circuit Design for Modern Wireless Systems, Volume I and II, are on the publisher’s best-seller list. He is also listed in Marquis' "Who Is Who in the World," and was elected to the Microwave Hall of Fame. You can learn more about Les and the history of microwave Computer-Aided Design (CAD) on:

- http://www.microwaves101.com/encyclopedia/halloffame3.cfm#besser
- http://www.microwaves101.com/encyclopedia/historyCAD.cfm


István Dorogi (b. Hungary, 1885 - ?)
Chemical Engineer / Inventor: Father of Mass Produced Inflatable Toys, Forms and Figures!

Istvan Dorogi was a chemical engineer and inventor. Between 1929 and 1934, he developed a process for the industrial mass production of inflatable formes/figures made of rubber. For this procedure he obtained 52 Hungarian and 150 international patents. The solutions and methods he developed are widely used in the modern rubber industry to manufacture inflatable toys, boats, life-savers, etc.

- See the Hungarian Folklore Museum


Móricz Kohn Kaposi (b. 10/23/1837 Kaposvár, Hungary, d. 1902 Vienna, Austria): Physician and Dermatologist: Described Kaposi's SarcomaMóricz Kohn Kaposi (b. 10/23/1837 Kaposvár, Hungary, d. 1902 Vienna, Austria)
Physician and Dermatologist: Described Kaposi's Sarcoma

Moritz Kaposi was born Moriz Kohn to poor parents. He attended a Hungarian elementary school and received the first four years of secondary schooling in his native city. He then moved to Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava) to complete the remaining four years of education in the German school in that City. Thereafter, Kohn went to Vienna where he enrolled in the Vienna University Medical School in 1856 and from which he graduated as a doctor of medicine on 13 December, 1861, as doctor of surgery on 14 April, 1862, and as master of obstetrics on 12 July, 1866. immediately was appointed assistant to Ferdinand von Hebra (1816-1880), the noted Austrian dermatologist. He worked with Hebra from 1862 to 1867 and fell in love with and later married Hebra's daughter. As Hebra was Catholic and Kohn Jewish, he converted to Catholicism and changed his name to Kaposi – a play on his place of birth, Kaposvár. After his father-in-law's death, he took over the University's Department.

Kaposi (Kaposy) conducted significant research in the fields of malignant tumors and venereal diseases. While working at the Vienna General Hospital, he described odd skin tumors in five men in their sixth and seventh decades of life as "idiopathic multiple pigmented sarcoma of the skin."  Since these initial findings, four main types of Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS), also termed "multiple idiopathic hemorrhagic sarcoma", have been documented. The most common form, that associated with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, has been well documented since first described in the early 1980's.

Much has been written over the last century about Kaposi and similarly, the dermatological entities we associate with his name have been much commented upon e.g. lupus erythematosus, the Kaposi sarcoma, Xeroderma pigmentosum, and several others. Many honors were bestowed upon Kaposi. He became a member of the imperial Order of (Emperor) Leopold; he was appointed "Hofrath", officer of the Légion d'Honneur elected member of many other national and international scientific bodies. Kaposi was a polyglot, being fluent in Hungarian, German, French, and English. At international congresses he was sought as a speaker, but he was also a sharp critic, feared for his caustic remarks. He was well integrated into the Viennese society of the time and was a friend of many artists, e.g., the famous painter Makart who also was his patient and who did a portrait of his wife, and the sculptor Kundmann who created the statue crowning the Kaposi tomb, for which Kaposi's wife Martha served as model.

- See the Hungarian Folklore Museum or
- WhoNamedIt.com or
- Learn about Kaposi's Sarcoma at the University of Bonn or
- Read a biography at the University of Paris


Béla Schick - (b. 7/16/1877 Balatonboglár, Hungary - d. 1967, USA)
Pediatric Doctor / Researcher: Pioneer in immunology - Devised the "Schick test" for determining susceptibility to diphtheria.

From the Jewish Virtual Library: Young Bela Schick quoted the Talmud: "The world is kept alive by the breath of children," to help persuade his father to allow him to pursue continued education in pediatrics, rather than to join the family grain merchant business in Graz, Austria. Schick became assistant at the Children's Clinic in Vienna, and later associate professor of pediatrics at Vienna University.

He emigrated to the United States, and in 1923 became pediatrician-in-chief at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. He later (1936) was appointed clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia University. Schick made important studies on scarlet fever, tuberculosis, and the nutrition for infants ... but gained international renown for the Schick Test. This test determined susceptibility to diphtheria, and eventually led to the eradication of the childhood disease that attacked 100,000 Americans in 1927, leading to about 10,000 deaths.

A massive five-year campaign, coordinated by Dr. Schick, virtually eliminated the dreaded disease that had taken countless young lives since it was first mentioned in the sixth century writings of Aetius. As a part of the campaign, 85 million pieces of literature were distributed by Metropolitan Life Co. with an appeal to parents to "Save your child from diphtheria." These illustrated brochures (reproduced here) were created by a talented young artist who had recently emigrated from Germany - Gerta Ries. Remarkably, this same Gerta Ries (Wiener) was commissioned over 75 years later to create the sculptured tribute to Dr. Béla Schick for the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.


Sándor (Alexander) Pfitzner (1880-1910) 
Engineer: Designed the first American Monoplane for Curtiss

Became a constructor at the Herring Curtiss Aeroplane Factory. He took off with his originally-designed plane in Hammondsport, on December 20, 1909 and this was the first successful flight of a monoplane in the United States, where only bi-planes had been in use thus far. He tragically committed suicide at the age of 30. Little is known about him: please send information to hipcat@hungary.org.

- Read more at Hungarians in Transportation


Frigyes Riesz - (b. 1/22/1880, Györ, Hungary, d. 2/28/1956 in Budapest): Mathematician: A founder of functional analysisFrigyes Riesz - (b. 1/22/1880, Györ, Hungary, d. 2/28/1956 in Budapest)
Mathematician: A founder of functional analysis

His younger brother and fellow renowned mathematician Marcel Riesz, introduced the Riesz means. Riesz was a founder of functional analysis and his work has many important applications in physics. 

Riesz was appointed to a chair in Kolozsvár in Hungary in 1911. However, the Hungarian government was forced to sign the Treaty of Trianon on 4 June, 1920. Hungary was left with less than one third of the land that had previously been Hungary. Romania, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia all took over large areas but Austria, Poland and Italy also gained land from Hungary. Kolozsvár was no longer in Hungary after the Treaty of Trianon but rather it was in Romania and was renamed Cluj, so the Hungarian University there had to move within the new Hungarian borders and it moved to Szeged in 1920, where there had previously been no university.

In Szeged in 1922 Riesz set up the János Bolyai Mathematical Institute in a joint venture with Haar. Of course the Institute was named after the famous Hungarian mathematician whose birthplace was Kolozsvár, the town from which the university had just been forced to move after the French awarded Transylvania and the Banat to the Rumanians. In 1945 Riesz was appointed to the chair of mathematics in the University of Budapest. Riesz received many honours for his work. He was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Science and, in 1949, he was awarded its Kossuth Prize. He was elected to the Paris Academy of Sciences and to the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund in Sweden. He received honorary doctorates from the universities of Szeged, Budapest and Paris.

- See more at Riesz or Hungarian mathematicians and physicists


Imre Gyula Izsák, (b. 2/21/1929 Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, d. 4/21/1965, Paris): Astronomer: the Hungarian-American expert of celestial mechanics of the Space Age. Imre Gyula Izsák, (b. 2/21/1929 Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, d. 4/21/1965, Paris)
Astronomer: the Hungarian-American expert of celestial mechanics of the Space Age.

After the defeat of the 1956 revolution, three extremely talented young astronomers left Hungary: Tibor Herczeg, Imre Izsák (1929-1965) and István Ozsváth. Among those who left, Károly Lassovszky represented the older generation. He found a niche for himself at Harvard, one of the scenes of his youth. He was soon joined by Izsák. Both have been held in great respect by their colleagues for establishing a new and improved mathematical method for calculating the orbit of artificial satellites. Imre Izsak and fellow Hungarian Victor Szebehely worked in the field of celestial mechanics and contributed significantly to map the gravitation field of the Earth using the orbital perturbations of satellites. Izsak computed the orbits of American and Soviet ballistic missiles. Izsak utilized the observed orbits of artificial satellites to calculate the exact shape of the Earth.

Izsak died of a sudden heart attack on his way to a geodesic satellite symposium in Paris. There is a crater on the moon honoring Imre Izsák.

- Read more in Hungarian
- See all 9 Hungarian-named Craters on the moon


Victor Szebehely (b. Szebehelyi Gyozo, 1921, Budapest, d. 9/13/1997, Austin, Texas): Aerospace Engineer: Pioneer of Orbital Mechanics and a key figure in the Apollo Space Program: "His work got us to the moon"Victor Szebehely (b. Szebehelyi Gyozo, 1921, Budapest, d. 9/13/1997, Austin, Texas)
Aerospace Engineer: Pioneer of Orbital Mechanics and a key figure in the Apollo Space Program: "His work got us to the moon"

Victor Szebehely was educated in Budapest and received a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1943 from the Budapest Technical University and a Doctor of Science in Engineering from the same university in 1946. Victor's Ph.D. thesis dealt with an analysis of the three body problem and therefore foreshadowed his later work on this most important subject. Fearing the communist takeover of Hungary, he left for the U.S. in 1947.

While waiting to become a U.S. citizen he served as Associate Professor of Applied Mechanics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He also held visiting and temporary posts at the University of Maryland and George Washington University. Upon becoming a U.S. citizen in 1954, Victor went to work for the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C. at the David Taylor Model Basin where he headed the Ship Dynamics Branch. Here, his work on the motion of small warships in heavy seas brought him international recognition. In 1956, he was awarded the Distinguished Order of Merit by the Government of the Netherlands for applying these results to the behavior of their naval vessels under the stormy conditions that exist in the North Sea. In 1956, a dimensionless number used in time-dependent unsteady flows was named “Szebehely’s number,” and in 1957, he was knighted by HRH Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

At the beginning of the Space Age, his expertise in the three-body problem, obtained in Budapest, was warmly welcome. In 1957, Victor Szebehely began his work on the U.S. Space Program as a Manager of Space Mechanics at the General Electric Missiles Space Division near Philadelphia. For the next six years he worked on a number of programs of importance to the U.S. Space exploration effort. It was here that he began to apply the methods of treating the three body problem he had developed as part of his thesis work to the problem of going to the Moon. In 1963, Victor moved to Yale University as Associate Professor of Astronomy and he continued his work and the application of the restricted three body to the Apollo missions in the group headed by Dirk Brouwer. He served on the Yale faculty until 1968 and then he moved to Texas to assume a position as Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin. In the September and October 1977 issues of the journal Celestial Mechanics, Volume 16, an equation used to determine the gravitational potential of the earth, planets, satellites and galaxies was named “Szebehely’s equation. ”

"He could apply the science of mechanics with great imagination to a specific problem," said Hans Mark, former deputy administrator at NASA. "His work got us to the Moon."

In 1983, he was appointed to the R.B. Curran Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. In Austin, Victor continued his work on celestial mechanics which involved the development of methods to navigate spacecraft to the Moon and to other planets in the solar system. In doing this work, he developed relationships with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the NASA-Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, which have the missions of developing and operating spacecraft for planetary exploration and developing spacecraft to carry people, respectively. He made important contributions to the development of both of these institutions.

He was the author of several books. His first book, The Theory of Orbits, is an important text on orbital mechanics. His first marriage, to Eva Szebehely, ended in divorce, as did his second to Patti Gill Szebehely. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter from his second marriage Julia Agnes Szebehely of Webster, Texas.

- Read "In Memoriam" at the University of Texas
- See the New York Times obituary
- Öt éve nincs köztünk Szebehely Győző


Péter Gergely (b. 1936 Budapest , d. 1995 Ithaca, New York): Architect and Structural Engineer: Founder of the National Center for Earthquake EngineeringPéter Gergely (b. 1936 Budapest , d. 1995 Ithaca, New York)
Architect and Structural Engineer: Founder of the National Center for Earthquake Engineering

Peter Gergely completed his studies in Hungary, Canada and the United States and received his Ph.D. in 1963. He fought as a University National Guard in the Hungarian Freedom Fight of 1956 and escaped to the US from the Soviet invasion. For 32 years he was a professor at Cornell University. From 1983-88 he was chair of the Department of Structural Engineering and from 1985-88 director of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

Gergely's research and discoveries, published in over 100 scientific papers, led to significant advancements in understanding the mechanics of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete and its application to building codes. He also made pioneering contributions in structural dynamics and earthquake engineering. His discoveries provided answers to many previous problems that occured in areas of moderate seismicity. His improved building codes for structures, especially nuclear plants in earthquake zones are used on a national level. Much of his discoveries were realized through the National Center for Earthquake Engineering which he helped found. He volunteered in many scientific associations and received six international awards. In 1992, Gergely, a dedicated Hungarian, received an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Budapest for his international activities in the advancement of the construction industry and improvement of reinforced concrete.

- See Hungarian Inventors


Alfred Haar -(b. 10/11/1885 Budapest, d. 3/16/1933 Szeged, Hungary.): Mathematician: Introduced a measure on groups, now called the Haar measure, used by von Neumann, and other notablesAlfred Haar -(b. 10/11/1885 Budapest, d. 3/16/1933 Szeged, Hungary.)
Mathematician: Introduced a measure on groups, now called the Haar measure, used by von Neumann, and other notables

In 1903, in his final year in school, Alfréd Haar won first prize in the Eötvös contest in mathematics. Haar travelled to Germany in 1904 to study at Göttingen and there he studied under Hilbert's supervision, obtaining his doctorate in 1909.

Haar then taught at Göttingen until 1912 when he returned to Hungary and held chairs at the university in Kolozsvár (which is now Cluj in Romania), Budapest University and Szeged University. In fact after Word War I Kolozsvár was no longer in Hungary, so the University there had to move within Hungarian borders and it moved to Szeged, where there had previously been no university. Haar, together with Riesz, rapidly made a major mathematical centre from the new university. In 1932 he introduced a measure on groups, now called the Haar measure, used by von Neumann, and other notables. 

- For more visit: Haar or Hungarian mathematicians and physicists


Rudolf Emil Kálmán - (b. May 19, 1930, Budapest): Mathematician: Developed the Kálmán Filter which is the "greatest discovery in statistics in our century." Kalman filtering is also the method used in GPS (Global Positioning Systems) for navigation. Rudolf Emil Kálmán - (b. May 19, 1930, Budapest)
Mathematician: Developed the Kálmán Filter which is the "greatest discovery in statistics in our century." Kalman filtering is also the method used in GPS (Global Positioning Systems) for navigation. 

Kalman emigrated to the US in 1943 and received the bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953 and 1954 respectively. He received the doctorate degree (D. Sci.) from Columbia University in 1957. In the early years of his career he held research positions at IBM and at the Research Institute for Advanced Studies in Baltimore. From 1962 to 1971, he was at Stanford University. In 1971, he became a graduate research professor and director of the Center for Mathematical System Theory at the University of Florida, recently retiring with emeritus status. 

Kalman's contributions to control theory and to applied mathematics and engineering in general have been widely recognized. In 1985, he was one of four recipients of the Kyoto Prize, inaugurated in that year by the Inamori Foundation of Japan. The Kyoto prize, which in 1985 carried a cash award of 45 million yen (then about $200,000), is sometimes referred to as the "Japanese Nobel prize." It recognizes "outstanding intellectual or creative activities which have significantly enriched the human experience." Kalman received the prize in the field of advanced technology. Among the other honors Kalman has received are the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' highest award, the Medal of Honor (1974), and the American Mathematical Society's Steele Prize (1986), which recognized the fundamental importance of the papers on linear filtering Kalman published in 1960 and 1961. Kalman is a member of the French, Hungarian, and Russian Academies of Sciences and of the National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Read more at: Kálmán I or Kálmán II or learn about the Kalman Filter


Arthur Erdélyi - (b. 10/2/1908, Budapest, Hungary, d. 12/12/1977 Edinburgh, Scotland), Mathematician - His works are cited as "the most widely cited mathematical works of all time and a basic reference source for generations of applied mathematicians and physicists throughout the world." Arthur Erdélyi - (b. 10/2/1908, Budapest, Hungary, d. 12/12/1977 Edinburgh, Scotland)
Mathematician - His works are cited as "the most widely cited mathematical works of all time and a basic reference source for generations of applied mathematicians and physicists throughout the world.

Erdelyi attended primary and secondary schools in Budapest from 1914 to 1926. He went to Brno, Czechoslovakia to study electrical engineering. However, after winning prizes in a mathematics competition in his first year he was persuaded to study mathematics. He began research in mathematics and his first paper was published in 1930.

By the end of 1936 Arthur had 18 papers in print, another 11 appearing in 1937. Arthur wrote no doctoral thesis, he merely matriculated at the University of Prague, and submitted his papers instead of a thesis. He was awarded a doctorate in 1938 but because of the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia he was told he had to leave the country by the end of 1938 or be sent to a concentration camp. He made it to Scotland where he held a research grant from Edinburgh and later became a lecturer there. 

In 1947 Erdélyi arrived in Caltech as a Visiting Professor. After returning to Edinburgh for session 1948/49 he resigned in 1949 to take up a chair in California. At Caltech Erdélyi headed a team which produced 3 volumes of Higher Transcendental Functions and 2 volumes of Tables of Integral Transforms.  

In 1964 he returned to Edinburgh where a second chair of mathematics had been created to provide leadership since Aitken was in very poor health. He remained in Edinburgh until his death, continuing a steady stream of high quality papers up to the time of his death. A list of 178 mathematical papers and articles. Erdélyi received many honours, the most prestigious being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1975.

To see more, visit the Mathematical History Archive: Erdélyi


Madeleine Forró Barnóthy: Astrophysicist, Pioneer in the study of Cosmic Radiation, Bio-Magnetism and Magnetic Therapy, first Woman to earn a doctorate in physics in Hungary!Madeleine Forró Barnóthy (b. Zsámbok, Hungary 1904, d. Chicago, Illinois 1993)
Astrophysicist, Pioneer in the study of Cosmic Radiation, Bio-Magnetism and Magnetic Therapy, first Woman to earn a doctorate in physics in Hungary!

Barnothy studied in Budapest and Göttingen, Germany. In 1928 she earned her doctorate in physics. From 1928 to 1948 she was a physics professor at the Budapest University. In 1948 she settled in the USA with Jenö Barnóthy, her husband and fellow scientist. First she taught physics at the Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois. In 1955 both Barnóthy's were asked to lead a company which manufactured radiological research instruments. At the same time (1953-1959) Madeleine Forró Barnóthy was also teaching physics at the University of Illinois.

Barnothy specialized in cosmic radiation, astro and nuclear physics and biomagnetism. She was the author of over 150 scientific papers and editor of the two-volume book Biological Effects of Magnetic Fields (1964). Already in 1964 Dr. Madeleine F. Barnóthy predicted that the magnetic field will in due time develop into a powerful new analytic and therapeutic tool of medicine. Her last scientific article concerning astronomy (What is Time?), co-written with husband Jenö Barnóthy, was published in 1991, two years before her death. She was a member of numerous American and international scientific associations. Forró Barnóthy was a pioneer in the research of the phenomena of cosmic radiation, a prerequisite for conquering the universe.

- See Hungarian Inventors
- Read about Electromagnetic Healing


George Pólya: Mathematician: "The Great Teacher"George Pólya - (b. 12/13/1887 Budapest, d. 9/7/1985 Palo Alto, California)
Mathematician: "The Great Teacher"

Polya worked in probability, analysis, number theory, geometry, combinatorics and mathematical physics. He left Hungary for Brown University for two years and later took up an appointment at Stanford. He enjoyed the esteem of the mathematical community not only for his deep and influential contributions in a variety of mathematical fields, but also for his groundbreaking work in the teaching of mathematics. His standing in the latter area could rest solely on his having written one of the most widely read books in mathematics, the still-popular How to Solve It. Various other books were almost equally influential, however: Mathematical Discovery and Mathematics and Plausible Reasoning, to name but two.

In addition to his championing problem-solving, he contributed to mathematics important results in complex and real analysis, inequalities, mathematical physics, combinatorics, probability theory, number theory and geometry. He coined the phrases "random walk" and "central limit theorem" and gave to mathematics the Pólya Enumeration Theorem, along with many other ideas used widely today.

- For more: Pólya (you can even buy a T-Shirt with his "necklace theorem") or
- Review and buy an biography, "Random Walks of  George Polya"


Alfréd Rényi - (b. 3/30/21 Budapest, d. 2/1/70 Budapest) - Mathematician. Discovered "one of the strongest methods of analytical number theory." Alfréd Rényi - (b. 3/30/21 Budapest, d. 2/1/70 Budapest)
Mathematician. Discovered "one of the strongest methods of analytical number theory." 

His scientific work covers almost all of mathematics; he has made relevant contributions in all branches, and was founder of the Hungarian Probability Theory School. His research departed from Number Theory. Known by the nickname of Buba, he is best remembered for proving that every even integer is the sum of a prime and an almost prime number (one with only two prime factors). He finished his studies in Budapest. After graduation he won a competition in Greek language, and from 1940 on he was a student of Lipót Fejér in Budapest. During Word War II he was in a labor camp. He finished his PhD studies in Szeged under Friedrich Riesz in 194. He is also remembered as the author of the anecdotes:

"A mathematician is a machine for converting coffee into theorems"

"If I feel unhappy, I do mathematics to become happy. If I am happy, I do mathematics to keep happy"

Renyi was the founder, and for 20 years the director, of the Mathematical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was a famous raconteur remembered for many performances of his dialogue, which he spoke with his daughter, on the nature of mathematics. He received the Kossuth Prize twice (1949, 1954).

- For more, visit: Rényi or www.renyi.hu
-
  See the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences


Paul Turán: Mathematician: Erdos's closest friend and collaborator and Great Hungarian number theoristPaul Turán - (b. 8/28/10 Budapest, d. 9/26/76 Budapest)
Mathematician: Erdos's closest friend and collaborator and Great Hungarian number theorist

Turán's first work was on probabilistic number theory and in 1938 he produced the sum-power method. He died of cancer with his wife at his bedside. She reported that the last words he murmured were "Big Oh of One." Mathematicians tell this story with awe and inspiration as he was doing number theory to the very end!

For photo and more visit: Turán


Gabor Szegö: Mathematician: Head of University of Stanford MathematicsGabor Szegö - (b. 1/20/1895 Kunhegyes, Hungary, d.: 8/7/85 Palo Alto, California)
Mathematician: Head of University of Stanford Mathematics 

Szego received his Ph.D. in Vienna in 1918.  After teaching at the Technical School of Budapest and the University of Berlin, he went to the University of Koenigsberg where he was Professor of Mathematics from 1926 to 1934.   With the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany in the 1930's, it became necessary for him to leave.  By this time an analyst of great stature,  he was offered a temporary position at Washington University in 1934.  

During the years 1934-1936, he was supported by a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, matched by The Emergency Committee in Aid of Displaced German Scholars, and for the next two years by contributions from local philanthropists.  Szego remained at Washington University until 1938, when he accepted an offer to become Head of the Mathematics Department at Stanford.  Szego remained at Stanford until his retirement in 1960. Szegö's most important work was in the area of Orthogonal Polynomials and Toeplitz matrices. 

The bust in Stanford's courtyard is one of two copies of the original sculpture (located in front of the Town Library in his city of birth, Kunhegyes, Hungary).  Contributions from mathematics alumni and faculty made the bust possible, and it was dedicated in a ceremony on May 8, 1997.  The other copy of the original is at Stanford University. 

- For more: Szegö


József Petzvál: Inventor: A Founder of Photography: His Work allowed for construction of modern cameras and made practical portrait-photography possible. Invented Photographic Objective Lens, Darkroom, Opera Glass, and perfected the telescopeJózsef Petzvál (b.1807 in Szepesbéla, Hungary, now called Spisska Bela in Slovakia; d.1891 in Vienna, Austria)
Inventor: A Founder of Photography: His Work allowed for construction of modern cameras and made practical portrait-photography possible. Invented Photographic Objective Lens, Darkroom, Opera Glass, and perfected the telescope

Petzval is best remembered for his work on optical lenses and lens aberration done in the early 1840's (Petzval curvature is named after him) which allowed the construction of modern cameras. Petzval produced an achromatic portrait lens that was vastly superior to the simple meniscus lens then in use. The Petzval lens, though a very old design form, is still a mainstay in lens libraries. 

There are different versions of Petzval's name, and, in addition to the one given here, he is often known as Jozef Maximilian Petzval. Jozef was the son of a schoolmaster and he attended school in Levoca (original Hungarian name needed) and Kassa (now Kosice after Slovak annexation). In 1826 he entered the University of Pest to study philosophy and mathematics. Petzval became an assistant at the University of Pest in 1835. Then, two years later, he accepted a chair of mathematics at the University of Vienna. At the University of Vienna he studied in detail Daguerre's invention, the so-called daguerreotype, and took on shortening its exposure time from minutes to seconds. 

A tragic story:
A colleague suggested Petzval design a new camera lens to compete in a prize competition. Petzval initially resisted (precisely as Ernst Abbe was to resist Carl Zeiss's similar suggestion a generation later) but soon relented and began work. Petzval obtained the assistance of three corporals and eight gunners from the Austrian army at the direction of Archduke Ludwig, then Director-General of Artillery, to aid in his calculations. Within six months, the design was completed and took the photographic world by storm. In 1840, his extraordinary mathematical talent allowed him to assess and build an anastigmatic with six times greater luminosity. 

Petzval knew Peter Wilhelm Frederich Voigtlander, then head of a small optical shop, who began producing the lens. Voigtlander refused to render an accounting to Petzval, and the two men had a falling out in 1845. Petzval began grumbling about having been cheated, so Voigtlander opened a branch operation in Braunschweig, in the Germanies, in 1849, where the Petzval lens was produced in great quantity, some 60,000 lenses being made in the first twenty years of production. Petzval turned to another optical house, that of Dietzler, in 1854. Petzval only held an Austrian patent, so the Petzval Portrait Lens was made simultaneously in Vienna by Dietzler and by Voigtlander in Braunschweig; Habsburg law did not run into the Germanies by this date, so Voigtlander could operate with some immunity in Braunschweig. Deitzler failed in 1862, and Petzval seems to have threatened to take the matter to law, so Voigtlander closed his Austrian operations in 1866, clearly in great favor with the Habsburg court, as he was accorded the "von" moniker in that same year. The end result was that Petzval lived until 1891, an embittered and impoverished man who had completely turned his back on optics; PWF Voigtlander retired in 1876 and died old and rich two years later, having seen his firm expand from a small optical shop to a major industrial enterprise upon the grand success of the Petzval lens. His son, Friedrich Ritter von Voigtlander, was the last family member to run the business; when he died in 1924, his five daughters became the owners and sold the concern to the Schering drug company, who, in turn, sold it to Zeiss in 1950.

Trivia:

  • Petzval also perfected the telescope and designed the opera glass. 
  • There is a Crater Petzval on the moon! Named in memory of the mathematician, professor and inventor at the University of Vienna. With his Petzval lens many minor planets were discovered by means of this portrait design at the end of the nineteenth century.
  • He is buried at Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) in Vienna along with Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart.

A street in Vienna bears his name as does a crater on the far side of the Moon

- Nice detail on Scribblers-Inc or
- Visit Petzval at St. Andrews University


János Kornai - Economist, Harvard Professor: Developed the "economics of shortage" theoryJános Kornai - Economist, Harvard Professor
Developed the "economics of shortage" theory

Kornai's distinguished career in economics reflects a unique combination of East-West experiences. Born and educated in Hungary, Professor Kornai was an early critic of centralized economies. His PhD dissertation, entitled ‘Overcentralization’, written before and published after the 1956 Hungarian Revolution by Oxford University Press, was the first critical book on the command economy written by an ‘insider’.  The work caused considerable controversy in Hungary and elsewhere, and Professor Kornai lost his job in Hungary as a university professor because of it. Yet, he continued to live and work in Hungary, and is respected both for his decision to remain there and for his many contributions since then to economics in general and to the Hungarian transition in particular. 

His most influential book on the subject was The Economics of Shortage, which demonstrated that chronic shortages are not consequences of planners’ errors or the wrong prices, but rather inevitable consequences of the traditional, ‘classical’ communist system. The book has been translated into many languages – in China it has sold over 100,000 copies. Over the years, Professor Kornai has written a series of books questioning general equilibrium theory and analyzing economic shortage and the communist system. In light of the recent social and economic changes in Central and Eastern Europe, much of his written work has turned out to be prophetic.

Professor Kornai joined the faculty of Harvard University on a part-time basis in 1986 and was named the Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics there in 1992. His ties to Hungary remain strong: In 1992, he became a Permanent Fellow of the Collegium Budapest, Institute for Advanced Study; and, since 1967, he has been a Research Professor at the Institute of Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has been President of the Econometric Society and the European Economic Association. He is a Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and of five other Academies. He has received the highest Hungarian prizes for scholarship, as well as the Seidman Award (USA), and the Humboldt Prize (Germany); he has also been made an Officier of the Legion d'Honneur.

- Read More or
- Read the interview: "Turning Visions into Reality"


Kornél Szilvay
Officer in the Fire Brigade: Father of the Dry Fire Extinguisher!

Kornel Szilvay patented his dry extinguisher in 1923. This device sprayed a powder (sodium bicarbonate) onto the fire with compressed inert gas. His equipment came on the market in 1925.

- See "Innovators and Innovations"


Kálmán Tihanyi: Physicist: Father of the Picture Tube and Television Pioneer (NOT Zworykin) - Invented the Picture Tube (Iconoscope), Infrared-sensitive (night vision) television, and Flat TV TubeKálmán Tihanyi (b. 4/28/1897 d. 2/26/1947)
Physicist: Father of the Picture Tube and Television Pioneer (NOT Zworykin) - Invented the Picture Tube (Iconoscope), Infrared-sensitive (night vision) television, and Flat TV Tube

Born in Uzbeg, Coloman Tihanyi studied electrical engineering and physics in Pozsony (now Bratislava after Slovak annexation) and Budapest. His most important inventions - bought and developed by RCA, Loewe, and Fernseh AG - concerned the design of the cathode ray tube for television.

He patented his fully electronic television system in 1926. Though superficially similar to such earlier proposals, it represented a radical departure. Like the final, improved version he would patent in 1928, it embodied a new concept in design and operation, building upon a phenomenon that would become known as the "storage principle." The invention was received with enthusiasm by Telefunken and Siemens, but in the end they opted for continued development of mechanical television. 

RCA approached Tihanyi in 1930, after the publication of his patents in England and France. Negotiations continued until 1934, when RCA, ready to unveil its new television system based on Tihanyi's design, purchased his patents. These covered controlling features that the U.S. patent examiners, citing Tihanyi's prior publications, had denied Zworykin's 1930 - 31 applications. U. S. patents assigned to RCA were issued to Tihanyi in 1938-39 with 1928 priority. Now it is became clear that the originator of this pivotal invention was Kalman Tihanyi. Tiahnyi's device was manufactured from 1930 on for transmitting television programs. Charge-storage has remained the basic principle of modern television. In 1939 he submitted a patent application in England for the flat TV tube. 

- See Memory of the World Register at Unesco with history and details on his patents
- Read the 1998 "Electronics World" article, "Rewriting History" about the truth behind RCA and the Picture Tube
- See "Innovators and Innovations" or
- Hungary.com


Miksa Herz
Architect -
known in Egypt as Pasha Herz...

Played the greatest role in the architecture of Egypt in general and in that of modern Cairo in particular. The Egyptian Museum, visited by millions of people every year, stands out among the many public buildings designed by him on his own or together with the Frenchman Eiffel.

- See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies


Count Ede László Almásy (b. Borostyanko, Hungary 1895 [now called Bernstein after Austrian annexation], d. 1951, Salzburg) - Explorer, Double Agent! Immortalized in "The English Patient"Count Ede László Almásy (b. Borostyanko, Hungary 1895 [now called Bernstein after Austrian annexation], d. 1951, Salzburg)
Explorer, Double Agent! Immortalized in "The English Patient"

Almasy exhibited a penchant for new technology early on as he was already an aviation pioneer and expert driver by the age of 17. By the age of 20 he was a pilot in the Austro-Hungarian Air Force. Almasy ran several car and plane expeditions to Africa in the 1920s and 30s. He engaged in exploring the Sahara desert, carried out cartographic surveys, and also discovered prehistoric cave paintings. His name is preserved to the present day by an airport near Cairo. During World War II Almasy served on the staff of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel as head of a group of desert scouts. Rommel also entrusted him with various intelligence missions, one of which was the exploit at the heart of the novel The Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett. 

When the Hungarian arrived in North Africa in 1926 he was 31 and penniless, a bitter survivor of World War I in which he had served with the defeated Austro-Hungarian air force. In North Africa, the count's only asset was a connection with some wealthy Egyptian princelings whom he had met on shooting parties in Hungary. They were keen to enjoy some hunting and adventure in the desert to the south of their country, and turned to the veteran pilot for help. Despite his boy-scout looks, Almasy loved  intrigue. In the 1930s Almasy offered his services to British intelligence, but was turned down because he was suspected of being pro-German. He then started passing his hand-drawn maps to grateful officers of Mussolini's army in Libya. By 1940, he was fully involved with the Abwehr - German military intelligence - and proposed a plan directly to its chief in Berlin to provoke an uprising in British-occupied Egypt, led by a local pasha who was one of his pre-war contacts. The plan came to nothing when the pasha crashed his plane into a palm tree as he headed to Germany for his briefing. By the summer of 1942, Rommel's Afrika Korps was pushing to within hours of Cairo, and the count seized his chance to impress with his boldest plan yet. He would motor with a small convoy 3370 kilometres across the great desert from Libya, entirely through enemy territory, using his own sketch maps. When he reached the Nile he would drop off two agents, then head back the same way. He achieved this stupendous feat of endurance, and Rommel personally promoted him to the rank of major and awarded him an Iron Cross.

Almasy survived the desert campaigns and continued to work for the Abwehr in Turkey, until he sensed he was again on the losing side of a world war. This time he fed his secrets to the British. Even so, when the war ended, he was sent by the Allies to Hungary and imprisoned in a Russian camp. He escaped with the help of friends in the Egyptian royal family, and was bundled into an aeroplane bound for Cairo. Almasy's published memoir of part of his service with and for Rommel, first published in the early 1940s, has just been republished in Hungary. 

- See the The birth and achievements of Hungarian oriental studies
- Read The Real Count Almasy
- See the New York Times article, "The Real Hungarian Count Was No 'English Patient'"
- A great site in Spanish "El verdadero "Paciente Inglés"


János Luppis (b. Fiume, Hungary (Now Rijeka Croatia)
Naval Captain and Engineer:
Co-Inventor of  the Torpedo

Famous HungariansIn 1860, Janos (Giovanni, John) Luppis, then captain in the Austro-Hungarian Navy, constructed a model of his "coast defender," a form of the torpedo, in Fiume, the Royal Hungarian Adriatic Port (annexed by Yugoslavia after WWI and now part of Croatia). In 1864 he presented the invention to the Austro-Hungarian War Ministry, which rejected it. Luppis turned to Robert Whitehead, an English factory owner in Fiume. They devoted the next two years towards perfecting a practical, mobile underwater weapon. On 26 December 1866 they introduced it to the Ministry with a new name, "torpedo" (electric stingray).  After many failures, because of its inability to run at a constant depth, Whitehead finally had the inspiration for a novel depth keeping device - which was to be his greatest contribution to torpedo design and the basis for his future success. In order to achieve a constant depth the "Whitehead-Luppis" torpedo used an hydrostatic plate to drive the depth rudder. The plate was regulated to a pre-established depth by a spring, connected to a pendulum that helped to absorb the more violent adjustments to the weapon's depth. The weapon achieved some six and a half knots out to 200 yards.

The Austro-Hungarian Defense Ministry purchased the invention the following year. In 1868, after seeing successful demonstrations of the torpedo's ability, the Austrian Navy decided to place an order for the weapon. However, Robert Whitehead, aware of the commercial potential of the weapon, retained the rights to sell to other countries and from then on he devoted all his energies to its development. A new contract was negotiated with Luppis, which gave Whitehead full control of all future weapon sales. Luppis died in Milan in 1875, embittered by the fact that he had allowed an invention he still regarded as his own to have been taken away from him.

Two more Hungarians made important contributions to this weapon: Lajos Obry, a foreman at the arsenal, developed the gyroscope and the alternative pistons component for maintaining horizontal direction, and János Gesztessy, a naval lieutant, invented the heating equipment that was needed to prevent rapidly expanding compressed air from freezing.

- See "Innovators and Innovations"


Magyar Tribes - (< 9th century)

The settler of the Carpathian basin brought many new innovations with them:

  • The Stirrup and wooden-framed saddle
  • Leather Processing - So good was the Magyar method that by the fifteenth century, French tanners were familiar with the Hungarian method of tanning (hongroyage), which used the chemical alum. In the seventeenth century "Hungarian tanning" was used in several European countries and especially in France. In the middle of that century, the French tanner La Roche studied leather-making in Hungary. Jean Baptiste Colbert, the finance minister of Louis XIV, invited Hungarian tanners (hongroyeurs) to France under highly advantageous conditions. Part of the Paris Leather Code, written in 1673, states that "Only leather prepared by the Hungarian method shall be used for straps used for coaches." High resistance leather, manufactured by the Hungarian method, was used mainly for straps, load-bearing belts and girdles.
  • Weapons Making - especially the famous reflex bow.
  • Beef Jerky - Their eating of meat led to a unique invention: when cooked meat was dried and pounded, it could be kept for a long period of time. Boiled in water, meat prepared in this way could provide a nutritious soup. Their warriors took this meat and a shredded dried pasta (tarhonya still used in the Hungarian home) with them on raids that could last for months at a time.
  • Mint Methods - The first mint in Hungary was established (in Esztergom, where the King held court). This mint introduced an old engraving method to minting, the edge of the coin (the silver Denarius) being decorated with a row of fine dots. There were several advantages: the dots on the most vulnerable part of the coin made clipping or removing the silver much harder). As a result, Hungary's coinage became one of the most favored in Europe.

- See "Innovators and Innovations"


Ödön Riszdorfer 
Engineer / Inventor: Co-Developed Automatic Camera and Automatic Shutter for Movie Cameras. Father of the hand held, battery operated light meter 

In 1930, Odon and his younger brother, László, following an agreement with Kodak, started production of the hand held, battery operated light meter (in their workshop in Budapest) under the trade name Kodalux, later Superlux. He improved the device and also developed an automatic shutter for movie cameras. His inventions, which were purchased and adopted by leading companies, revolutionized the photographic industry. More than 120 patents were registered under his name.

A new product from Kodak, the Kodak Six-20 attracted special interest at the 1939 EXPO in New York, as this was the world's very first automatic camera. Patents registered by two Hungarians, Ödön Riszdorfer from Budapest and József Mihályi, employed by Kodak at Rochester since 1923, contributed to the manufacture of this camera.

- See "Innovators and Innovations"


Stephen (Steven, Istvan) Kaali, Medical Pioneer, Inventor - Patented Bio Electrical Blood Cleansing Device for AIDS and other blood diseasesStephen (Steven, Istvan) Kaali
Medical Pioneer, Inventor - Patented Bio Electrical Blood Cleansing Device for AIDS and other blood diseases

In the Fall of 1990, Kaali with fellow researcher Dr. William Lyman working at Albert Einstein Medical College in New York City made an important discovery. They found that they could inactivate the HIV virus by applying a low voltage direct current electrical potential with an extremely small current flow to AIDS infected blood in a test tube. Initially, they discovered this in the lab by inserting two platinum electrodes into a glass tube filled with HIV-1 (type 1) infected blood. They applied a direct current to the electrodes and found that a current flow in the range of 50-100 microamperes (uA) produced the most effective results. Practically all of the HIV viral particles were adversely affected while normal blood cells remained unharmed. The viral particles were not directly destroyed by the electric current, but rather the outer protein coating of the virus was affected in such a way as to prevent the virus from producing reverse transcriptase, a necessary enzyme needed by the virus to invade human cells.

This process may also reverse Epstein Barr (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Hepatitis and Herpes B. Responsible users of this technology who are HIV positive, may expect a Negative P24 surface antigen or PCR test (no more HIV detectable in blood) after 30 days. A simplified version of this unit now makes self help feasible. The potential to clean and potentize the blood banks of the world with this instrument is truly staggering. Bob Beck's Sept. 96 Explore Magazine Article notes a study on the life span of blood cells sealed under cover slips on microscope slides. While the average life of "normal" blood is about 4 days; blood cells treated with a mild microcurrent live for well over a month!

Steven G. Kaali is Medical Director of the Women's Medical Pavilion, Diplomate of the American board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, and Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 

- See http://www.riferesonator.com/bio-electro.htm or
- His homepage is http://www.gynpages.com/wmp/md.html
- He also invented a low-voltage birth control device thttp://www.bikereader.com/Bokeh/stories/pulp/edison.html
- Read his patents at http://www.bioelectric.ws/eng/patent.html or http://www.toolsforhealing.com/Health/Beck/Kaali_Patent.htm


József Mihályi
Engineer / Inventor: Co-Developed Automatic Camera, Chief Designer at Kodak

A new product from Kodak, the Kodak Six-20 attracted special interest at the 1939 EXPO in New York, as this was the world's very first automatic camera. Patents registered by these two Hungarians, Ödön Riszdorfer from Budapest and  employed by Kodak at Rochester since 1923, contributed to the manufacture of this camera. Mihályi became the chief designer at Kodak for approximately 30 years and held more than 200 patents.

- See "Innovators and Innovations"


Franz (Gabriel) Alexander (1891-1964)
Physician and Psychoanalyst: Psychoanalytic Pioneer - Father of Psychosomatic Medicine

Played leading role in identifying emotional tension as a significant cause of physical illness delineating three "elementary tendencies", (to take, give and receive) the balance of which determine the severity of neurotic anxiety. He attended one of several academically excellent secondary schools in Budapest, the Minta Gymnasium, also called the Trefort Gymnasium because of its location on Trefort Street. Among its other famous alumni are Tódor von Kármán, "Father of Supersonic Flight"; Edward Teller, "Father of the Hydrogen Bomb"; Nobel Prize winning chemist George de Hevesy; and physicist Leo Szilard. 

Alexander is one of the most important members of the group to which we often refer as "the second generation of psychoanalysts". He was trained in Berlin, where he had several contacts with Freud. He was an independent thinker, and his research interests are so wide that it would be too long to list them here (suffice to mention his renown work on psychosomatics). He was the leading figure of what became to be known as the "Chicago school", characterized by an emphasis on the emotional relationship rather than intellectual insight as the main curative factor in psychoanalysis.

- Read his work "The corrective emotional experience" (1946) with a historical preface


Jump to:

© Bryan Dawson, All Rights Reserved. DISCLAIMER: The American Hungarian Federation® does not necessarily endorse the content or opinions
expressed by its individual members and member organizations.