Published: September 08 2023
Hungary, a relatively small nation, has contributed many notable personalities to the world stage. Among the unique contributions, a significant number is their Nobel laureates. Here, we explore the Hungarians who have won the Nobel Prize and the innovations that earned them this prestigious honour.
Richard Adolf Zsigmondy - Chemistry (1925)
Dr. Richard Adolf Zsigmondy, of Austrian-Hungarian dual citizenship, received the 1925 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His work on the heterogeneity of colloidal solutions led to the development of the ultramicroscope, which was groundbreaking in the study of colloids.
Albert A. Michelson - Physics (1907)
Born in Prussia to a Jewish-Hungarian family, Albert A. Michelson moved to the United States as a young child. He became a prominent physicist and in 1907, became the first American to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics. His precise measurements of light's speed were pioneering in the field.
Albert Szent-Györgyi - Physiology or Medicine (1937)
Albert Szent-Györgyi received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937. His research played a significant role in the discovery of Vitamin C and his work on the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle, the series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to manage energy, were groundbreaking.
George de Hevesy - Chemistry (1943)
Born in Budapest, George de Hevesy was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1943. Hevesy made his significant contribution to science by developing radioactive tracers, a technique to explore chemical processes such as in the metabolism of animals.
Eugene Paul Wigner - Physics (1963)
Eugene Paul Wigner was another Budapest born laureate in Physics in 1963. Wigner significantly contributed to the theory of the atomic nucleus and elementary particles, particularly through the discovery and application of fundamental symmetry principles.
Dennis Gabor - Physics (1971)
Dennis Gabor, another Budapest native, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971. Gabor's innovation, the development of holography, or 3D imaging, revolutionized and impacted many fields, including medical imaging and security systems.
Endre Szemerédi - Abel Prize (2012)
Though not strictly a Nobel Prize, the Abel is considered by many to be the equivalent honour in mathematics, a field overlooked by the Nobel committee. Endre Szemerédi received the Abel prize in 2012 for his contribution to discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, including his theorem in number theory and his work in combinatorial theory.
Imre Kertész - Literature (2002)
Imre Kertész was the first Hungarian to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002. His works, which include his experiences as a teenage prisoner in WWII concentration camps, have captivated audiences and brought complex emotions and histories to life.
Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover - Chemistry (2004)
Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, though primarily of Israeli nationality, share Hungarian lineage. They won the prize alongside their American colleague for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation, a critical process for maintaining cellular health.
Elie Wiesel - Peace (1986)
Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, dedicated his life to human rights advocacy and education around the Holocaust. Born in the Kingdom of Romania to Hungarian parents, Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.
Hungarians have undoubtedly made a remarkable impression on the Nobel Prize and through their works, have made significant contributions to many fields. Their achievements stand testament to the richness of thought, innovation and unwavering commitment to scientific and creative endeavours that transcend Hungary's borders, bringing universal recognitions and benefits.