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The Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi

szgyalbertSzent-Györgyi, Albert : (1893-1986)

Recollection of the Nobel-Prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi:

"Science has opened endless possibilities for expansion if we work together instead of snatching small advantages from one another. Science has helped us to understand and master ourselves, creating an elevated new form of human life, the wealth and beauty of which cannot be pictured today by the keenest imagination". ("Lost in the 20th Century", Albert Szent-Györgyi, Annual Review of Biochemistry, 32,1963).

Szeged is the home city of the Nobel prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi. Albert Szent-Györgyi did exactly what only a very few were able to do: he successfully lived through more than two-thirds of this century covering an era, in which the human race displayed perseverance in self-destruction through meaningless wars. As a young professor of biochemistry at the Szeged University and a few years later in the pre-war period as the Rector of the Szeged Medical University, he magically transformed his Institute of Medical Chemistry with great vision into an international "open laboratory", an intellectual meeting place, where the free flow of ideas, the enthusiasm of his associates and his students assured that science would leap forward in huge steps. He left the country in 1949 (went to the U.S.A) fearing, as many people did, the soviet regime that took over the country. In later years, - he worked in his newly organized Muscle Research Laboratory at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., USA. He really made some big catches in his lifetime: the Nobel-Prize for discovering the vitamin-C and the biochemical steps of catalysis of the fumaric acid in the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Throughout his highly successful years at Szeged, his scientific ambitions and great successes like the Nobel-Prize did not overshadow his concern for his fellow countrymen and for all mankind. He worked passionately adhering to his motto: "Research is not a systematic occupation but an intuitive artistic vocation." His humanism, talent and brilliance changed a vast array of important fields like the molecular mechanism of muscle contraction, metabolism, molecular biology, cell physiology and cancer research. He was a devoted man with extreme sensitivity to human issues. Not only his scientific teachings but also his philosophical teachings are still reverberating: "The key to happiness is not to get more, but to enjoy what we have and to fill the empty frame of our lives instead of enlarging it."