© 2020

Mosaic of a Scientific Life


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. István Hargittai
    Pages 1-3
  3. István Hargittai
    Pages 5-8
  4. István Hargittai
    Pages 9-12
  5. István Hargittai
    Pages 13-14
  6. István Hargittai
    Pages 15-17
  7. István Hargittai
    Pages 19-21
  8. István Hargittai
    Pages 23-24
  9. István Hargittai
    Pages 25-26
  10. István Hargittai
    Pages 27-28
  11. István Hargittai
    Pages 29-32
  12. István Hargittai
    Pages 33-36
  13. István Hargittai
    Pages 37-39
  14. István Hargittai
    Pages 41-43
  15. István Hargittai
    Pages 45-49
  16. István Hargittai
    Pages 51-52
  17. István Hargittai
    Pages 53-56
  18. István Hargittai
    Pages 57-60
  19. István Hargittai
    Pages 61-64
  20. István Hargittai
    Pages 65-68

About this book


In this book, István Hargittai, an internationally renowned physical chemist, narrates his life by introducing over forty personalities that played noteworthy roles in his career. The time span ranges from the Holocaust, which the author survived, through the periods of hard and softer dictatorships of Soviet-type socialism, and the current revival of an autocratic regime in Hungary. He overcame barriers to get a high school, then a university education. He received excellent training in Moscow and was active at Hungarian, American and other international scientific venues, and he has interacted with more Nobel laureates than anyone in the world.

The chapters feature such famous contributors to world science as Francis Crick, Richard L. Garwin, Ronald J. Gillespie, Avram Hershko, George Klein, Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield, Peter D. Lax, Paul Nurse, Yuval Ne’eman, George A. Olah, Guy Ourisson, Michael Polanyi, Andrei D. Sakharov, Albert Szent-Györgyi, Edward Teller, James D. Watson, and Eugene P. Wigner. The areas covered include chemistry, molecular biology, physics, materials science, and mathematics.

“On the basis of Hargittai’s mosaic of his personal and scientific life, I could compose two further patterns. One would be the history of the twentieth century and the other the science history of the same time period.”

From the Foreword by the late philosopher Agnes Heller, Goethe Medalist, Wallenberg Medalist, and Hannah Arendt Prize laureate


Science history Discoveries in science Francis Crick James D. Watson Andrei Sakharov Human relations in science VSEPR model of molecular structure Art and Science Symmetry MRI

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Inorganic and Analytical ChemistryBudapest University of Technology and EconomicsBudapestHungary

About the authors

István Hargittai is a physical chemist, Professor Emeritus (active) at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europaea (London), and a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (Oslo). He is a PhD and DSc, and has honorary doctorates from Lomonosov Moscow State University, the University of North Carolina, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the international periodical Structural Chemistry. He has authored and edited numerous books about structural chemistry, history of science, the nature of scientific discovery, memorials of scientists, conversations with famous scientists, and others. His books have appeared in English, Hungarian, Russian, German, Swedish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and the Farsi language. His wife, Magdolna Hargittai, is a physical chemist, honorary professor, a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europaea (London). She is a PhD and DSc, and has an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina. Son Balazs is a professor of chemistry in the United States and daughter Eszter is a professor of communication studies in Switzerland. 

Bibliographic information