Brilliance in Exile: The Diaspora of Hungarian Scientists from John von Neumann to Katalin Karikó

Brilliance in Exile

The Diaspora of Hungarian Scientists from John von Neumann to Katalin Karikó
Publisher: Central European University Press
Date of Publication:
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Product details:

No. of pages:342 pages
Size:228x152x18 mm
Weight:531 g
Illustrations: 140 b&w illus. Illustrations, black & white
Long description:

By addressing the enigma of the exceptional success of Hungarian emigrant scientists and telling their life stories, Brilliance in Exile combines scholarly analysis with fascinating portrayals of uncommon personalities. István and Balazs Hargittai discuss the conditions that led to five different waves of emigration of scientists from the early twentieth century to the present. Although these exodes were driven by a broad variety of personal motivations, the attraction of an open society with inclusiveness, tolerance, and ? needless to say ? better circumstances for working and living, was the chief force drawing them abroad.

While emigration from East to West is a general phenomenon, this book explains why and how the emigration of Hungarian scientists is distinctive. The high number of Nobel Prizes among this group is only one indicator. Multicultural tolerance, a quickly emerging, considerably Jewish, urban middle class, and a very effective secondary school system were positive legacies of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Multiple generations, shaped by these conditions, suffered from the increasingly exclusionist, intolerant, antisemitic, and economically stagnating environment, and chose to go elsewhere. "I would rather have roots than wings, but if I cannot have roots, I shall use wings," explained Leo Szilard, one of the fathers of the Atom Bomb.

[The authors] "have documented a history of Hungary's intellectual legacy that is both fascinating and tragic ? and, it must sadly be said, one that remains poignantly relevant today." 

?Philip Ball

"The contributions of Hungarians to world science and mathematics almost defy belief." 

?Kenneth W. Ford, author of Building the H bomb

"Reading like a collection of fifty one-act plays, the brilliance of its characters leaves one at a loss for words at the unknown talent that was extinguished, and the danger of repeating the mistake." 

?George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral
Table of Contents:

Foreword (Ivan T. Berend)



Joseph A. Galamb

Philipp Lenard

Part 1, Early 1920s

Introduction: Fleeing

Ervin Bauer

Stephen Brunauer

Ladislaus Farkas

Dennis Gabor

George de Hevesy

Theodore von Kármán

Arthur Koestler

Stephen W. Kuffler

Nicholas Kurti

Cornelius Lanczos

John von Neumann

Egon Orowan

Michael Polanyi

George Pólya

Elizabeth Rona

Leo Szilard

Maria Telkes

Edward Teller

Eugene P. Wigner

"Control"?Imre Bródy

Part 2, Late 1930s ? Early 1940s

Introduction: Before It Is Too Late

Michael and Alice Balint

Ladislao José Biro

Paul Erdos

John G. Kemeny

Olga Kennard

Peter D. Lax

George J. Popjak

Valentine L. Telegdi

Laszlo Tisza

Part 3, Immediate Post-World War II

Introduction: Post-War and Pre-Soviet Trauma,

Endre A. Balazs

Zoltan Bay

Georg von Békésy

Lars Ernster

John C. Harsanyi

Avram Hershko

Georg and Eva Klein

Albert Szent-Györgyi

Part 4, 1956

Introduction: In the Wake of Suppressed Revolution

Laszlo Z. Bito

Andy Grove

Peter Lengyel

Joseph Nagyvary

George A. Olah

Gabor A. Somorjai

Part 5, 19571989

Introduction: Escape from "Paradise"

Gyorgy Buzsaki

Gabor Fodor

Katalin Karikó

Charles Simonyi

Agnes Ullmann

"Control"?Árpád Furka

Conclusion: Thirty Years Later, and Continuing




Index of Names