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World-Renowned Academic Frigyes Solymosi Dies at Age 87

2018.07.24.

Frigyes Solymosi, the world-renowned academic who won the Széchenyi-prize in chemistry and was awarded honorary citizenship in Szeged, has passed away at the age of 87. 

According to the communique released by wire service MTI on Monday, Frigyes Solymosi was born in Kistelek (some 30 km north of Szeged, south Hungary) in 1931 and graduated from the University of Szeged in 1955. Among other places, he worked and researched in Cambridge, Berlin, Liverpool and Munich. For many years he worked with the research group of the Solid State and Department of Radiochemistry at the University of Szeged and later became head of the department in 1984.

Solymosi’s field of research included heterogeneous catalysis, solid-state chemistry, surface chemistry and reaction kinetics. He had hundreds of scientific papers published in renowned international journals and appeared on the editorial boards of a number of prestigious scientific journals. He was regularly invited to famous universities as a guest professor and was the most-referenced Hungarian chemist.

In 1982 Solymosi was chosen to join the correspondent members of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA) and became a regular member in 1990. From 1992, he was a member of the European Academy. In 1993, he received the greatest honor a scientist can be awarded in Hungary, the Széchenyi Prize. In 1999, the city of Szeged awarded him honorary citizenship.

After the Regime Change, Solymosi became more involved in politics. Previously known as a right-leaning, conservative personality, he was an adviser to the Prime Minister during his first term; however, Solymosi has grown critical of PM Viktor Orbán and Fidesz, claiming that the “unbridled power changed the PM and Fidesz’s personalities.” In 2016, he left the govt-friendly Batthyány Society of Professors –which he helped found in 1995–due to its “servile” statement issued ahead of the quota referendum. He also heavily criticized the government because of its attack on CEU.

via MTI, 444.hu, mno.hu, 24.hu

featured image:  Frigyes Solymosi is being awarded the Hazám Prize in 2014; via Bruzák Noémi/ MTI