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Albert Szent-Györgyi

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Title: Albert Szent-Györgyi  
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Subject: List of Nobel laureates by university affiliation, University of Szeged, Vitamin C, Hungary, Eötvös Loránd University
Collection: 1893 Births, 1986 Deaths, Alumni of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, American People of Hungarian Descent, American Tax Resisters, Citric Acid Cycle, Honorary Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Hungarian Biochemists, Hungarian Emigrants to the United States, Hungarian Nobel Laureates, Hungarian People of World War II, Hungarian Scientists, Members of the National Assembly of Hungary (1945–47), Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences, Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, Physiologists, Recipients of the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, University of Szeged, Vitamin C
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Albert Szent-Györgyi

Albert Szent-Györgyi
Albert Szent-Györgyi at the time of his
appointment to the National Institutes of Health
Born (1893-09-16)September 16, 1893
Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died October 22, 1986(1986-10-22) (aged 93)
Woods Hole, Massachusetts, United States
Residence Austria-Hungary
United States
Citizenship Austro-Hungarian
United States
Fields Physiology
Institutions University of Szeged
University of Cambridge
Alma mater Semmelweis University, MD
University of Cambridge, PhD
Doctoral advisor Frederick Gowland Hopkins
Known for vitamin C, discovering the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle
Influences Hartog Jacob Hamburger
Frederick Gowland
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937

Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt (Hungarian: Nagyrápolti Szent-Györgyi Albert ; September 16, 1893 – October 22, 1986) was a Hungarian physiologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.[1] He is credited with discovering vitamin C and the components and reactions of the citric acid cycle. He was also active in the Hungarian Resistance during World War II and entered Hungarian politics after the war.


  • Early life 1
  • Medical research 2
  • Involvement in politics 3
  • Personal life 4
  • Death and legacy 5
  • Works online 6
  • Publications 7
  • References 8
  • Bibliography 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Szent-Györgyi was born in

  • Biography of Albert Szent-Györgyi – from Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1922–1941
  • His biography at
  • BBC Interview, 1965
  • A collection of digitized materials related to Szent-Györgyi and Linus Pauling's peace activism.
  • The Albert Szent-Gyorgyi Papers – Profiles in Science, National Library of Medicine

External links

  • US National Library of Medicine. The Albert Szent-Györgyi Papers.NIH Profiles in Science


  1. ^
  2. ^ Dr.Czeizel, E.: Családfa,page 148, Kossuth Könyvkiadó,1992.
  3. ^ Dr. Czeizel E. : Az érték még mindig bennünk van, page 172, Akadémiai kiadó, Budapest
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kapronczay K.Orvosdinasztiák II, Turul ISSN, 1997
  6. ^ Dr. Czeizel E. Családfa, page 148, Kossuth Könyvkiadó, 1992.
  7. ^ a b c d
  8. ^ Remembering Albert Szent-Györgyi. History. 16 Sep 2011. Last accessed 16 Sep 2011.
  9. ^ a b "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1937: Albert Szent-Györgyi". Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  10. ^
  11. ^ “An Open Letter” archived at Horowitz Transaction Publishers Archive
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^


  • On Oxidation, Fermentation, Vitamins, Health, and Disease (1940)
  • Bioenergetics (1957)
  • Introduction to a Submolecular Biology (1960)
  • The Crazy Ape (1970)
  • What next?! (1971)
  • Electronic Biology and Cancer: A New Theory of Cancer (1976)
  • The living state (1972)
  • Bioelectronics: a study in cellular regulations, defense and cancer
  • Lost in the Twentieth Century (Gandu) (1963)


  • "Teaching and the Expanding Knowledge", in Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought, Vol. 1, No. 1 (March 1965). 24–28. (Reprinted from Science, Vol. 146, No. 3649 [December 4, 1964]. 1278–1279.)

Works online

Szent-Györgyi died in Woods Hole, Massachusetts on October 22, 1986. He was honored with a Google Doodle September 16, 2011, 118 years after his birth.[13] In 2004, nine interviews were conducted with family, colleagues, and others to create a Szent-Györgyi oral history collection.[14]

Death and legacy

He married his fourth wife, Marcia Houston, in 1975.[12] They adopted a daughter, Lola Von Szent-Györgyi.

Szent-Györgyi married June Susan Wichterman, the 25-year-old daughter of Woods Hole biologist Ralph Wichterman, in 1965. They were divorced in 1968.

In 1941, he wed Marta Borbiro Miskolczy. She died of cancer in 1963.

He married Cornelia Demény, daughter of the Hungarian Postmaster-General, in 1917.[9] Their daughter, Cornelia Szent-Györgyi, was born in 1918. He and Cornelia divorced in 1941.

Personal life

In 1967, Szent-Györgyi signed a letter declaring his intention to refuse to pay taxes in protest against the U.S. war against Vietnam, and urging other people to also take this stand.[11]

After the war, Szent-Györgyi was well-recognized as a public figure and there was some speculation that he might become President of Hungary, should the Soviets permit it. Szent-Györgyi established a laboratory at the University of Budapest and became head of the biochemistry department there. He was elected as a member of Parliament and helped re-establish the Academy of Sciences. Dissatisfied with the Communist rule of Hungary, he emigrated to the United States in 1947.

As the government of Gyula Gömbös and the associated Hungarian National Defence Association gained control of politics in Hungary, Szent-Györgyi helped his Jewish friends escape from the country. During World War II, he joined the Hungarian resistance movement. Although Hungary was allied with the Axis Powers, the Hungarian prime minister Miklós Kállay sent Szent-Györgyi to Cairo in 1944 under the guise of a scientific lecture to begin secret negotiations with the Allies. The Germans learned of this plot and Adolf Hitler himself issued a warrant for the arrest of Szent-Györgyi. He escaped house arrest and spent 1944 to 1945 as a fugitive from the Gestapo.

Involvement in politics

In the late 1950s, Szent-Györgyi developed a research interest in redox signaling.

During the 1950s, Szent-Györgyi began using electron microscopes to study muscles at the subunit level. He received the Lasker Award in 1954. In 1955, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He became a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1956.

In 1947, Szent-Györgyi established the Institute for Muscle Research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts with financial support from Hungarian businessman Stephen Rath. However, Szent-Györgyi still faced funding difficulties for several years, due to his foreign status and former association with the government of a Communist nation. In 1948, he received a research position with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland and began dividing his time between there and Woods Hole. In 1950, grants from the Armour Meat Company and the American Heart Association allowed him to establish the Institute for Muscle Research.

In 1938, he began work on the biophysics of muscle movement. He found that muscles contain actin, which when combined with the protein myosin and the energy source ATP, contract muscle fibers.

In 1937, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for his discoveries in connection with the biological combustion process with special reference to vitamin C and the catalysis of fumaric acid". Albert Szent-Györgyi offered all of his Nobel prize money to Finland in 1940. (The Hungarian Volunteers in the Winter War travelled to fight for the Finns after the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939.)

He accepted a position at the University of Szeged in 1930.[7] There, Szent-Györgyi and his research fellow Joseph Svirbely found that "hexuronic acid" was actually the thus far unidentified antiscorbutic factor, known as vitamin C. After Walter Norman Haworth had determined the structure of vitamin C, and in honour of its antiscorbutic properties, it was given the formal chemical name of L-ascorbic acid. In some experiments they used paprika as the source for their vitamin C. Also during this time, Szent-Györgyi continued his work on cellular respiration, identifying fumaric acid and other steps in what would become known as the Krebs cycle. In Szeged he also met Zoltán Bay, physicist, who became his personal friend and partner in research on matters of bio-physics.

After the war, Szent-Györgyi began his research career in

Szent-Györgyi began his studies at the Semmelweis University in 1911,[7] then began research in his uncle's anatomy lab. His studies were interrupted in 1914 to serve as an army medic in World War I. In 1916, disgusted with the war, Szent-Györgyi shot himself in the arm,[8] claimed to be wounded from enemy fire, and was sent home on medical leave. He was then able to finish his medical education and received his MD in 1917.[7] He married Kornélia Demény, the daughter of the Hungarian Postmaster General that same year.[9]

Szent-Györgyi in 1917 Italy

Medical research

. He advised her to marry instead, since her voice was not enough. Albert himself was good at the piano, while his brother Pál became a professional violinist. Budapest Opera Music was important in the Lenhossék family. His mother Jozefina prepared to become an opera singer and auditioned for Gustav Mahler, then a conductor at the [7]. His family included three generations of scientists.Eötvös Loránd University at the Anatomy; both of these men were Professors of Mihály Lenhossék Jozefina was a sister of [6] His mother, Jozefina, a Roman Catholic, was a daughter of József Lenhossék and Anna Bossányi.[5] (Miklós Szent-Györgyi's parents were Imre Szent-Györgyi and Mária Csiky).[4]

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