Our famous students

Famous Alumni

Famous Alumni
Did you know that they all graduated from ELTE? Among them are 5 Nobel laureates and numerous inventors, authors, lawyers, economists, doctors, and teachers.

Mihály Babits (1883-1941) poet, author, literary historian

"Art and science are the highest forms of Consciousness that grew on the body of Life... One should not believe that those who seek refuge in books are necessarily trying to escape life. In many cases, they only wish to widen their lives; their thirst is for more life than that dealt to them by their age and destiny."


Zoltán Bay (1900-1992) Hungarian physicist, inventor, pioneer of space research who first measured the Earth-Moon distance using a radar, created the photoelectron multiplier, defined meter based on the speed of light.

"The culture of humanity is based on science; therefore, it shall be disseminated as much as possible. In science, there are no static truths, only  living, ever-changing, evolving information."


György Békésy (1899-1972) Hungarian physicist, Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine (1961): he received the Prize for his research in the physical mechanisms of the provocations of the inner ear and the cochlea.

"In my experience, climbing the mountain from the unideal side can not be considered lost work, as it gives the opportunity to learn a lot, of some, that those who never make mistakes might never learn..."


Árpád Bogsch (1919-2004) attorney founder and Director General of UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

"Human intellect is the source of all works of art and all inventions. These are the things that make life worth living."


József Eötvös (1813-1871) author, Minister of Religion and Public Education, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

"Intelligence was not given to man to rule over nature, but to learn to follow and obey it."


Loránd Eötvös (1848-1919) founder and director of the Mathematics and Physics Society, inventor of the torsion balance.

"The real scientist (...) finds happiness in the research itself, and in those results, that advance the economic welfare of humanity."


Pál Erdős (1913-1996) mathematician, one of the most outstanding scientists of combinatorics.

"Everything human, be it good or bad, eventually comes to an end, except for mathematics. From a certain aspect, mathematics is the only limitless human activity. Humanity may eventually understand everything in physics or biology; however, mathematics is infinite, thus inexhaustible. Mathematics is the most certain way to immortality. If you make a significant discovery in mathematics, you will still be remembered, even when everyone else is already forgotten."


János Harsányi (1920-2000) Hungarian-American economist, researcher of the theory of games of incomplete information.

"It is interesting to deal with different things; it makes life more exciting and can be of use in our field of research as well."


György Hevesy (1885-1966) chemist, Nobel Laureate (1943): for his research on the application of radioactive isotopes as indicators.

"We are leaving the most interesting age of history-making behind, although these were not the best for scientific research, as it requires calm and permanence. Personally, I am not held back by these circumstances in my work, as my interest in scientific research is much higher than that in politics."


Gyula Juhász (1883-1937) poet, translator, one of the best-known poets of 20th-century Hungarian lyric poetry.

"Although Galilei was convicted, the Earth kept on turning."


Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) three times Kossuth Prize awardee, composer, ethnomusicologist, pedagogue, member, and later President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

"Culture is learning itself; it is hard to obtain and maintain and easy to lose. The road to a happier life leads through erudition."


Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894) statesman, Minister of Finance, President of the Committee of National Defence, Governor-President of the Kingdom of Hungary.

"Life shall be brought into science so science can be brought out into life.  Of all movements that support the Nation's intellectual rise and the education of the public, natural science is the most necessary and has the greatest effect on self-sufficiency in the battleground of existence; therefore, it is the most beneficial for society."


Dezső Kosztolányi (1885-1936) author, translator, journalist, outstanding artist of the first generation of Nyugat, immortal figure of the 20st-century Hungarian prose and lyric poetry.

"Science is an exciting adventure. We open doors, search for the truth, and suddenly it is right in front of us, like some fabled treasure, in its own palpable and fulgent reality."


Fülöp Lénárd (1862-1947) physicist, professor, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Nobel Laureate (1905): he received the Prize for his work on cathode rays. The '"Lenard window", the "Lenard tube", and the "Lenard effect" were all named after him.

"Lenard did not get overly confident after his world fame. He kept on working diligently in the following decades as well..."


József Lenhossék (1818-1888) Hungarian doctor of medicine, anatomist, anthropologist, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was the first to conduct microscopic tissue research and the first to discover the morphological correlations of the life functions of living organisms. He achieved significant results in the anatomic description of the central nervous system and the exploration of the brainstem's reticular formation.


László Lovász (1948-) Széchenyi Prize, Bolyai Prize, János Bolyai Creative Prize, and Wolf Prize awardee, mathematician, professor, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, world-famous researcher of computer science.

"Only those become real scientists, who do not even consider doing anything else than research."


János Neumann (1903-1957) mathematician who laid the theoretical foundations of quantum mechanics and digital computers.

"In mathematics, one does not understand things but gets used to them."


Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis(1818-1865) doctor of medicine and surgery, obstetrician, professor of theoretical and applied obstetrics at the Royal Hungarian University of Science of Pest, "the savior of mothers".

"Through the mercy of Providence, I succeeded in discovering the true nature of this terrible disease - and upon this discovery reducing the emergence of it to a degree, that while before at the maternity hospital of Wien child mortality was sometimes 31% for example, at those hospitals, where my suggestions are thoroughly followed, it is less than 1%."


Albert Szent-Györgyi (1893-1986) biochemist, member of the Hungarian, Russian, and American Academy of Sciences, Nobel Laureate of Physiology or Medicien (1937): for the discovery of specific reactions of Vitamin C and the citric acid cycle.

"The brain is for thinking, but one must not only think, but enjoy and see the joy and grandiosity of intellectual life too. Sciences must be experienced. To see what everyone sees, and to think what no one has thought before."


Béla Hamvas (1897-1968) Kossuth Prize awardee Hungarian author, philosopher, esthete, and librarian.

Only that man can endure happiness that gives it away.
Light only becomes a blessing in that, which gives to others as well.
Whatever you gain, achieve, know, experience: share it.


Flóra Kozmutza Illyés Gyuláné (1905-1995), special assistance resource teacher, psychiatrist, reformer, and systemizer of special needs psychology.

"It is always risky to start something new. One has to expect incomprehension, fear of the unknown, and the indifference of those clinging to the ordinary... Some people took those risks because they believed that the new venture they enlist on is useful and good, and it moves the cause forward."


Péter Esterházy (1950- 2016) Kossuth Prize awardee author, publicist, founding member of the Digital Literature Academy. He graduated from ELTE with a mathematician's degree and later became a freelance author.

"When already above a certain level, I would not lower myself below a certain level. Man received his tongue to hide his thoughts."


Lajos Lóczy (1849- 1920) geologist, geographer, professor, Earth scientist, member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Lecturer and Head of the Department of Geography at the University of Sciences of Budapest. He was an outstanding scientist of Hungarian geology and geography. Lóczy was a contemporary and colleague of Loránd Eötvös, with whom he conducted torsion balance measurements on the ice of Lake Balaton.

"There is an ethical reason too for tourism to evolve among mountains. People like to move individually and be the ruler of the freedom of movement; it is an old axiom that the man who walks is the freest. Tourists of the current world of automobiles, bicycles, and motorbikes hang on to this freedom even more than before (...) Walking became a habit of people in the mountains, where they can hardly get by with any vehicle."