The History of the Faculty

History of the Faculty

Eötvös Loránd University is Hungary's oldest university in continuous operation. Founded in 1635 in Nagyszombat, the institution was managed by the Jesuit order until 1777, after which, by the decree of Maria Theresa, it came under the authority of the ruler and moved to Buda, and later relocated its headquarters to Pest. The university has been involved in the natural sciences from the beginning, with education and research in these areas conducted within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Over time, the old departments differentiated and new ones were established, laying a more substantial foundation for today's national education in natural sciences.

In 1868, Minister József Eötvös began establishing a modern center for natural science education in Pest-Buda. The first building, constructed in the area next to the present-day Trefort Garden along what was then becoming the Small Boulevard, was made for the Chemistry Institute of Pesti University. Károly Than also participated in the design, which was based on the best European university chemistry institutes of the time. Since the university did not yet have a separate building for physics education, initially Loránd Eötvös also held his lectures in this building.

The organizational structure of the university remained nearly unchanged for almost 200 years: until 1949, it operated with Faculties of Law and Political Science, Humanities, Theology, and Medicine. To intensify the development of the natural sciences, the independent Faculty of Science was established effective May 16, 1949, from 22 departments and institutes of the Faculty of Humanities, as well as from the Botanical Garden, and the Institutes of Physical Chemistry and Anthropology. In 1953, the Faculty of Science split into the Faculty of Mathematics-Physics-Chemistry and the Faculty of Life and Earth Sciences. The two faculties reunited in 1957. In 2001, the Faculty of Science finally settled in two new buildings in Lágymányos, located between the Petőfi Bridge and the Lágymányosi Bridge on the Danube riverbank.

To this day, the Faculty remains the largest institution in the country where each of the natural sciences is represented at the highest level. Over the centuries, its educational programs have nurtured or employed many globally recognized scientists: for instance, Nobel laureates Philipp Lenard, George de Hevesy, Albert Szent-Györgyi, and Ferenc Krausz studied here, and others such as Georg von Békésy, Loránd Eötvös, Lipót Fejér, György Hajós, Ányos Jedlik, Pál Kitaibel, Lajos Lóczy, Rudolf Ortvay, Alfréd Rényi, Elemér Szádeczky-Kardoss, József Száva-Kováts, Aurél Török, Pál Turán, and Lajos Winkler taught here. Among the current faculty members, many are recipients of the Széchenyi Prize or other significant scientific honors, including László Lovász, who has won the Wolf, Kyoto, and Abel Prizes.

The university has a centuries-old tradition of awarding its highest honor, the honorary doctorate, to outstanding national and international scientists closely associated with it. We proudly mention among foreigners Robert Bunsen, professor from Heidelberg, and Lord Kelvin, professor from Glasgow, honored in the last century, and more recently, Nobel laureate physicist Werner Heisenberg, Russian mathematician Andrei Kolmogorov, and also Nobel laureate American astrophysicist Rainer Weiss. Among Hungarians, Pál Erdős, Károly Than, and most recently in 2022, Katalin Karikó have been distinguished.

The Deans of the Faculty

  • Dr. Aladár BUZÁGH (1949-1950)
  • Dr. György HAJÓS (1950-1951)
  • Dr. Tibor ERDEY-GRÚZ (1950-51)
  • Dr. Ferenc KÁRTESZI (1951-1954)
  • Dr. László FUCHS (1954-1956)
  • Dr. Gusztáv MÖDLINGER (1953-1958)
  • Dr. Sándor LENGYEL (1958-1961)
  • Dr. Károly NAGY (1961-1966)
  • Dr. Kálmán SZTRÓKAY (1967-1968)
  • Dr. László EGYED (1966-1967, 1968-1970)
  • Dr. Imre KÁTAI (1970-1977)
  • Dr. Imre KUBOVICS (1977-1983)
  • Dr. Kálmán MEDZIHRADSZKY (1983-1989)
  • Dr. István KLINGHAMMER (1989-1990)
  • Dr. Ádám KISS (1990-1997)
  • Dr. András BENCZÚR (1997-2001)
  • Dr. Ferenc LÁNG (2001-2005)
  • Dr. György MICHALETZKY (2005-2012)
  • Dr. Péter SURJÁN (2012-2018)
  • Dr. Péter SZIKLAI (2018-2019)
  • Dr. Imre KACSKOVICS (2019-)


(Translated by Artificial Intelligence)