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Bene, Ferenc


(B. 12th October, 1775, Mindszent, Csongrád county – D. 2nd July, 1858, Pest)

Dean: 1807/08 – 1808/09

Between 1794-1798, Ferenc Bene studied medicine in Vienna with Peter Frank and then in Pest, where he received his medical degree on 4th September, 1798. He was a lecturer of theoretical medicine for the so-called civil surgeons in Pest from 1799. He worked as a locum lecturer of anatomy from 24th December, 1802, then professor ordinarius of theoretical medicine and state medicine (a combination of public health and forensic medicine) from 1803 and 1805, respectively. He worked as director of Rókus Hospital as well as municipal head physician from 1806 simultaneously, but as the two positions proved incompatible, Bene was soon forced to choose between the two, opting to keep his professorship. He substituted for Ádám Ignác Prandt at the Department of Special Pathology and Pharmacology from 1813, and then officially replaced him in 1816, holding this function until 1841. He went on several academic tours abroad. He spent two months in Paris in 1807, then travelled around the German principalities. In 1828 he spent three months in England and the year of 1834 saw him travelling in the Hungarian Highlands. The propagation of a vaccination against smallpox in Hungary was largely done on his account, as in 1801, it was Bene who first administered the vaccine. He held lectures on this subject at the university from 1803 to 1828. When a severe cholera epidemic broke out in 1831, he played a leading role in initiating and carrying out the measures taken against the spread of the disease. He was made honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the same year. At a faculty meeting held on the 25th of July, 1840, he initiated the establishment of the Society of Natural and Medical sciences. Starting on the 20th of May, 1841, the Congress of Hungarian Physicians and Natural Philosophers began their meetings. He was elected dean twice (1807/08, 1808/09), and rector once (1809/10). He was appointed director of the Medical Faculty on 9th February, 1841.

(Major works: Education against dangers of smallpox. Pest, 1800.; A short training on the origin and nature of smallpox and vaccination against it. Pest, 1802. /published in Latin, German, Slovak and Croatian languages, too./; Elementa politiae medicae. Budae, 1807.; Elementa medicinae forensis. Budae, 1811.; Elementa medicinae practicae. Pest, 1833-34. /The latter work was published by his son in five volumes. It was also in use at Italian and Russian universities./)