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Tarján, Imre


(B. Szabadka, 6th July 1912. – D. Budapest, 19th January, 2000.)

Dean: 1959/60 - 1962/63

He came from a mixed nationality family of German and Croatian-Hungarian origin. He pursued his university studies at Péter Pázmány University of Sciences as a member of the famous Eötvös Collegium. He got his degree in mathematics and physics in 1935 still as Imre Richter, his original name. His father was a state employee who - according to the expectations of the age - changed their German name for a Hungarian name, Tarján. Imre was the student of the excellent solid body physicist, Zoltán Gyulai and earned his doctorate in physics at the Count István Tisza University of Sciences in Debrecen in 1939. In 1935 he worked as a trainee at the National Observatory of Seismography, then from 1936-1940 at the Institute of Physics of the Medical Faculty in Debrecen. He was a junior teacher with pay at the State Grammar School of Ipolyság (February,1940 - March 1941), then a teacher at the State Grammar School of Pestszentlőrinc (March, 1941 - September, 1946) and at the Practising Secondary Grammar School (which at that time, changed its name several times, however, it is even presently known as the exemplary grammar school of Trefort Street) of Budapest Teachers Training Institute for Secondary Grammar Schools (1946. September - 1949. September). In the meantime he taught physics at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, then at the University. In 1949 he was appointed head of institute of the Pedagogical College in Budapest, then in 1950 he was appointed professor of the Institute of Medical Physics (later Institute of Biophysics) at University of Medical Sciences in Budapest. He retired from this position in 1982, however, even after this he participated in the work of the Institute and was active in scientific public life. As head of the Institute of Medical Physics, -within his institute- he organised the Research Group of Crystal Physics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1961 and remained its head until 1976. His research group contributed to the foundation of the Research Laboratory of Crystal Physics belonging to the Research Laboratories of Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1976. Imre Tarján was dean of the Faculty of General Medicine from 1959 till1963 and vice- rector for science from 1970 to 1973. He acquired his PhD degree of physical sciences in 1952 and that of doctor of physical sciences in 1966. From 4th, February 1970 he became correspondent and from 7th of May, 1976 regular member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He was the secretary of the Permanent Committee of Physics at the Department of Mathematics and Physics of the Academy between 1952-1964, vice- secretary of department between 23 April 1964 - 4th of February 1970, vice- president of department until May 1976, and president of department until May 1990, while, at the same time presidential member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (May 1976 - May 1990).

In the field of crystal physics he carried out research on atomic disarrangement and intentionally produced atomic disarrangement of crystals, the mechanisms of crystal growth, production of chrystals for scientific and practical purposes, and in the field of nuclear medicine he dealt with measuring techniques and equipment development for ionizing radiation and the medical application of radioactive isotopes.

In the early 60-ies his attention turned to molecular biology, namely measuring the incidence rate and quantitative description of structural and functional lesions in nucleioproteids caused by ultraviolet irradiation and chemicals as well as educational, didactical and qualification issues of interdisciplinal fields of sciences.

Even in international comparison he and his fellow workers were among the first ones to make single crystals for telecommunication purposes. An important achievement of theirs is the quantitative assessment of genotoxic effects of ultraviolet light. He wrote an important niche textbook entitled "Physics for Doctors and Biologists". His famous university text book „Basics of Biophysics”, which was later translated into several languages, had three editions and served several generations of doctors, developed from this.

Major awards:

Excellent Worker of Higher Education (1953), Work Order of Merit (1960, gold grade 1964), Kossuth Prize, grade III. (1961), Medal of Merit of People's Republic of Korea (1963), silver grade of Outstanding Inventor (1970), State Prize (1985), Academic Gold Medal (1998) and the Middle Cross of Merit of the Hungarian Republic. Board member of the Roland Eötvös Society of Physics and Biophysical Society and a number of academic institutions of the Scientific Council as well as a number of editorial boards of Hungarian and foreign scientific journals.

(Major works: Investigations on the production of artificial quartz crystals. In: Fiz. Szle. (Review of Physics) 1952.; Production of alcalihalogenide crystal phosphorus for scintillation counters (co-author: György Turchányi). In: M.Fizikai Folyóirat (Hungarian Periodical of Physics) 1954; Über die Züchtung künstlicher Quarzkristalle (with J. Nagy). In: Acta Physica, 1957; Sodium Chloride Whiskers (co-author: György Turchányi). In: Nature, 1961; Sodium Chloride Whiskers (with co-workers). In: Nature, 1962; Physics for Doctors and Biologists (ed. with co-workers), Budapest, 1964, 3rd revised edition 1971, in Russian 1969 Budapest, in Polish 1975 Warsaw; Über die Herstellung besonders reiner Alkalihalogenidkristalle. In: Kristall und Technik, 1966.; Zur Analyse der UV-Dosiswirkungskurven der T7-Phagen. In: Strahlenterapie, 1967; Laboratory Manual on Crystal Growth /többekkel szerk./. Bp., 1972; Manufacturing of single christals. In: M. Fizikai Folyóirat (Hungarian Periodical of Physics) 1973 and in Physical Publications of III. Department of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1973; Molecular problems of biological radiation lesions. SZÉKFOGLALÓ at The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (on 3rd, September, 1977); The Basics of Biophysics (ed. with co-workers), 1977, Budapest, revised 4th ed. 1997, in English 1987, 3rd ed. 1999, in German 1989, Budapest, 3rd ed. 1998; Science and Practice in Small. Mosaics from the life of Institute of Biophysics at Semmelweis University of Medical Sciences. Budapest, 1983; Memoirs. Budapest, 1995; My Youth. Imre Tarján 1912-1950. Budapest, 1996; Notes. Budapest, 1996.)

Source: Gyula Bencze: Ismét szegényebb lett a magyar tudomány. Tarján Imre (1912-2000) (Another loss of Hungarian Science. In: http://www.termeszetvilaga.hu/tv2000/tv0003/tarjan.html