About BRC - History - Lajos Keszthelyi

Lajos Keszthelyi

Kaposvár, 15 February 1927
Teacher of Mathematics and Physics

Director General of the BRC of the HAS („MTA”): 1989 – 1993
Director of the Institute of Biophysics of the BRC of the HAS („MTA”):
1976 – 1993


Lajos Keszthelyi works as an atomic physicist and biophysicist. He graduated as a teacher of mathematics and physics from Pázmány Péter University – having studied there as a member of the University’s Eötvös College – in 1950. He obtained a PhD in Physical Sciences in 1955, became a Doctor of Physical Sciences in 1962 and is a member of the HAS („MTA”) (corresponding member from 1982; full member since 1987). He worked as a Teaching Assistant in the Physics Institute of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry of Eötvös Loránd University (1950–1951), then became a PhD student of Lajos Jánossy and Péter Faragó in the Atomic Energy Research Institute (“KFKI”) of the HAS („MTA”) (1951–1954). He was a Scientific Research Fellow (1954–1960), a Senior Scientific Research Fellow (1960–1963) and, finally, became Head (1963–1975) of the Atomic Physics Section. Meanwhile, he was also appointed Deputy Director of the Institute of Biophysics of the Szeged Biological Research Centre (BRC) of the HAS („MTA”) (1973–1975), later the Director of the Institute and the Head of the Bioenergetics Group (1975–1993) and a research professor (since 1994). During the same period, he also worked as the Director General of the BRC (1989–1993). Lajos Keszthelyi worked as a Visiting Professor in the USA in 1987 and 1988. He was the leader of the Biophysics Research Group of the Atomic Energy Research Institute of the HAS („MTA”) (1973–1988) and became Professor Emeritus of the Research Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics in 2008. He worked as an Assistant Lecturer in the Physics Institute of Eötvös Loránd University between 1954 and 1957 and has been an Honorary Professor of the University since 1982. His research areas include experimental nuclear physics and the application of nuclear methods in biophysics. He led the construction of Hungary’s first scintillation counter. He was the first in Hungary to carry out basic nuclear physics research with an accelerator and generated further nuclear reactions using the high energy emissions generated by primary nuclear reactions. He made new achievements in the measurement of the magnetic moment of the excited states of light nuclei. He elaborated the PIXE (proton-induced X-ray emission) methodology and introduced the application of the following in Hungary: Mössbauer-spectroscopy, Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS), the perturbed angular correlation method for the examination of nuclear reactions and the positron annihilation method to examine condensed systems. In the field of biophysics, he is an expert in the origin of biological asymmetry and in the research of bioenergetics. His achievements made a significant contribution to our understanding of the bacteriorhodopsin light energy – electric energy transformation process. He was the Vice President of the Szeged Regional Committee of the HAS between 1985 and 1990, an Academy member from 1990, a member of the Presidium of the HAS („MTA”) (1993–1995), a member of the Council of Academy Research Sites (“AKT”) (1995–1997) and is a member of the Biophysics Committee of the HAS („MTA”). He worked as the Vice President of Eötvös Loránd Physics Society between 1980 and 1985, and has held the following positions in the Hungarian Biophysics Society: Vice President (1985–1990), President (1990–1998) and Honorary President (since 1998). He has been a member of the European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities, Paris, since 1991. He is a founding member of the Batthyány Society of Professors (since 1995).

His work has been recognised with the following Prizes: Academy Prize (1968), Eötvös Loránd Physics Society Medal (1978), Széchenyi Prize (1993), Gold Medal of the HAS („MTA”) (2007).

He has been the Chairman of the Charles Simonyi Researcher Award Committee since the year 2000 and Chairman of the Simonyi Károly Foundation Board of Trustees since 2002.