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Miklós S.Z. Kellermayer
Oldalszám: 628 ISBN: 9789633314616 Nyelvek: angol Fileméret (pdf): 105 MB Kiadó: Semmelweis Kiadó
„In 1996, when I was a postdoctoral research associate in the laboratory of Henk L. Granzier at Washington State University in Pullman, Sherwin S. Lehrer, professor at the famous Boston Biomedical Research Institute, visited our department to give a seminar. Following the seminar, as it was customary, Professor Lehrer met individually with the students and postdocs, including me, to discuss what we were researching on. As we stood in front of the optical tweezers apparatus which I built to manipulate titin, he asked me: „Did you build all of this?” „Yes”, I replied. „Are you a physicist?”, he went on. „No, I am a physician!”, said I. Following a few perplexed moments, Professor Lehrer suddenly turned to me: „Aren’t you Hungarian?!” Never in my life, before and after this incident, have I been so deeply and affectionately touched through my nationality. Of course, Professor Lehrer didn’t leave me in doubt regarding his question. He explained to me that for many years his boss, the director of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute, had been John Gergely, who was Hungarian. „John did not know the word impossible”, explained to me Professor Lehrer, who happened to identify this characteristic with every Hungarian. This incident helped me understand and appreciate the anecdotal story that still lingered at the time. According to the anecdote, in the 1970s, during a Contractility Subgroup session of the Annual Meeting of the American Biophysical Society, someone stood up and exclaimed: „Gentlemen, shouldn’t we continue our discussion in Hungarian?” Happened or not, a „Hungarian Muscle Maffia” existed or not, it is true that at the time scientists of Hungarian origin made dominating contributions to the field of muscle biochemistry and biophysics.
During and shortly after World War II, a wave of some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century emigrated from Hungary. Among them were the so-called Martians (Theodor von Kármán, John von Neumann, Leó Szilárd, Ede Teller, Eugene Wigner), who became the founders of the American aeronautical, nuclear and computational sciences. Also among them was the Nobel-laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi, who was in a league of his own, and who became an intellectual hub in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. It is less widely known, however, that an exodus of further outstanding scientists took place during the decade and half that followed, and these eminent dissidents contributed to the establishment of some of the most remarkable biochemistry and biophysics research schools and departments abroad. It is even less known that some of the talented scientists, many of them disciples of Szent-Györgyi, stayed behind, persisted and tried to excel through the intellectually deprivating years of the communist-era Hungary. This book intends to pay homage to this generation of scientists, most of whom, being intellectual descendants of the World-War-II era Szent-Györgyi group, were eminent muscle researchers. Their life is a testament to the notion that the pursuit of scientific truth is one of the noblest quests of humankind. Decades of intellectual exodus and deprivation notwithstanding, I would like to think that there is hope for a new generation of muscle research in Hungary. Hence, besides the biographical chapters, reviews on some of the most important current muscle topics, pursued in Hungarian research centers, are also included. Finally, the Appendix contains the facsimile version of the famous Studies from the Institute of Medical Chemistry, University of Szeged, the publication of which in 1942-1943 marks, in certain ways, the beginnings of modern muscle biochemistry and biophysics. Finally, my special thanks go to the authors of the chapters of this book for their outstanding work and the exceptional inspiration they radiated towards me!” Miklós S.Z. Kellermayer