Famous Hungarian Intellectuals & Academics

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 1 Comte de Saint-Germain

Comte de Saint-Germain
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Famous As: Adventurer
Birthdate: 1691 AD
Birthplace: Sárospatak, Hungary
Died: February 27, 1784

Known as The Wonderman, 18th-century French adventurer Comte de Saint-Germain was also a talented musician, especially skilled in the violin, and a well-known chemist. Not only was he proficient in almost all European languages, he had traveled to places such as Russia, the Dutch Republic, and Germany.

 2 György Lukács

György Lukács
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 13, 1885
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: June 4, 1971

One of the pioneers of Western Marxism, Hungarian philosopher and literary critic György Lukács also taught at the University of Budapest and later became a major pillar of the Hungarian uprising. His best-known written works include Soul and Form and The Historical Novel, apart from his books on Goethe, Lenin, and Marx.

 3 Karl Polanyi

Karl Polanyi
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Famous As: Economist, Anthropologist, Economic historian, Historian, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist
Birthdate: October 25, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: April 23, 1964

Apart from being a political economist, Karl Polanyi was also a prominent Hungarian political leader. The Great Transformation remains his best-known work. He taught at institutes such as the Columbia University and is known for proposing the idea of a cultural version of economics known as substantivism.

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 4 Muhammad Asad

Muhammad Asad
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 2, 1900
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Died: February 20, 1992

Austro-Hungarian journalist Leopold Weiss was a descendant of rabbis and ran away from home in his teens, taking up odd jobs, before finally becoming a journalist in Germany. His work took him to the Middle East, where he converted to Islam and adopted the name Muhammad Asad.

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 5 Thomas Szasz

Thomas Szasz
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Famous As: Psychiatrist
Birthdate: April 15, 1920
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: September 8, 2012

Hungarian-American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who spent most of life teaching at the State University of New York Health Science Center, was known for his controversial claim that mental illnesses aren’t illnesses at all. Part of the anti-psychiatry movement, he penned books such as The Myth of Mental Illness.

 6 George Friedman

George Friedman
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Famous As: Political Scientist
Birthdate: February 1, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

A renowned international affairs strategist and geopolitical forecaster, George Friedman is also a New York Times bestselling author, having penned works such as The Storm Before the Calm and The Next 100 Years. He has also headed Stratfor as its CEO and has worked with various US military and government organizations.

 7 Michael Polanyi

Michael Polanyi
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Famous As: Polymath, who made important theoretical contributions to physical chemistry, economics, and philosophy
Birthdate: March 11, 1891
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: February 22, 1976

Hungarian-British polymath Michael Polanyi contributed to a wide range of subjects, such as chemistry, philosophy, and economics, and also had a medical diploma. He is best remembered for his research on the adsorption of gases but moved away from chemistry after fleeing to England ro escape the Nazi regime.

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 8 Imre Lakatos

Imre Lakatos
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 9, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Debrecen, Hungary
Died: February 2, 1974
Hungarian Jewish philosopher Imre Lakatos is best known for developing the research programme as a methodology. During the Nazi invasion of Hungary, he had joined a Marxist resistance group and had even changed his surname to evade persecution, though he lost his mother and grandmother in the Holocaust.

 9 Karl Mannheim

Karl Mannheim
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Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: March 27, 1893
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: January 9, 1947

German sociologist Karl Mannheim, known for his contribution to the concepts of classical sociology and the sociology of knowledge, initially worked as a professor but later fled to the UK to escape the Nazi regime. He later joined the London School of Economics and remained there till his death.

 10 John Harsanyi

John Harsanyi
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: May 29, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: August 9, 2000

Nobel Prize-winning Hungarian-American economist John Harsanyi is best remembered for developing game theory in mathematics. Known as one of the group of scientists called The Martians, he had escaped deportation during World War II and had fled to Austria and Australia, eventually attaining a PhD from Stanford in the U.S.

 11 Paul Halmos

Paul Halmos
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Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, Statistician
Birthdate: March 3, 1916
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: October 2, 2006

Born in Hungary, Paul Halmos moved to the US with his family at 13. While he initially set out to complete a PhD in philosophy, he later focused on math. One of The Martians from Hungary, he is known for his contributions to areas such as logic, probability, and statistics.

 12 Sándor Ferenczi

Sándor Ferenczi
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Famous As: Psychanalyst, Psychiatrist, Non-fiction writer, Neurologist
Birthdate: July 7, 1873
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Miskolc
Died: May 22, 1933

Sándor Ferenczi is best remembered for his research on free association and the psychoanalytic theory. Initially an army doctor, he specialized in subjects such as neuropathology and hypnosis. He was also close to Sigmund Freud and later taught at the University of Budapest. He also established the Hungarian Psychoanalytic Society.

 13 Sir Aurel Stein

Sir Aurel Stein
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Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: November 26, 1862
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: October 26, 1943

Hungarian-British archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein is best remembered for his research in Central Asia. He was also associated with institutes in British India, such as Oriental College, Lahore, and later translated Kalhana’s Rajatarangini from Sanskrit to English. He was a dog lover and remained single for life.

 14 Gyula Andrássy

Gyula Andrássy
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Famous As: Prime Minister of Hungary (1867–1871)
Birthdate: March 3, 1823
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vlachovo, Slovakia
Died: February 18, 1890

Gyula Andrássy not only served as Hungary’s prime minister but also created the 1879 the Austro-German alliance with German chancellor Otto von Bismarck. He remained associated with Hungarian public affairs even after his retirement. He was the first Magyar statesman to hold a long-term European position.

 15 Nicholas Kaldor

Nicholas Kaldor
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Famous As: Economist, Politician, University teacher
Birthdate: May 12, 1908
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Budapest
Died: September 30, 1986

Renowned Cambridge economist Nicholas Kaldor was one of the key figures in the post-Keynesian era of economics. He is best remembered for his contribution to the endogenous business cycle theory and the Cambridge version of the growth theory. He is also credited with coining the term convenience yield.

 16 Ervin Laszlo

Ervin Laszlo
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 12, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

Hungarian philosopher and systems scientist Ervin Laszlo is best known for his support of the theory of quantum consciousness. The 2-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee has established organizations such as the Club of Budapest and the Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research. He was a piano prodigy in childhood.

 17 István Tisza

István Tisza
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 22, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pest, Budapest, Hungary
Died: October 31, 1918

Not only did István Tisza serve as the Hungarian prime minister, but he also supported the Austro-Hungarian dualist government. A qualified lawyer, he also had doctorate degrees in economics and political science and also dealt with macroeconomic issues. His father, Kálmán Tisza, too, had been the prime minister of Hungary.

 18 Ágnes Heller

Ágnes Heller
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: July 19, 2019

A significant figure of the Budapest school of philosophy, Hungarian philosopher and educator Ágnes Heller lost her father at Auschwitz. She grew up to teach at the New School for Social Research for over 2 decades and is remembered for books such as Renaissance Man and The Theory of Need in Marx.

 19 George Gerbner

George Gerbner
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Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: August 8, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: December 24, 2005

George Gerbner escaped being forced into the Nazi-supervised Hungarian army and fled to the US, where he studied at the UCLA and then at the UC Berkeley. Remembered for his contribution to research on TV content, he also developed the cultivation theory. He also taught at institutes such as the University of Pennsylvania.

 20 John Lukacs

John Lukacs
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: January 31, 1924
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: May 6, 2019

Iconoclastic Hungarian-American historian and scholar John Lukacs spent most of his career teaching at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. Known for his books such as The Hitler of History, he was a staunch anti-Communist and propagated liberal democracy. He headed the American Catholic Historical Association as its president.

 21 Gordon Bajnai

Gordon Bajnai
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Famous As: Prime Minister, economist
Birthdate: March 5, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Szeged

A seasoned Hungarian economist, Gordon Bajnai has not just led his country as its prime minister but has also been associated with various investment and equity companies, such as CA IB Securities, the Wallis Group, Campbell Lutyens, and Meridiam. He is also a skilled soccer player.

 22 József Antall

József Antall
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Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: April 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Pestújhely, Budapest, Hungary
Died: December 12, 1993

The first prime minister of Hungary who was democratically elected, József Antall was initially trained as a history teacher and museologist and had even taught at a grammar school in Budapest. Later banned from teaching for his role in the Hungarian uprising, he joined the Hungarian Democratic Forum.

 23 Avram Hershko

Avram Hershko
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Famous As: Biochemist, Educationist, University teacher
Birthdate: December 31, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Karcag

Born to Jewish teacher parents in Hungary, Avram Hershko spent a few years in a concentration camp during World War II. He and his family managed to escape and settled in Israel, where he became a renowned chemist, later winning the Nobel Prize for discovering how cells remove unwanted proteins.

 24 Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas

Franz Nopcsa von Felso-Szilvas
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Famous As: Geologist, Paleontologist and Albanologist
Birthdate: May 3, 1877
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Deva, Romania
Died: April 25, 1933

 25 Peter Thomas Bauer

Peter Thomas Bauer
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: November 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: May 2, 2002

Born in Hungary, Peter Thomas Bauer initially studied law before moving to England to study economics. One of the most significant free-market theorists who enriched the field of developmental economics, Bauer had a life-long stint at the London School of Economics. He later received a life peerage, too.

 26 Franz Alexander

Franz Alexander
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Famous As: Psychoanalyst
Birthdate: January 22, 1891
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: March 8, 1964

The son of Hungarian philosopher Bernhard Alexander, Franz Alexander grew up to become a physician and a pioneer of psychosomatic medicine. Known for his research on the role of emotional experience on physical illness, he also applied psychoanalytic principles to the study of criminal behavior.

 27 Ferenc Kazinczy

Ferenc Kazinczy
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Famous As: Former author, poet, translator, neologist, the most indefatigable agent in the regeneration of the Hungarian language and literature at the turn of the 19th century
Birthdate: October 27, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: imian, Romania
Died: August 23, 1831

One of the best-known figures of Hungarian literature, poet, author, and translator Ferenc Kazinczy made significant contribution to the development of the Hungarian language. A qualified lawyer and a civil servant, he was once also imprisoned for political conspiracy.  He also co-founded the Hungarian Academy.

 28 Alexandre Lamfalussy

Alexandre Lamfalussy
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: April 26, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kapuvár, Hungary
Died: May 9, 2015

Hungarian banker and economist Alexandre Lamfalussy was not just an Oxford doctorate but had also taught at institutes such as Yale. He was also associated with the Bank for International Settlements and was the Frankfurt-based European Monetary Institute’s first president. He had also been a BIS economic advisor.

 29 Ladislas Farago

Ladislas Farago
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: September 21, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Csurgó, Hungary
Died: October 15, 1980

Hungarian historian Ladislas Farago is remembered for his books on war and spies, with the backdrop of World War II. Many of his books, such as The Broken Seal and Patton, later inspired movies. In 1972, he shocked everyone by claiming Martin Bormann was alive and was living as a businessman in Argentina.

 30 Edmond Bordeaux Szekely

Edmond Bordeaux Szekely
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Famous As: Linguist, Psychologist
Birthdate: March 5, 1905
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sighetu Marmației, Romania
Died: 1979 AD

Born into a Unitarian family, Edmond Bordeaux Szekely grew up to be a renowned philologist and philosopher. He ate and recommended raw and biogenic food. Though he claimed his The Essene Gospel of Peace was a work of translation, it was later revealed to be a work of forgery.

 31 Géza Róheim

Géza Róheim
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Famous As: Psychoanalyst
Birthdate: September 12, 1891
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: June 7, 1953

Hungarian-American psychoanalyst and ethnologist Géza Róheim is remembered for pioneering psychoanalytic anthropology, or the psychoanalytic approach to the study of culture. He worked amid Australian Aborigines and African tribes and also penned books such as Australian Totemism and Fire in the Dragon. He taught in New York and Budapest, too.

 32 Denis Farkasfalvy

Denis Farkasfalvy
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Famous As: Catholic priest
Birthdate: April 23, 1936
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Székesfehérvár, Hungary
Died: May 20, 2020

A Cistercian monk, Denis Farkasfalvy fled Hungary in the wake of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and ended up in Texas, via Austria and Rome. Apart from serving as an abbot, in his later life, he penned several translations and original books, such as The Marian Mystery. He died of COVID-19 at age 83.

 33 János Majláth

János Majláth
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Famous As: Translator
Birthdate: October 5, 1786
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pest, Budapest, Hungary
Died: January 3, 1855

A historian and a poet, János Majláth is best known for his translation of Magyar folk tales into German. Initially home-schooled, he later studied philosophy and law and worked in public service, a job he obtained through his minister father. He worked and lived in Pest, Vienna, and Munich.

 34 Valéria Dienes

Valéria Dienes
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 25, 1879
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Szekszárd, Hungary
Died: June 8, 1978

Apart from being one of the first female university graduates from Hungary, Valéria Dienes was a pioneering dancer and choreographer, who revolutionized the field of movement art. Initially interested in math, she later deviated to music and psychology, and eventually to dance, developing the orchestics system of movement.

 35 Péter Bod

Péter Bod
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: February 22, 1712
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cernat, Romania
Died: March 2, 1769

Apart from being a Protestant clergyman, Péter Bod was also a renowned historian who penned one of the first-known works of literary history in Hungarian. Initially, his written works on the church were considered controversial. One of his best-known works remains Magyar Athenas, a detailed description of Hungarian scholarly history.

 36 Sándor Bálint

Sándor Bálint
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Famous As: Ethnographer
Birthdate: August 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Szeged, Hungary
Died: May 10, 1980

Born into a family of paprika farmers in Szeged, Hungary, Sándor Bálint was trained as a teacher and later taught ethnography at the Szeged University. He also studied various Roman Catholic traditions and penned works such as Szeged Dictionary, Hungarian Pilgrims, and Calendar of Religious Feasts.

 37 Vilmos Diószegi

Vilmos Diószegi
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Famous As: Folklorist
Birthdate: May 2, 1923
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: July 22, 1972

Hungarian folklorist and ethnographer Vilmos Diószegi scripted history by editing the first Manchu-Tungus dictionary. His research interests included shamanism, and he traveled to places such as Siberia, Mongolia, Turkey, for his research. His best-known works include Tracing Shamans in Siberia and Shamanism in Hungarian Folk Culture.