"...the main goal and aspiration of my life was no more than to remain a good brain researcher, a well-cultured man at the end of 20th century, to maintain my integrity in the given historical situation, and most of all to remain a Christian". (Around the Brain as Ulysses by János Szentágothai)
János Szentágothai and his prodigious legacy
The Educational, Scientific and Cultural division of the General Assembly of UNESCO dedicated the year 2012, the 100th from the birth of János Szentágothai, to the memory of the Hungarian master of brain research.
Who was he actually?
János Szentágothai really managed to remain a true "homo universalis" in his research even during the tough times.
He was convinced that one needs to have a strong devotion to serve for the benefit of both individuals and communities in order to live life to the full.
Make the best use of your talents to improve scientific and intuitive thinking, literature, arts and human communities –- it was his guiding principle. He was committed to do that through his beloved profession, brain research.
Even though he did not receive the Nobel-prize, he remains one of the most influential scientists in brain research to this day. Students all over the world studied human anatomy from his textbooks and atlases.
"Everything he did was truly encouraging: his students adored him, and his workshop kept producing results of excellent young researchers in an ongoing fashion: both science and public life were moved by his strength." (József Pálinkás, President of Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
The scientific legacy of János Szentágothai is acknowledged all over the world.
The impact of his life-work is still traceable in today's science. As a proof, Hungarian brain research was internationally recognised by the 2011 Brain-prize, a one-million euro award given to three Hungarian researchers, namely Tamás Freund, Péter Somogyi, and György Buzsáki. Two of the awardees, Péter Somogyi and Tamás Freund were disciples of the world-famous professor.
Actually, there are no living Hungarian neuroscientists who have not profited from his legacy.
"We as Hungarian brain researchers have all stepped out of his cloak." (József Hámori, president of the Hungarian Committee of UNESCO and one of his former disciples)
Curiosity as a strong motivation
A great deal of information about Szentágothai
A related article published 18 years ago