September 06, 2007

Hungary and History of Science

History of Science is among the latest and well founded stream of history. I am not much conversant with the topics of the history of science. I know only this much that in the university syllabus there is one paper by that name. Secondly, I am made to prepare notes for the development of medicine, art and music for the social history paper which I have not developed even to my own satisfaction. It is other thing, that most of the training in history is in the field of the political history which is not being relegated to second place by established historians in post modernistic period. However, being the student of student or field of knowledge, if you come to learn about a new thing or development in the field of your own interest then you are bound to become attentive when you are laying the fundamental basis of learning that new stream. (No doubt, I am now more involved in learning about digital history. Should it be called digitization of history or hacking of history sources?)

Recently, I came across a new fact, (new at least for me) that how Hungary holds an important place in the development and history of science. For me, Hungary was always read as Austro Hungarian Empire. If any thing had to be said about it, then it was Habsburg family, their relation with other royal families of Europe and extend of their properties in different parts of Europe. In case of Hungary, the only thing which was learnt was that in the middle of nineteenth century, they took place a revolt for separate identity for this region.

Kindly read on the following facts given by Mr. Akshay Kumar and Ms. Seema Goswami in one of the course material of Indra Gandhi Open University, New Delhi.

" … some of the twentieth century most exceptional scientists and mathematicians – Theodor von Karman, George de Hevesy, Michael Polanyi, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, John von Newmann, Edward Teller, Fejer, Haar, Riesz, Koing, Rado etc came from Hungary."

Further, the reason of such effloresce was the tradition of tradition of competition at high school graduate level. The main role was played by one competition named Eotvos Competition organised in honour of a physicist Baron Lorand Eotvos.

The second important institution instrumental in development of mathematicians in Hungary was "Journal" a mathematics problem magazine edited by Laszlo Racz.

Well, it is only this much for Hungary in the history of science. I was just overwhelmed by this fact while making some searches on the net for the names given above, I was just flabbergasted to learn that there is so much to learn about this field. All these facts, though they belong to different field of knowledge but it definitely form the part of historic evaluation wherein one tries to study the activity to man on the basis of the records. It had raised so many question about the actual definition of sources in the field of history.

I am writing down whatsoever is coming to my mind on the issue of the actual nature of the sources in history and the field of study in history but here I have only squeeze out a assemblage or rather an assortment of words which I hope will convey to the one who is interest in pure history the nature of inquiry in the field of history as well as history of science.

Just to wind up without reaching a conclusion, I was earlier highly impressed by the achievement of Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo and Raphel who belonged to Florence (They were raised there and patronized there though they were born at different places.) in one country. However, I now find that it is not one place or Grecian or Roman lineage which is impressive but there are other places and institutions at different places which had added to the chapters of the achievement of humanity.

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