Sunday, June 04, 2006

Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi

February 20, 2006

"A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind." ~Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi

Who was Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi? Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi (1893-1986) was a Hungarian-born American biochemist. His uncle was a professor of anatomy at the University of Budapest, where Albert matriculated in 1911, entering his uncle's laboratory where he studied until interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. He served on the Italian and Russian fronts, serving as an army medic. In 1916, disgusted with the war, he shot himself in the arm, claimed that he was wounded from enemy fire, and was sent home on medical leave. He was awarded the Silver Medal for Valor, and was discharged in 1917.

He went on to study pharmacology, electrophysiology, and physical chemistry. Szent-Györgyi's unique contribution to medicine involved the chemistry of cell respiration and the interdependence of oxygen and hydrogen. He was the first to isolate vitamin C and won the 1937 Nobel Prize for discoveries relating to biological combustion.

He emigrated to the United States in 1937. In 1950, grants from the Armor Meat Company and the American Heart Association allowed him to establish the Institute for Muscle Research at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 1955, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.


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