Hungarian Inventors’ Day Date in the current year: June 13, 2018

Hungarian Inventors’ Day Hungarian Inventors’ Day (Magyar Feltalálók Napja) is an annual holiday initiated by the Association of Hungarian Inventors (MAFE) in 2006. It was established to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Association, as well as to honor Albert Szent-Györgyi, a famous Hungarian biochemist credited with discovering vitamin C.

Szent-Györgyi was born in Budapest in 1893. His maternal grandfather and uncle were Professors of Anatomy at Eötvös Loránd University, which may have influenced his choice of career. In 1911, Szent-Györgyi became a student at Semmelweis University, Hungary’s oldest medical school, and began research in his uncle’s lab.

After World War I, Szent-Györgyi carried out research in Bratislava and Groningen. In 1927, he received a PhD from the University of Cambridge for isolating an organic acid which he then called “hexuronic acid”. Three years later, he accepted a position at the University of Szeged.

Szent-Györgyi’s most important discovery was the isolation of ascorbic acid, commonly known as vitamin C, which he studied from 1928 to 1932. He discovered that the bell pepper contained large amounts of this acid, and isolated ascorbic acid from paprika.

Thanks to Szent-Györgyi’s research, British chemist Walter Norman Haworth was able to determine the structure of ascorbic acid and synthesize it. In 1937, both scientists were awarded a Nobel Prize for their research. Szent-Györgyi received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and Haworth shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Paul Karrer.

On June 13, 1941 Szent-Györgyi received a national patent for synthesized ascorbic acid. The anniversary of this event is now celebrated as Hungarian Inventors’ Day.

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