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Scientists who will find: Doctorate in Physical Sciences

Scientists who will find: Doctorate in Physical Sciences

In our series of articles on the world of Szeged, we introduce people with connections to Szeged and who work in some branch of science. In this week's episode, we introduce the life of István Giarmati, a state award-winning physicist, chemist and PhD in physical sciences, and a regular member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

His professional path

After graduating from Orošaz High School, he studied chemistry at the University of Szeged in 1948. He soon became a student at the Department of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Debrecen, where he obtained his degree in 1952 and his mathematics and physics teaching certificate in 1953. As early as 1950, he taught In the Department of Theoretical Physics at the University of Debrecen as a teaching assistant, and after his graduation as a teaching assistant. In 1954, regarding the theory of relativity, he entered into a professional debate with Lajos Janosi, a prominent theoretical physicist of the era and also a powerful science politician, as a result of which he was dismissed from the department in Debrecen in 1954. .

He earned his living as a primary school teacher for a year, then in 1955, at the invitation of Géza Shay, he became a student at the Department of Physical Chemistry at the Budapest University of Technology. He defended his candidate thesis in 1958, at which time he was appointed Scientific Associate, and then Senior Assistant at the University of Arts. In 1964 he became an associate professor at the university, and in 1968 he became a doctor in physical sciences, and at the same time he was appointed head of the department and scientific advisor to the Institute of Physics at the University of Applied Sciences. In parallel, from 1968 to 1975, he was the first head and university professor of the Department of Physics at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Godolo. Since 1975 he has worked at the Central Institute for Chemical Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as a scientific advisor, and after 1985 as a research professor. Between 1987 and 1994, he again taught at the Budapest University of Technology, where he was Head of the Department of Chemical Physics created thanks to his organizational work. After his retirement in 1994, he assisted in the department's teaching and research work as a research professor.

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He also took a role in public life, from 1985 to 1989 he was a member of the National Council of the National Popular Front.


He developed his scientific work in the frontier areas of theoretical physics that come into contact with mathematics and chemistry. Although he refrained from participating in foreign scientific forums (conferences and lectures), his English-language publications on field theory of classical continuum, material systems, irreversible thermodynamic processes and reaction kinetics brought him international fame.

In 1961, he developed the first thermodynamic theory of irreversible nonlinear phenomena and the interrelations of processes with opposite effects while investigating nonlinear response signals occurring in material systems of opposite direction or nature. In this way, he contributed to a better understanding of the kinetics of chemical reactions, as he showed that dissipation, which can be closely derived from the second law of thermodynamics, the principle of irreversible energy dissipation, can be applied not only to linear processes, but also to quasi-linear and nonlinear phenomena. .

In 1965, based on previous findings by Lars Onsager and Ilya Prigogine about dissipative systems, and the so-called Karl Friedrich Gauss. He established the local differential principle of thermodynamics (Germattian principle) using the principle of least constraint. Based on the integral form of this, in 1968 and 1969 he published the general variable principles of dissipative processes involving the dissipation of energy, i.e. the equations of motion that define these phenomena, and from which he found a solution to describe minimum entropy production and minimum energy dissipation. The theory is actually a Governing Principle of Dissipative Processes (GPDP) that describes dissipative transfer processes for material systems in thermodynamic equilibrium, in other words the flow laws of individual quantities. Germati's principle is suitable for describing the development of transport phenomena in space and time, so linear equations of these processes – Fourier thermal conduction, Fick diffusion, Navier-Stokes flow theories, etc. – are suitable for describing the development of transport phenomena in space and time. – To verify and derive them, and thus can be widely used in macroscopic continuum physics (thermodynamics, electrodynamics, flow theory, turbulence, plastic deformation, viscosity, etc.).

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In collaboration with Joseph Verhaas, they established thermodynamic wave theory in 1977, which is suitable for describing thermal, diffusive, and convective waves. The basis of the theory is the assumption that in the case of some non-equilibrium thermodynamic systems, the entropy density depends not only on the density functions of the equilibrium state determinants, but also on the current densities of the quantities of transfer processes. In 1980, together with Sandor Lengyel, they developed a comprehensive thermodynamic theory of chemical reaction kinetics. He held academic chairs under the titles Irreversibility – Nonlinearity (1983) and Entropic Acceleration of Chemical Reactions (1991).

In addition to publishing books and monographs, he was a member of the editorial board of the journal Acta Chimica Hungarica (later called ACH – Models in Chemistry) and the Naturalist.

Memberships and recognitions:

He was elected a corresponding member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1982, a full member in 1990, and was a member of the Academy's Physical Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry Committees. In 1970, he received the first degree of the Academic Prize for his scientific achievements, and in 1975 he received the second degree of the State Prize for the development of thermodynamic field theory and the theory of irreversible processes and their application to many fields. Physical and chemical problems.

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