1986: Albert Szent-Györgyi: The Man who Discovered Vitamin C

1986: Albert Szent-Györgyi: The Man who Discovered Vitamin C
Photo Credit To http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GyorgyiNIH.jpg

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  • historical event:
  • He found it, among other places, in peppers, which are a common dish in Hungary, his country of birth. In 1937 he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research regarding vitamin C.

Renowned scientist and Nobel Prize winner Albert Szent-Györgyi, whose research was of crucial importance for the discovery of vitamin C, died on this day. He had an interesting heritage; namely, he was actually a Hungarian nobleman, and his full name was Albert Szent-Györgyi de Nagyrápolt. His family achieved a title of nobility in 1608, and was linked to the Nagyrápolt estate in Transylvania (today part of Romania). Another famous person popularly linked to that region was Count Dracula, though the historical Count Vlad Tepes was actually the ruler of the neighboring Wallachia.

Albert Szent-Györgyi was born in Budapest in 1893, which was a sort of golden age for the city. Namely, Budapest was at the time one of the world’s metropolises, and one of the two capital cities of Austria-Hungary. Budapest was the first city in continental Europe to acquire a metro system (in 1896, when Albert was 3). For example, New York received a metro only 11 years after Budapest.

At the time of Albert’s birth, Budapest already possessed an electric network, as well as electric street lighting. It was also the center of the world’s milling industry, and its mills produced more flour than that of any city in the world except Minneapolis.

Albert Szent-Györgyi graduated at the Medical Faculty, and completed his PhD studies at Cambridge. As a scientist at the Szeged University, one of the leading universities in Hungary, he managed to isolate vitamin C. In 1937 he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work. Vitamin C had a huge role in the prevention of scurvy, which is a disease directly linked to deficiency in that vitamin. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) was also the first vitamin which could be artificially synthesized.

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