The Senate of Semmelweis University awarded Dr. George A. Olah, the Hungarian born Nobel Laureate chemist the Semmelweis Budapest Award. The university’s most prestigious award was presented at the University of Southern California by Professor Ágoston Szél, rector of Semmelweis University and Professor Mária Judit Molnár, vice-rector for scientific affairs at the Loker Hydrocarbon Institute which was established by Professor Olah.

Professor Ágoston Szél emphasised in his speech that the Senate created the Semmelweis Budapest Award, the university’s highest recognition, to award those scientists whose scientific achievements show example for future generations and experienced scientists alike. The Award may be given to an international researcher working in the field of natural sciences, whose research activities have produced internationally-acknowledged results, and whose work contributes significantly towards our understanding of living natural sciences, and the benefit of humankind.

“Today, the list of the awardees grows once more and Semmelweis Budapest Award’s prestige, importance and relevance increase on this spirit-lifting occasion.” – said Professor Ágoston Szél in his speech adding that the Senate accepted the recommendation of the Professor for the Semmelweis Budapest Award unanimously.

Dr. Mária Judit Molnár highlighted in her laudation: Professor Olah has proven a countless times that he is worthy of the award from every point of view and it is a privilege for Semmelweis University that such an accomplished scientist received the honour. The Vice-Rector mentioned that Professor Olah has contributed to the widening of our understanding of natural sciences through his discoveries connected to stable carbocations and super-acids as well as his research efforts in the many different possibilities of using methanol. Of course the list does not end there. His scientific contributions also led to a highly economic production of the unleaded petrol and his endeavours may mitigate humanity’s dependence on fossil fuels and thus decrease the pace of global warming.

“Whether we talk about the Professor’s activities at Dow Chemical in Sarnia, his Cleveland years at Western Reserve University, or his research activities at Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute, it is obvious that his determination and genius forged all these periods and endeavors into one exemplary scientific career.” – said Vice-Rector Molnár in her laudation.

Professor Olah has a dozen books and over fourteen-hundred scientific articles published; 150 patents can be connected to his name; he has received 53 awards including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Order of the Corvin Chain of Hungary, the Hungarian Order of Pro Merit and the Széchenyi Grand Prize of Hungary.

By Pálma Dobozi
Translated by Bonifac Makkai