János Szentágothai (originally János Schimert) was born on the 31st October, 1912 in Budapest, Hungary

John Szentagothai

Born: October 31,1912, Budapest, Hungary
Died: September, 8, 1994, Budapest, Hungary

Degrees: M.D. Budapest University, Faculty of Medicine, 1936
Ph.D. Budapest University, 1942

Positions held


Instructor, Assistant, Associate Professor, Budapest University, Department of Anatomy


Professor and Chair, Department of Anatomy, Pecs University


Professor and Chair, 1st Department of Anatomy, Semmelweis University Medical School, Budapest


Vice President, Hungarian Academy of Sciences


President, Hungarian Academy of Sciences


Emeritus President and Research Professor, Hungarian Academy of Sciences


Member of the Hungarian Parliament

Foreign or honorary memberships of academies:

American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston
Finnish Academy
Leopoldina (Germany) Academy
Mainz Academy
National Academy of Sciences, USA
Pontificial Academy, Vatican
Royal Belgian Academy of Medicine
Royal Noregian Academy
Royal Society, London
Royal Swedish Academy
Soviet (All Union) and Medical Academies

Other honors received

University of Pécs, Honorary Doctor
Doctor hon. causa, Oxford University, Turku University
F.O. Schmitt Prize in Neuroscience, 1984

Professional organizations and related activities:

President, European Neuroscience Association (1976-1978)
Associate, Neurosciences Research Program (MIT)
Member, Editorial Board, Experimental Brain Research (1966-1976)
Member, Editorial Board, The Journal of Comparative Neurology (1972-1980)
Member, Editorial Board, Brain Research (1966-1978)
Member, Advisory Board, Cerebral Cortex (1991-1994)


Do you consider yourself, after all, a happy man? - „Heureux qui comme Ulysse…”
"Happy he who like Ulysses has returned successful from his travels” (1) … yes, in this sense I am happy. In retrospect, despite all of its smoothness it has been an adventurous, beautiful  course of life. - Do you regret it? Oh yes: I regret all the missed opportunities, all the cowardice and compromises of the cautious, traditionalist and law-abinding citizen. How does Hamlet say it in his great soliloquy?

„Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,

And thus the Native hue of Resolution

Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment,

With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action.” (2)

I do not regret so much  my many romantic follynesses, even if some of them had consequences. - Do you regret not having left when the whole world was open for you? You could have become „here nothing else than an outcast, there nothing else than a number in a formula …” (3) or „an excellent Hungarian swept abroad ”… „Let fortune bless or fortune curse” (4); this is what I owed myself, the history of my family and my people, and those who want only to serve, will never be disappointed…

(Természet Világa, 1994. február, 52–55. o.)

Closing sentences of a „posthumous”  autobiography. (Translated by Julianna Víg)

(1) J. du Bellay, 1558 (translated by Jonathan Robin)
(2) W. Shakespeare, Hamlet
(3) S. Márai, Funeral sermon 
(4) M. Vörösmarty, Szózat (Appeal)  (Transl. by Theresa Pulszky ; John Edward Taylor )