What do Vitamin C, Rubik’s Cube and Zsa Zsa Gabor have in common?
Did you know that native Hungarians and scientists of Hungarian origin received a Nobel Prize on more than 20 occasions? Or that the Rubik's cube is a Hungarian invention? Have you ever wondered who invented the match? Hungary has quite a few famous natives and inventions under its belt:
Hungarian inventions include the safety match (János Irinyi), the first electric motor (Ányos Jedlik), the Ford Model T (József Galamb), the first nuclear reactor (Leo Szilard), Rubik's cube (Ernő Rubik), the ballpoint pen (László Bíró), Vitamin-C (Albert Szent-Györgyi), the hydrogen bomb (Edward Teller), the binocular (József Petzvál) and digital computing (John von Neumann), to mention only the most famous creations.
Hungarians are also known for their achievements in sports. At the all time total medal count for Olympic games, Hungary reaches the 8th rank out of over 200 participating nations. The most famous Hungarian athlete is undoubtedly Ferenc Puskás (1927–2006), regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all times. During the 1950s, he was captain of the legendary Hungarian national team, the Golden Team also known as the Mighty Magyars. In 1958, two years after the Hungarian Revolution, he immigrated to Spain where he played for the legendary Real Madrid team. Hungary also raised some outstanding chess players. Judit Polgár can justly claim to be the greatest female chess player who ever lived.
Famous for its rich folk traditions, Hungarian music ranges from the rhapsodies of Ferenc Liszt, compositions of Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály to Hungarian gipsy music. Márta Sebestyén, one of the best-known contemporary folk musicians, earned recognition for her performance on the sound track of the film The English Patient.
Hungary has a rich and colorful literature, with many poets and writers, although not many are well known abroad. The famous newspaper publisher and journalist József Pulitzer is best known for posthumously establishing the Pulitzer Prize. Some other noted authors include Sándor Márai and Imre Kertész, the latter received a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002.
Hungarians also affected the world of motion picture. You may not even be aware of the scope of Hungary's influence on the film industry – for instance, did you know that Drew Barrymore, Adrian Brody and Tony Curtis all have Hungarian heritage? That William Fox, who founded Fox Studios, or Adolph Zukor, creator of Paramount Pictures, were both Hungarians? Then there's Bela Lugosi, the legendary actor who played Count Dracula in both the stage and film version of Bram Stoker’s classic cult story; sex symbol Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was perhaps better known for her status as a socialite than as an actress and Ernie Kovacs, whose comic styling influenced numerous television comedy programs for years to come.
When it comes to filmmaking, Vilmos Zsigmond was nominated for four Academy Awards for cinematography; Laszlo Kovacs won three Lifetime Achievement Awards for cinematography; and István Szabó won an Academy Award for his film Mephisto.
Finally, the most well known Hungarians in business are Charles Simonyi, Space-traveler and former head of Microsoft’s application software group; and George Soros, businessman, philanthropist and political activist.