On December 1, 2009, three noted Hungarian researchers received the Charles Simonyi Research Scholarship Award at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. The annual award was first established in 2000 by Dr. Charles Simonyi, with additional funds provided in 2006 and renewed twice subsequently, with the cooperation of the Hungarian American Coalition. This year it was the tenth time that the award was presented to serve the goal of encouraging research by Hungarian scientists.
The awards in the amount of 3,000,000 HUF each were received by the following researchers: Dr. László Kollár, chemist, professor of the Department of the Inorganical Chemistry of the University of Pécs, who has made great progress in the synthetic chemistry of metal-organic compounds and the development of innovative, economic and practicable syntheses, especially in the synthesis and characterization of transition metal complexes, the functionalization of terpenes and steroids, as well as platinum-, palladium- and rhodium-catalyzed reactions. Dr. István Simon, physicist and head researcher at the Institute of Enzymology of the Biological Research Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, whose innovative fields of research include such areas as the analysis of amino acid sequence-structures and the physical backgrounds of the topologies of integral membrane proteins, as well as the investigation of conformation, folding and stability of proteins by small angle X-ray scattering, hydrodynamic and spectroscopic methods. Dr. Pál S. Varga, literary scientist, professor of the Institute of Cultural Studies and Hungarian Literature at the University of Debrecen, whose work focuses on the phenomenological analysis of the classical Hungarian literature, especially of the 19th century, by identifying its characteristics and the characteristics of Hungarian identity, and examining them in international context. He is also the author of numerous books and publications, and contributor of many conferences.
The seven-member Charles Simonyi Research Scholarship Committee operating in the framework of the Magyary Zoltán Higher Educational Public Foundation made the granting of the research scholarships. The 2009 awards were presented by József Pálinkás, President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Lajos Keszthelyi, President of the Charles Simonyi Research Scholarship Committee, and Károly Manherz, State Secretary for Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Hungary.
The presentation ceremony was opened by Prof. Pléh Csaba, Chairman of the Board of the Magyary Zoltán Higher Educational Public Foundation, who greeted Borbála Sarbu-Simonyi, the grandchild of the late Károly Simonyi and the niece of Charles Simonyi, representing the Simonyi family at the ceremony. József Pálinkás said in his welcoming remarks that the prestige of an award is determined by the quality of its recipients, which makes this a very prestigious honor. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, he thanked Dr. Lajos Keszthelyi his work in the past 10 years. After the laudations of the awardees all three held short presentations describing their research.
The jubilee celebration was attended by Ajna Pfenninberger, Program Coordinator of the Hungarian American Coalition in Budapest.