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Horváth Csaba Memorial Laboratory of Bioseparation Sciences

''Lasciate Ogni Speranza O'voi Che Entrate Senza Risultati''

(Csaba Horváth)

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Prof Ervin sz. Kováts

 

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Ervin sz. Kováts was born in Budapest, Hungary on September 29th, 1927. He graduated as a chemical engineer at the Technical University of Budapest in 1949. He continued his studies at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) – the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Zürich, Switzerland. He received the chemical engineering diploma in 1951 and started doctoral research in projects involving both organic and physical chemistry with Hans H. Günthard and was awarded the Ph.D. degree in 1953. After the graduation he continued his association with the university as a member of the Laoratory of Organic Chemistry and later of the Laboratory of Organic Chemical Technology. He worked with Leopold Ružicka who was one of the laureates of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1930. In 1955 he received an assignment to elucidate the composition of essential oils by using state-of-the art separation and analytical techniques. In this ambitious project gas chromatography, which had just been introduced by A. J. P. Martin, played an important role, and by ingenious use of the new technique Kováts soon made contributions of fundamental significance. Most widely known is his retention index, and his paper published in 1958 on this subject has become one of the most frequently cited publications in the field of chromatography. Later on, in 1967 he moved to Lausanne, Switzerland and became the professor of technical chemistry at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale (E.P.F.). He established an internationally well know and highly respected research laboratory and organized several international symposia on chromatography. In 1969 he served as the chairman of the Scientific Committee organizing the very successful Symposium on Column Chromatography. He was the dean of the departure of chemical engineering from 1972 to 1973 and from 1986 to 1987. He retired in 1994 and became professor emeritus of the university. In parallel he was the professor of physical chemistry at Veszprémi University from 1996 to 1997. He died in Morges, Switzerland, on June 7th, 2012. He contributed to the development of the field of chromatography and to the international contacts. He was one of the leading speakers in most of the international scientific gatherings devoted to chromatography. He also served chromatographic science as a longstanding member if the editor board of the Journal of Chromatography (1965) and Adsorption Science & Technology (1997). His achievements have brought him many honors, including the 1977 M.S. Tswett Chromatography Medal by the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R, the 1986 Martin Award by the Chromatographic Society, and the Memorial Medals of the University of Budapest (1986), the University of Helsinki (1987) and Aix-Marseille Université. He was an honorary member of the Hungarian Chemical Society and the Groupement pour l’Avancement des Méthodes Spectroscopiques (GAMS).

“As a student I swore that if there was one branch of the chemistry on which I would certainly never work, it was analytical chemistry.” Ervin sz. Kováts