Martian chemists and characters

Balazs Hargittai, Istvan Hargittai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The five Jewish-Hungarian-American scientists-the Martians of Science-earned their fame both in research and in protecting the United States during World War II and the Cold War. They included the aerodynamicist Theodore von Kármán, physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene P. Wigner, and Edward Teller, and the mathematician John von Neumann. They all started their university careers at least in part in chemistry. They made chemical discoveries and later they also made good use of their background in chemistry. Each of the five was a special character. Politically, four were hawkish and one, Szilard, was for peaceful coexistence with the Soviet Union, but all showed liberal tendencies. This paper brings these scientists to human proximity. They are presented as characters and of their many scientific achievements, those in chemistry are sampled.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCharacters in Chem
Subtitle of host publicationA Celebration of the Humanity of Chem
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages38
ISBN (Print)9780841228009
Publication statusPublished - Jun 5 2013

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

Cite this

Hargittai, B., & Hargittai, I. (2013). Martian chemists and characters. In Characters in Chem: A Celebration of the Humanity of Chem (pp. 167-204). (ACS Symposium Series; Vol. 1136). American Chemical Society.