In Remembrance: Balázs Győrffy ’61, ’65PHD Died on October 25 2012

Balázs Győrffy, one of the dominant international figures in the development of the theory of condensed matter, died on October 25, 2012. He was born in Eger, Hungary, in 1938, but fled to Vienna in 1956 after realizing that he would be barred from higher education by the ruling Communists. His train was stopped by Russian soldiers and he, along with his friends, jumped off, ran through marshland, bribed a guard with watches, and escaped to Austria.

His academic career began in the U.S.; his entry into the country was aided by the fact that he was a swimmer of Olympic standard. He completed his PhD on the theory of pressure effects on the output of gas lasers at Yale in 1966, under the tutorage of Willis E. Lamb Jr, a Nobel laureate in physics. Later that year, Professor Gyorffy arrived in the UK, where he would go on to hold postdoctoral research positions at University College London, Queen Mary College (as it was then) and the University of Sheffield. In 1970, he joined the physics department at the University of Bristol as a lecturer, and he became a professor there in 1987.

He was perhaps best known for his contributions to the theory of metallic alloys, where he developed a powerful and tractable approach for calculating the electronic structure that continues to be a key tool for materials scientists. He is also thought to be the first person to coin the term electron "glue" to describe the role of electrons in determining the structure and properties of metallic materials.

Read his full obituary here.

Post a remembrance