Department of Mineralogy and Petrography

Published on Monday, 16 April 2012

The predecessor of the recent Department of Mineralogy and Petrology, University of Miskolc was the firstly founded department of the Selmec Mining Academy, which was established in 1763. This first department was named Department of Mineralogy-Chemistry-Metallurgy (Mineralogie-Chemie-Metallurgie). This department gave a frame for the education in mineralogy and geology at a university level first in Hungary (and in the whole world). There were famous professors at the Department of Mineralogy, Chemistry and Metallurgy, like Nicolaus Joseph Jacquin (from 1763–69) or Giovanni Antonio Scopoli (from 1769–79). Scopoli wrote his famous book Crystallographia Hungarica during that time.
In the following period the most well-known professors were Anton Ruprecht (1779–92) and Alois Wehrle (1820-35) who gained an international prestige for mineral analyses. The ultramafic rock, wehrlite got the name after Professor Wehrle.

Due to the reorganizations in 1841 the Department of Mineralogy-Geology-Paleontology and the Department of Chemistry-Metallurgy were established from the former department. From 1843 the leader of the Department of Mineralogy-Geology-Paleontology became Professor János Pettkó. He was an excellent scientist and teacher. Many of his students made a carrier and became famous experts. The following leaders of the Department were Professor Benő Winkler (1871-99) then Professor Hugó Böckh (1899-1914). Professor Böckh first dealt with mineralogical, petrographical and paleontological research, and later with hydrocarbon exploration. He became world-famous for the finding and exploration of the oil fields in Iraq and Iran. During his stay in Selmec he wrote the two-volume book titled Geology, which was, that time, one of the most modern summarizations. He was followed by Professor István Vitális as a head of department (1914-23). Meanwhile, due to the Trianon Treaty after the First World War Selmecbánya became a part of Slovakia, and the Academy moved to Sopron.  Between the two World Wars Professor Vitális dealt with coal exploration and he revealed the 20 percent of the one billion tons of Hungarian coal reserves.

In Sopron, the head of the reorganized Department of Mineralogy and Geology was Professor Miklós Vendel (1923-41). He wrote the first Hungarian methodical book of petrography titled Methods of Rock, Coal and Ore Identification. In 1941 Professor Elemér Szádeczky-Kardoss became the head of the department (1941-50). He started his research in coal-petrography and geochemistry in Sopron, for which later he gained an international fame.

The university started to move to Miskolc in 1950. From that time until 1983 the head of the Department was Tibor Pojják. During this period the number of students significantly increased and Tibor Pojják wrote 16 lecture notes in mineralogy and petrography. We should also mention László Wallacher who wrote a two-volume lecture notes in igneous and metamorphic petrography, the most detailed summarization in Hungarian until now. For a short interval (1966-68) Professor Aladár Földvári was the head of department, who was a famous scientist. Finally, from 1983-87 Attila Somfai, then Frigyes Egerer (1987-2001), later Ákos Gyulai (2001-04) led the Department. Since 2004, Sándor Szakáll has been the leader of the Department.

In the last decade there has been a significant development in both the education and the laboratories as the background for research at the Department. Beside the classical optical, sedimentological laboratories, a new electron microprobe laboratory was developed, and in the thermoanalytical and X-ray diffractometry laboratories there have been new equipments. This instrumental background entitles us to deal with new, particular and internationally important subjects of research (e.g. environmental and anthropogenic topics, archaeometry). The laboratories serve first of all the educational and research activity of the Faculty of Earth Science & Engineering, but the Department wishes to cooperate with other institutes in the closer and wider regions as well.

Joomla 1.6 Templates designed by Joomla Hosting Reviews