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Novák Katalin és Stépán Gábor

The cradle of science is also the family – Katalin Novák handed out this year’s Bolyai-Award

The cradle of science is also the family – said President of Hungary Katalin Novák at the Bolyai Awarding Ceremony at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences MTA on Thursday. 

This year's Bolyai Award was handed out by Katalin Novák to Gábor Stépán, Széchenyi Prize-winning mechanical engineer, university professor and full member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The President of Hungary underlined: Gábor Stépán is a living example of how science stems from the curiosity of the child. She added: the family is the cradle of science, too, as it is the parents’ responsibility not just to satisfy, but also to maintain and nurture the child’s curiosity, and so bring up the scientists of the future. 

Katalin Novák emphasized that Gábor Stépán received the award with the Committee’s unanimous decision. 
Paying tribute to the awardee, she said that Gábor Stépán is an outstanding teacher, who his students can count on even outside the university, who has lived and worked abroad in many places, but who has returned home and is currently carrying out his academic work and teaching activities in Hungary. 

Katalin Novák also said that scientists should explore scientific truth and spread it in broad circles. The members of the community can then decide which of the truths offered by science they wish to take advantage of, and which of them they do not. We must also be able to give up on an opportunity presented by science if it is our judgment that it would do more harm than good to the community – Katalin Novák highlighted, and then added: it is not the nation that takes advantage of every known opportunity offered by science that will be competitive, but that which is able to make wise decisions about what to use and what not to use. 

András Perczel, Professor of Structural Chemistry and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bolyai Prize Foundation presented the awardee’s achievements.

Gábor Stépán earned his PhD in engineering in 1994, specialising in dynamics, machine tool vibrations, force control on robots, nonlinear vibrations of vehicle wheels, human-robot balancing, bifurcation theory and chaos. The scientist is a member of the Bolyai János Mathematical Society, the Hungarian Academy of Engineering, the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and the Board of EuroMech. 

In 1988, Gábor Stépán was awarded the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Young Researcher Award and earned the title master teacher in 2001. He was awarded the Károly Simonyi Engineering Prize in 2006, the Széchenyi Prize in 2011, the Leó Szilárd Prize in 2012 and the Ányos Jedlik Prize in 2023. In addition to professional awards from the US and China, his students awarded him with the award for the most outstanding lecturer numerous times. 

The recipient of the first Bolyai-award was the current President of the Academy, neurobiologist Tamás Freund, followed by computer scientist Tamás Roska, physicist Zsolt Bor, mathematician László Lovász, researcher of Antiquity Zsigmond Ritoók, structural chemist András Perczel, neurobiologist Zoltán Nusser, biologist Csaba Pál, linguist Katalin É. Kiss, physicist and network researcher László Barabási-Albert, and in 2021, research biologist Katalin Karikó. 

The privately-funded scientific award was initially accompanied by a 50,000 euro benefit, and since 2009 this has been increased to 100,000 euros.