László Lovász

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László Lovász
Laszlo Lovasz mg 1867 flipped horizontally.jpg
László Lovász speaking in 2007 at the EPFL
Lovász László

(1948-03-09) March 9, 1948 (age 72)
NationalityHungarian, American
Alma materEötvös Loránd University, Budapest
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
AwardsKyoto Prize (2010)
Hungary's Széchenyi Grand Prize (2008)
Bolyai Prize (2007)
John von Neumann Theory Prize (2006)
Gödel Prize (2001)
Knuth Prize (1999)
Wolf Prize (1999)
Fulkerson Prize (1982, 2012)
Best Information Theory Paper Award (IEEE) (1980)
Pólya Prize (SIAM) (1979)
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, Computer Science
InstitutionsEötvös Loránd University, Yale University, Princeton University
Doctoral advisorTibor Gallai
Doctoral studentsAndrás Frank
Tamás Szőnyi
Van Vu

László Lovász (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈlaːsloː ˈlovaːs]; born March 9, 1948) is a Hungarian mathematician, best known for his work in combinatorics, for which he was awarded the Wolf Prize and the Knuth Prize in 1999, and the Kyoto Prize in 2010. He was the president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences between 2014 and 2020. He served as president of the International Mathematical Union between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010.[1]


Laszló Lovász was educated in Budapest where he showed outstanding ability in mathematics at secondary school. When he was fourteen years old, Lovász came across an article by Paul Erdős in the Mathematical and Physical Journal for Secondary Schools (1962) and was so enchanted that he read it "at least twenty times". In the following year, he was able to meet his mathematical hero in person.

Inspired by Erdős, Lovász won gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad competition in each of the three years 1964, 1965, and 1966. Lovász's first paper "On graphs not containing independent circuits" was published in 1965 when he was seventeen years old. In this paper, he classified graphs in which any two circuits have a common node. This was not an isolated paper for, in the next couple of years, he published "On the decomposition of graphs" (1966), "Operations with structures" (1967),.

After graduating from high school, Lovász studied at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and he was awarded a Candidate Degree of Mathematical Science (C.Sc.) in 1970 by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. At this time the Candidate's Degree awarded by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences was considered a higher degree than a doctorate awarded by a university so it may appear puzzling that he received this degree first. The reason was that university regulations did not allow a student to apply for a Ph.D. with results achieved during their undergraduate years. No such rules existed in the Academy of Sciences, however, because when the rules were drawn up it was assumed that an undergraduate would never be able to produce research of sufficient depth to entitle him to apply for the C.Sc. degree. Remarkably, Lovász had fifteen papers in print by the time he was awarded his Candidate Degree in 1970. Before the award of any degree, he had lectured at several international conferences and published papers in conference proceedings such as Theory of graphs held in Tihany, on the northern shore of Lake Balaton, in Hungary in September 1966.

For his outstanding achievements, Lovász received the Grünwald Géza Prize from the Bolyai Society in 1970. In the following year, he was awarded a doctorate (Dr.Rher.Nat.) from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest for his thesis "Factors of Graphs". His thesis advisor was Tibor Gallai. He was then appointed as a research assistant at Eötvös Loránd University, an appointment he held for four years from 1971 to 1975.

During this time he spent the year 1972-73 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. In 1975 he moved to the József Attila University in Szeged where he was appointed as a Docent but, three years later, he was promoted to professor filling the Chair of Geometry. In 1977 the Hungarian Academy of Sciences awarded him the degree Dr.Math.Sci. He spent the academic year 1978-79 at the University of Waterloo in Canada then in 1979, at the age of thirty-one, he became a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences making him by far the youngest member ever of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He left Szeged in 1983 when appointed to the Chair of Computer Science at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. 


Lovász received his Candidate of Sciences (C.Sc.) degree in 1970 at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His advisor was Tibor Gallai.[2]

Until 1975, Lovász worked at Eötvös Loránd University, between 1975–1982, he led the Department of Geometry at the University of Szeged. In 1982, he returned to the Eötvös University, where he created the Department of Computer Science. Former and current scientists of the department include György Elekes, András Frank, József Beck, Éva Tardos, András Hajnal, Lajos Pósa, Miklós Simonovits, Tamás Szőnyi.

Lovász was a professor at Yale University during the 1990s and was a collaborative member of the Microsoft Research Center until 2006. He returned to Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, where he was the director of the Mathematical Institute (2006–2011).[3]

In 2014 he was elected the President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA),[4] which position he held until 2020.[5]

Lovász is married to Katalin Vesztergombi;[6] as high school students, he and Vesztergombi both participated in the same program for students gifted in mathematics,[7] and Vesztergombi continues to be one of Lovász's frequent research collaborators.


Lovász was awarded the Brouwer Medal in 1993, the Wolf Prize in 1999, the Bolyai prize in 2007 and Hungary's Széchenyi Grand Prize (2008). He received the Advanced Grant of the European Research Council (2008). He was elected foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006)[8] and Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2007), honorary member[9] of the London Mathematical Society (2009). He received the Kyoto Prize for Basic Science (2010). In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[10] Lovász is listed as an ISI highly cited researcher.[11]


  • Lovász, László; Plummer, M. D. (1986), Matching Theory, Annals of Discrete Mathematics, 29, North-Holland, ISBN 0-444-87916-1, MR 0859549

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The IMU Executive Committee 2007-2010 Archived 2007-12-29 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "László Lovász, Director, Institute of Mathematics, Eötvös Loránd University Budapest, Hungary". fields. 11 February 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  3. ^ "LOVÁSZ, László". World Science Forum. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  4. ^ Magyar Tudományos Akadémia: "Lovász László a Magyar Tudományos Akadémia új elnöke", 2014/05/06 (in Hungarian)
  5. ^ Magyar Tudományos Akadémia: "A leköszönő és az új elnök beszédével zárult az MTA 193. közgyűlése", 2020/07/09 (in Hungarian)
  6. ^ "Édes teher: zseni az apám (interview with László Lovász)", NOL (in Hungarian), July 12, 2013
  7. ^ Taber, Keith S.; Sumida, Manabu; McClure, Lynne, eds. (2017), Teaching Gifted Learners in STEM Subjects: Developing Talent in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Routledge Research in Achievement and Gifted Education, Routledge, pp. 92–93, ISBN 9781317448969
  8. ^ "L. Lovász". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 8 February 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  9. ^ LMS homepage
  10. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-02-02.
  11. ^ Thomson ISI, Lovász, László, ISI Highly Cited Researchers, retrieved 2010-02-02

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
József Pálinkás
President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Succeeded by