Z. Csoma Department of Economy and Cultural History, Károli Gáspár Reformed University, Budapest, Hungary

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Pál Kozma, a scientist famous throughout Europe for his work on vines, was born into a poor peasant family in the small village of Gyulaháza in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County in Eastern Hungary on 11 July 1920. Despite his thirst for knowledge, he was obliged to interrupt his studies on several occasions due to the poverty of his family, and it was not until 1947 that he finally graduated from the University of Agriculture with a first class honours degree in agriculture, specialising in horticulture and vine-growing. The following year he obtained his teaching diploma, again with first-class honours. In 1947 he started work as an assistant inspector of viticulture in Tarcal, later moving to the Technical College for Horticulture and Viticulture in Miklóstelep, where he was employed as a teacher and viticulture inspector. From 1949 onwards he worked in the Department of Viticulture at the Faculty of Horticulture and Viticulture of the University of Agricultural Sciences, filling the post of Head of Department from 1960 until he retired in 1990. From 1962-1965 he was Vice-Rector of the University, followed by six years as Rector from 1965-1971. The basic and applied research he carried out from 1948 onwards gave a new direction to viticulture. His field of research included the flowering biology of the vine (flower morphology, histology, divergence and evolution of flower types, special types of fertilisation and grape formation in various flower types, light and electron microscope studies on morphological traits), vine breeding through selection and crossing (intra- and interspecific hybrids of white and red wine grapes and table grape varieties), leaf analysis for the study of the organic and mineral metabolism of vines and the diagnosis of optimum nutrient supplies, transpiration, the physiological effects of cultivation and pruning methods, the physiology of vine branches, improved technologies for the cultivation of table grapes, and the history of viticulture. In addition to the success he achieved in scientific research, he was also an excellent teacher. His students left the university with a high standard of knowledge and many of them distinguished themselves in later life. In recognition of his achievements he was given many awards, including the State Prize in 1975 and the Order of the Hungarian Republic in 1990. He received a prize from the publishers for his books entitled "Table Grapes" in 1962 and "Vines and Their Cultivation I-II" in 1994. He also received a number of international awards, including the OIV Prize (1964, 1994), the Humboldt Memorial Plaque (1968) and the Hegel Medal, Berlin (1970). He was a member of the Editorial Committee of Acta Agronomica Hungarica from 1967 to 1994 and Chief Editor from 1995 to 2000. Those who were privileged to know Pál Kozma found him to be a good-humoured and extremely well-informed man, with an enormous thirst for new knowledge and the determination which had stood him in good stead in his rise from the depths of poverty to the heights of an academic career. He was not only highly intelligent, but also extremely hard-working, never allowing difficulties to hinder him in his quest for knowledge. He will be sadly missed, but his influence will remain with us in his books and in the work of the experts he trained so well.

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Acta Agronomica Hungarica
Language English
Year of
per Year
per Year
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia   
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0238-0161 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2527 (Online)

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