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Hungarian agricultural scientists who published new research results in the 1950s generally submitted their manuscripts to Acta Agronomica Hungarica, which also provided a forum for the development of international cooperation. When the journal was established it published original papers, reviews, lectures and short communications on agricultural sciences in English, Russian, German and French. It was edited in Budapest, first by András Somos and later by János Surányi. In 1965 the editorial office was transferred to the Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Martonvásár, where Sándor Rajki converted it into an English language journal and also made substantial changes to its structure. From 1983 Acta Agronomica was edited in the University of Horticulture and Food Industry, Budapest, with István Tamássy and later Pál Kozma as chief editor. After 12 years, in May 1995, the Agricultural Sciences Section of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences again charged the Agricultural Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Martonvásár, with the editing of the journal, and since 2000 Zoltán Bedő has been the chief editor. The editorial board of Acta Agronomica Hungarica still regards the publication of the results achieved in basic and applied research on agricultural science as its primary task, with the emphasis on crop research. Preference is given to research on physiology, genetics, crop production, plant breeding, cell and molecular biology, nature and environment protection, and the preservation of gene reserves. The professional standard, recognition, market value and time to publication have improved considerably in recent years. This can be attributed partly to the setting up of an International Advisory Board in addition to the Hungarian Editorial Committee, and partly to the computerised editing and to the precise, conscientious work of the reviewers.

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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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