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Victor and Mary Babits (1900-1991)

Name: Victor and Mary Babits (1900-1991)

Historical Note:

Victor Babits was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1900, to parents Julias and Julia Babits. After attending public schools, he entered the University of Technical Sciences in Budapest in 1918. In 1923, he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree, and in 1931, he received his Doctor of Science degree.

He taught and conducted research at the Institute of Engineering Physics at the University of Technical Sciences in Budapest from 1922 to 1947, where he first met Maria Hargita (Mary Babits) in 1931.

In 1947 Victor received an appointment to a faculty position at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY as a professor of electrical engineering, a position which he held for thirteen years.

Victor’s research was in the areas of television, radio, vacuum tubes, and electronics, and he published over sixty papers on these subjects. He invented early television and electronic systems as well, including a color television system in 1937, a modulated microwave generator in 1938, and a range finding radar system for Hungary in 1939.

In 1960, Victor resigned from Rensselaer to accept a position as Chief of Applied Research at General Dynamics/Convair in San Diego, CA.  He worked at GD Convair for five years, before leaving to become Vice President of Research and Development at Marshall Laboratories, in La Jolla, CA. He worked there for two years, and then retired in 1967. He died in 1982.

Mary (Hargita) Babits was born on February 28th, 1906, to parents George and Frances, in Budapest, Hungary. After earning a Doctor of Science degree in physics at the University of Technical Sciences in Budapest, she obtained a temporary position in 1931 at the Institute of Engineering Physics at the University of Technical Sciences where she met Victor Babits. She later worked on the staff of the British Legation in Budapest until 1942. During the last two years of World War II, she worked as a Red Cross nurse, and also gave English lessons. Mary documented her and Victor Babit’s experience living in Budapest through WWII in her unpublished memoir The Siege of Budapest. After Victor’s death in 1982, Mary wrote The Life and Times of Dr. Victor A. Babits, an unpublished biography which detailed Victor’s life. Mary died in 1991.

Note Author: Kelsey O'Brien, John Dojka

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