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Michael Polanyi and His GenerationOrigins of the Social Construction of Science$
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Mary Jo Nye

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226610634

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226610658.001.0001

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Scientific Culture in Europe and the Refugee Generation

Scientific Culture in Europe and the Refugee Generation

(p.1) ONE Scientific Culture in Europe and the Refugee Generation
Michael Polanyi and His Generation

Mary Jo Nye

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on Michael Polanyi's early life in Budapest; the circumstances of the double exiles of Polanyi, his family, and scientific colleagues; his later experiences of discrimination in the United States; and his reflections on assimilation and Jewish identity. In Budapest, the young Polanyi absorbed a cosmopolitan, liberal, and transnational European point of view that characterized many assimilated or baptized Jews of early twentieth-century Budapest. His family upbringing was secular, educated, literary, and scientific, with a strong dose of left-wing politics—which he came eventually to reject—from his mother, oldest sister, and brothers. The roots of Polanyi's “republic of science” lay in his Hapsburg heritage, which is the subject of this chapter. Polanyi's career experiences in scientific Berlin, his free-market economics, and his political anti-Communism are subjects for later chapters.

Keywords:   double exiles, Budapest, discrimination, assimilation, Jewish identity, left-wing politics, Hapsburg heritage

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