**Tibor Szele** was a Hungarian mathematician who worked in combinatorics and abstract algebra.

- In 1934, when he was sixteen years old, Szele won first prize in the KöMal competition.
- Szele entered the 1936 Eötvös Competition, in the year he graduated from the Debrecen Reformed Church Gymnasium.
- Despite this great success in mathematics, Szele did not enrol for a degree in mathematics at university but rather began to study mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Budapest.
- Szele was then appointed as an assistant in the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Szeged University but his research interests were close to László Rédei and László Kalmár who worked in the Mathematical Institute at Szeged.
- Young men in Hungary were called up for military service and Szele was one of these.
- From 1946 to 1948 Szele was an assistant at the Mathematical Institute at the University of Szeged.
- Szele left only when he had to rush to catch the night train back to Debrecen.
- We should note that Laszlo Fuchs wrote two joint papers with Szele.
- Rédei discussed the problem with Szele who was able to make significant improvements in the proof and published he the paper Neuer vereinfachter Beweis des gruppentheoretischen Satzes von Hajós Ⓣ(New simplified proof of the group theoretical theorems of Hajos) (1949).
- Szele's remarkable talent began to unfold, and his interest soon developed into a lifelong commitment to the theory of abelian groups.
- Szele was filled with ideas which he shared with everybody who was willing to listen.
- Szele and Kertész wrote the joint paper On the existence of non-discrete topologies in infinite abelian groups which was published in 1953.
- Szele, Kertész and Fuchs wrote the three author paper On a special kind of duality in group theory which was also published in 1953.
- We should note that it was not only students at Debrecen University who benefitted from Szele's teaching.
- Kovács was strongly influenced by Szele in his first year at Debrecen University but Szele died before Kovács began his second year at university.
- In 1952 Szele was awarded the Kossuth Prize, the most prestigious cultural award in Hungary.
- Sadly Szele died at the young age of 36 after a short illness.
- The Tibor Szele Commemorative Medal was founded by the János Bolyai Mathematical Society in 1970.
- An International Colloquium on Group Theory to the memory of Tibor Szele (1918-1955) was held 16-20 September 1985, in Debrecen.

Born 21 June 1918, Debrecen, Hungary. Died 5 April 1955, Szeged, Hungary.

View full biography at MacTutor

Group Theory, Origin Hungary

**O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F**: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive