Location and history of the KFKI Campus
Budapest is the capital and the largest city of Hungary, the largest in East-Central Europe and one of the largest cities in the European Union. It is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. The Budapest Commuter Area is home to 3.3 million people.
The city covers an area of 525 square kilometres (202.7 sq mi) within the city limits. Budapest became a single city occupying both banks of the river Danube with unification on 17 November 1873 of west-bank Buda and Óbuda with east-bank Pest.
Cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, its extensive World Heritage Site includes the banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter, Andrássy Avenue, Heroes' Square and the Millennium Underground Railway, the second oldest in the world. Other highlights include a total of 80 geothermal springs, the world's largest thermal water cave system, second largest synagogue, and third largest Parliament building. The city attracts about 4.3 million tourists a year, making it the 25th most popular city in the world (and the 6th in Europe) according to Euromonitor.
The KFKI Campus is located amidst the gentle hills and woodlands of Buda, just about 10 kilometers from Budapest downtown. The first research institute on the site, the Central Research Institute for Physics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, was founded in 1950. From the abbreviation of its hungarian name (Központi Fizikai Kutató Intézet) the centre was better known as KFKI. For about four decades, it grew from a modest laboratory into a large research establishment covering the most diverse fields of physics and related technologies.
Recently it has become an agglomerate of independent research institutes and centralized research support services surrounded by an industrial park of private enterprises utilizing mostly spin-off technologies.
The original task of the institute was to establish an up-to-date experimental basis in branches of physics relevant to Hungary. Between 1950 and 1955, those fields were mainly covered where some expertise already existed, and chances were best for establishing competitive research teams (atomic physics, nuclear physics, cosmic rays, electromagnetic waves, spectroscopy, radiology, theoretical physics, etc.). At that time, particle accelerators were constructed on the site to study nuclear reactions.
In the second phase (1956-1959), the sphere of interest of the institute was extended to other areas, such as nuclear chemistry, electronics, reactor research, solid state physics. A research reactor, bought from the Soviet Union, was installed. During the sixties, the character of the research activities underwent gradual changes. The research institute which had previously been engaged in fundamental research mainly, became a research centre performing basic, applied and developmental research work as well as carrying out specific pilot manufacturing tasks. The seventies were characterized by the initiation of research programmes centred on concrete economic goals.
In the 1975-1991 period, the KFKI comprised four, later five research institutes, which were, to a certain extent, independent from one another. Since the early nineties, pilot manufacturing and a number of development tasks have been carried out by independent business enterprises. The five research institutes, (KFKI Atomic Energy Research Institute, KFKI Research Institute for Measurement and Computing Techniques, KFKI Research Institute for Materials Science, KFKI Research Institute for Solid State Physics, KFKI Research Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics) which carried the abbreviation KFKI in their names, became independent legal entities on January 1st 1992.
Nowadays, there are two main research institutes operating on the site: