Michael Polanyi

William Taussig Scott and Martin X. Moleski

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195174335
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835706 | DOI:
Michael Polanyi

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Michael Polanyi (1891–1976) was born to a Viennese family living in Hungary. After obtaining a medical degree, he served in the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I, then chose Austrian citizenship in the aftermath of the war. While on sick leave, he wrote an article on the adsorption of gases that became the foundation for his doctoral research in physical chemistry at Karlsruhe in Germany. In his later work at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin and the University of Manchester in England, Polanyi also worked on crystallography and reaction kinetics. After fleeing to England from Nazi Germany, Polanyi gradually turned away from physical chemistry to studies in economics, social and political analysis, philosophy, theology, and aesthetics. The biography traces the development of Polanyi's theory of tacit, personal knowledge and shows how his scientific career shaped his philosophy of science and his view of religion in general and Christianity and Judaism in particular.

Keywords: Michael Polanyi; adsorption; crystallography; reaction kinetics; physical chemistry; economics; philosophy of science; theology; tacit knowledge; personal knowledge

Book.  368 pages. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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