Throwback thursday| 2019-09-19 Lovász Kolos

Life Before the Basic Medical Science Center

Today it is obvious that the Departments of Physiology and Medical Biochemistry are right next to each other; the Basic Medical Science Center (BMSC or EOK in Hungarian) is open 24 hours a day for those who are keen to study; the Buffet Island provides dining opportunities for university students. Near the University Clinics, even spending time in the buildings, hardly anyone  ever asks the question: how was everything when BMSC did not exist?

We never even think of that our fathers (or at least our fathers’ generation) had to complete their studies without such everyday things like internet, online library catalogues, Neptun-system or even the BMSC– as you know it was built in 2008-, so those generation could not count on the help of the building for finishing their studies. To have a look at the life before BMSC, we do not even have to travel back half a century, it is more than enough to jump back to the 80s.

A little outlook for a better understanding: in the 80s and 90s the infrastructure of the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) did not look the same as it does today: the Trefort Court which is located close to the Astoria subway station near the Múzeum avenue, belonged to the Faculty of Sciences (TTK) instead of the Faculty of Humanities (BTK). The back of this block has the famous name: Puskin street. There was one of the gates to enter the area of ELTE buildings and it was used by several medical students to step in.

In the Puskin street many departments had been located: for instance the Department  of Chemistry and Biochemistry 1 (today: Department of Medical Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Patho-biochemistry), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 2 (today: Department of Medical Biochemistry), Department of Physiology 1, in which the old Department of Biophysics was given place. At the external clinical blocks, in the basement of the Clinic of Gynecology and Obstetrics 2 some training was carried for students participating in the theoretical curriculum; the Department of Experimental Research and Human Physiology was operating here as well, unfortunately under poor conditions. Therefore, former students had to spend significant amount of their time in Puskin street. Since the NET (Theoretical Building at the Nagyvárad square) was about 20-year-old, the departments organized lectures at the 4th, Nagyvárad square which meant not one, but almost 3 subway stops travelling time. For pharmaceutical students the situation was a bit more comfortable comparing to these days: almost all of their departments were in the Trefort Court, so the students’ margin was really compact: the practices of physics and chemistry were  carried out in the Stork Castle, but botany and inorganic chemistry were also close.

During the Kádár Era, the ELTE-TTK had grown out students of the campus, so it could not give enough place for the increasing number of faculty students. This disadvantage appeared in the 70s; although, it had not been solved for 20 years (the solution was the construction of the Campus at Lágymányos ). For years this had led to a really burning absences of space. However, plans had been made to the TTK be moved out from the Trefort Court, it had to wait until 2001. They tried to handle the problem by temporary solutions such as that the pharmaceutical students’ analytic chemistry practices were often performed  at the Ludovika Building.

The final relocation of the ELTE-TTK was carried out in 2001, so for the pharmaceutical students the traveling distance had suddenly grown between the Nagyvárad square and the Campus at Lágymányos, thus, the theoretical departments kept their old locations at the Puskin street.

The Basic Medical Science Center

Eventually, in 2008 the construction of the Basic Medical Science Center started at the corner of Thaly Kálmán and Tűzoltó streets where residential houses used to be earlier. The building was opened in the academic year of 2009; since then, it has been waiting for students, professors and researchers to provide a pleasant venue for  healthcare science education in a modern, 21st century designed and technologically supplied building.