The predecessor of the research center was the Central Research Institute for Physics (KFKI), founded in 1950. The institute had two departments at the time of its establishment but, in a short time, it was expanded by the addition of a number of new departments, under the leadership of researchers such as Károly Simonyi and Lajos Jánossy. According to the preparation board, its goal was "to lift physics research in Hungary out of its current state, well behind that of other branches of science, and to allow prolific scientific research in all areas of physics that are primordial from the aspect of the development and application of science". Research carried out at the KFKI was very diverse from the very beginning, and this continues to be the case today at the Wigner Research Center. Direct or indirect application of results has always been typical. Physics has not been the only science present here - various technical and even life sciences have been housed at the institute. Today, the MTA Wigner Research Center and the MTA Center for Energy Research occupy the site of the old KFKI.

The MTA Wigner Research Center (MTA Wigner RC) was created on 1 January 2012, through the merger of the MTA KFKI Research Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics and the MTA Institute for Solid State Physics and Optics. It is currently the biggest MTA research institute for physics. Since 2013, the the world-class Wigner Data Center has also been part of the research center.

Our researchers investigate the most diverse physics problems of the universe, from studies of the really tiny particles to space physics, from theoretical problems to applied research. You can read more about the history of the KFKI and the MTA Wigner Research Center in the following works (these are in Hungarian):

Jéki László: KFKI (Arteria Studio, Budapest, 2001)

Jéki László: A Központi Fizikai Kutatóintézet, Természet Világa spetial edition (2006/1)

Természet Világa, special edition (for the 60. jubilee of KFKI) (2011/1p)

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