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Rudolf von Görgey

Dr. Rudolf (or Rolf) von Görgey, aka Rudolf Görgey von Görgö und Toporcz, was born in Budapest, Hungary on June 23, 1886, the son of State Railways official Stefan Görgey von Görgö und Toporcz and his wife Anna. Although Hungarian-born he considered himself to be German by nationality, and lived in Vienna for most of his life.

He attended private school in 1892-1893 and public school in Vienna through 1886, when he entered the State Gymnasium, graduating second in his class in 1904. He then enrolled at the University of Vienna to study natural sciences, concentrating on mineralogy, chemistry and geology under Professors Tschermak, Becke, Dölter, Berwerth, Ludwig, Uhlig and Reyer. In 1907, in the company of Felix Cornu, he visited the zeolite occurrences in the Faeroe Islands and Scotland, and published his observations as "Ein Beitrag zur topographischen Mineralogie der Faröer" (1910).

Görgey was awarded his PhD in 1908, and, following a year of military service, he was granted a scholarship which he used to study crystallography under Viktor Goldschmidt (1853-1933) in Heidelberg for six months. In 1910 he took a position as Assistant at the University of Vienna. He then toured Italy, Sweden, Norway, Scotland, the Alps and various salt mining areas gathering specimens. He also wrote a detailed description of the mineralogy of the potash/salt deposit at Wittelsheim in Upper Alsace (1912). His doctoral thesis “On mesolite” was approved in 1914, and he was promoted to Privatdozent for Mineralogy and Petrology at the University. Görgey was a specialist in the petrography of the Austrian evaporite deposits, especially the Ischl salt mine in Oberösterreich, Austria, and published several mineralogical papers dealing with zeolites and evaporites.

He was called back to military service in 1914, as a supply clerk at the rank of Lieutenant with a battalion in Trento. However, from that location he was unable to visit geological sites in Germany as he wished, so the Zepharovich Foundation granted him a stipend allowing him to visit potash deposits in Germany. Upon his personal application in 1915 he was transferred to the 2nd Tyrolean Kaiserjäger Regiment, and died in combat near Rudnik, Poland, on May 25, 1915.

Following his death, some of his mineral collection went to the Universität für Bodenkultur, some specimens were sold to the Austrian mineral dealer Anton Burger, and some were presented by his father to the Natural History Museum in Vienna—the latter collection housed in three boxes containing mainly his personally collected specimens from the Faroe Islands, the island of Elba, and the Austrian salt deposits. The mineral görgeyite, from the Ischl mine, was named in his honor in 1954.

SPENCER, L.J. (1916) Obituaries. Rolf Görgey von Görgö. Mineralogical Magazine, 17 (82), 365.
HAMILTON, M. and PERTLIK, F. (2013) Rudolf Görgey von Görgö und Toporcz (1886 - 1915) / A pioneer in studying the Central European salt deposits. Berichte der Geolog. Bundesanstalt, 101 (12th International Erbe Symposium, Bozen), Wien, 50-57.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
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The Mineralogical Record - Rudolf von Görgey Dr. Rudolf von Görgey
The Mineralogical Record - Rudolf von Görgey 33 x 48 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Rudolf von Görgey 33 x 48 mm (Simone and Peter Huber collection)
The Mineralogical Record - Rudolf von Görgey 33 x 48 mm (Simone and Peter Huber collection)
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