Obituary - Dr. Horváth Erzsébet

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

We are deeply saddened to announce that Dr. Erzsébet Horváth, honorary professor of the Department of Algebra and Geometry at BME TTK (Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem, Természettudományi Kar -- Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Science) passed away at the age of 66 due to a serious illness.


Erzsébet Horváth started her university studies in 1975 at ELTE TTK (Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem, Természettudományi Kar -- Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Science) in Mathematics.

She received her degree with honors in 1980. She obtained her university doctorate in 1988, which was declared equivalent to a PhD summa cum laude by the Doctoral Council of ELTE in 1995. She wrote her doctoral thesis on the characters of finite groups, one of the most difficult areas in algebraic research, an area which is still in the mainstream. She has remained faithful to this topic ever since.

She habilitated at BME in 2017. She has continuously published in high-quality algebra journals, and every 2-3 years in the flagship journal of the field, the Journal of Algebra.

She played a leading role in the reception of the so-called modular representation theory in Hungary.

After graduation, she worked as a research assistant at SZÁMKI (a research institute of the application of computing science) for 3 years, and was a lecturer at ELTE.

She started her work at BME in 1983, at the Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

She joined the Institute of Mathematics of BME when it was founded in 1995, and since then she has been teaching at the Department of Algebra.

She retired as a habilitated associate professor in 2023, but continued to be involved in education as a lecturer.


She had an extensive international network and was a well-known and respected member in the community of finite group theory and computational algebra.

She completed part of her university studies abroad, at Lomonosov University in Moscow with a part-time degree while still studying at ELTE in the late 1970s.

She worked with academic research exchange in Warsaw, with DAAD scholarship, regularly spent weeks in Aachen and Halle within the framework of S&T projects, as well as TEMPUS and ERASMUS mobility.

Aachen is the center of the GAP open source computer algebra system development team, which Erzsébet Horváth also participated in developing, as co-author of some program packages.

Previously, she was coordinating the TEMPUS project "Using Computer Algebra".


Her conscientious work at our university was recognized by the Dean's Commendation in 2007 and the Rector's Commendation in 2010.

She was a member of the János Bolyai Mathematics Society, regularly contributed to the Mathematical Reviews, refereeing articles ans she also regularly judged applications.

She organized several international conferences. In 2023, she was appointed honorary professor by the TTK and received the Minister's Certificate of Appreciation.


Obituary (Institute of Mathematics)

Dear Colleagues,

I sadly and woefully inform you that our colleague, Dr. Erzsébet Horváth, died in the early hours of December 7, 2023.

For many years she had a serious illness she endured with amazing discipline, patience and perseverance. She kept her balance and cheerfulness to the end.

Except for her closest family and friends, she didn't tell anyone about her illness, and anyone who didn't know her illness wouldn't have thought she was seriously ill.

Even when terminally ill, she worked hard, never missed a lecture or any other duty, wrote articles, attended conferences, supervised doctoral students.

She never complained about her fate.

Her mathematical talent was noticed early, and as a student of the grammar school Trefort she won fifth place at the OKTV (Országos Középiskolai Tanulmányi Verseny -- National High School Study Competition) in Mathematics.

She graduated with honours (so called red diploma) in Mathematics at ELTE TTK. She became interested in abstract algebra at an early age, choosing an algebra-topology major as an undergraduate.

After a short detour, she joined the Department of Mathematics of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at BME in the mid-80s.

She received her doctorate in 1988 with a dissertation entitled "On the Characters of Finite Groups".

She habilitated in 2017 with a dissertation entitled "Representations of Finite Groups: On Mononomiality, Blocks, and Depth".

First she became an assistant professor, and later an associate professor. She worked from 1995 at the newly formed Institute of Mathematics of BME at the Department of Algebra.

She regularly attended international conferences, gave lectures and wrote joint articles with several co-authors – English, German and Hungarian mathematicians – mainly on representation theory of finite groups.

Her co-authors included – among others – Burkhard Külshammer, David Green, John Murray, Thomas Breuer, Keresztély Corrádi, Attila Maróti, Péter Hermann, Endre Szabó, László Héthelyi.

She has published several research papers in international journals such as the Journal of Algebra.

She has spoken many times at the renowned Groups St Andrews conferences.

She was one of the few Hungarian scholars who was well-versed in modular representation theory of finite groups, and published several articles on that subject (for example, in 2008 she published "Galois Actions on Blocks and Classes of Finite Groups" in the Journal of Algebra).

She investigated completely new areas in finite group theory, like the depth of subgroups of finite groups, and wrote several papers about them (one of which was published in Communications in Algebra in 2015 under the title "The Depth of Subgroups of Suzuki Groups").

She was one of the first in Hungary to master the GAP computer program and participated in its further development at the University of Aachen.

She took an active part in the work of the doctoral school of the Institute of Mathematics at BME, three students successfully obtained their PhD degrees under her supervision.

In addition to reasearch, she also took university teaching very seriously, wrote an excellent textbook on linear algebra, and together with one of her Phd students compiled a textbook on group theory in English.

In 2023 she was appointed honorary professor. As one of her closest colleagues at the department said: "she was the heart and soul of our department."

It is difficult part forever but we gather strength from the courage you maintained in your fatal illness until the moment of your death.

Time will not efface your memory from our mind.

Peace be with you in your rest, you will ever live in our thoughts!