Nuclear research at the Royal Hungarian University - the predecessor of Pázmány University, now Eötvös Loránd University or ELTE for short - began in 1911, one and a half decades after Becquerel's discovery of radioactivity. Six years later Gyula Weszelszky (1872-1940), the first head of the new Radiological Institute, published a 200-page monograph on radioactivity. The Institute developed its then well-known radium-emanation equipment that was used at several institutes around the world.
György Hevesy (1890-1970), Nobel Laureate in chemistry, 1943, was appointed professor at the University for a short time in 1919. He carried out most of his radiochemical research at foreign institutes, but he performed the first tracer experiments here together with Prof. Gyula Groh (1886-1952).
After Weszelszky's death education and research in radiology were continued by his successor Lajos Imre. (1900-1974) His most outstanding research achievements included the sorption studies using radioactive tracer technique. Imre left for Kolozsvár University (Transylvania) in 1940. With his resignation nuclear research was interrupted at Pázmány University. (The Hungarian Royal University of Budapest was renamed after its founder, Cardinal Péter Pázmány, in 1921.)
After a pause of over fifteen years, physico-chemical studies using radionuclides were resumed in 1957 in a level B laboratory attached to the Department of Physical Chemistry and Radiology headed by Sándor Lengyel (1914-1991). In the meantime the University came to bear the name of Baron Loránd Eötvös, a Hungarian physicist and statesman, former professor of the University.
In 1967 a new laboratory, headed by Attila Vértes, was formed within the frameworks of the Department of Physical Chemistry and Radiology for carrying out Mössbauer spectroscopic and positron-annihilation investigations. The Department of Nuclear Chemistry as a separate unit was established on September 1, 1983 in the building of Weszelszky's laboratory. In 1989 the department, together with the rest of the Institute of Chemistry, moved to the new Chemistry Building on Pázmány Péter sétány, facing the Danube on the Buda side of the city.
Since 1996, the department has been living in symbiosis with a research group of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) by the name of MTA-ELTE Research Group on the Application of Nuclear Techniques in
At the years of 2005/06, along with the structural change of the Institute of Chemistry, the Department of Nuclear Chemistry was closed down. The teaching task have become a charge of the Department of Analytical Chemistry, while the research work have been continued by the Laboratory of Nuclear Chemistry.