The life and work of Michael Polanyi:

  Michael Polanyi physico-chemist, sociologist and philosopher of science, author of the famous book Personal Knowledge (1st publ.1958).
  Born in Budapest (Hungary) March 12th 1891, died in Northampton (UK) February 22d, 1976. Graduated from the Pázmány Péter University Budapest in medical sciences 1913, acquired Ph.D. 1919. Delivered medical service in the army during WW1. Left Hungary for all his life in 1919. Studied physics and chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe in 1919-20. Continued his research begun formerly at the Budapest University on reaction kinetics. Acquired a job in the Fiber Institute 1920, where he did research work in fiber chemistry. .Published significant papers on the potential theory of adsorption and produced the famous Polanyi formula for computing the adsorption potential curve. In 1923 he moved to Berlin-Dahlem to the (then) Kaise Wilhhelm Institute where he investigated physico-chemistry and X-ray diffraction elaborating a new experimental method in this field.[for details see his papers The potential theory of adsorption (1963) and my time with X-rays and crystals (1962)] .Left Germany in 1933 (because of the nazi threat) and moved to Manchester where he was invited to work in the Chemical Department at Victoria University. Pursued his research work in physico-chemistry, esp.on reaction kinetics and thermodynamics of the so called 'transient states'. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1944.
  During all these years he was also interested in problems concerning the social, political and economic context of science and in the philosophy of science in general. In 1948 he left the Chemical Department and took up an office in th Faculty of Economics and Social Studies ar Victoria University and dedicated himself to studies in the sociology of science (Published his Logic of Liberty in1951) He was among the founders of the Congress of Cultural Freedom (1953). Participated in the world-wide protest against the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. Published his seminal book on post-critical philosophy, the Personal knowledge in 1958.Here he elaborated his famous anti-Cartesian epistemology according to which human knowledge can not be made wholly explicit, it contains a residual tacit dimension. As he himself put it: "we know more than we can tell." 1959-61 he was Senior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford. After retiring from the fellowship he made lecture tours at several US and Canadian universities and research centers. [For a reliable and detailed biography see W.T.Scott and M. Moleski: Michael Polanyi, Scientist and Philosopher, Oxford University Press, 2005.]