Zoltán Novák MD is professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Szeged. He has not only been elected to be one of the best 100 physicians of Hungary, but he also recites in French in his free time. In their working time, they teach university students while they are in search of a remedy for incurable diseases, they create innovative inventions or explore the secrets of space.
- How long have you been pursuing your hobby?
- Poetry recitation is an old love of mine. I even won a national poetry recitation contest when I was young and I played with professional actors as a member of Paál István’s Szeged University Stage. For example, in 1972, I played with prominent actors such as Ági Margitai and Miklós Tolnai in the piece ‘Eternal Electra’. I also took part in a Poetry Day show with Attila Nagy and Gizi Fekete. Later, as a member of the ‘Minerva’ literature stage, I had the honour to work with director Árpád Árkosi and László Konter, who became the director of the theatre in Békéscsaba. Recently, marking the 100th birthday of the legendary French teacher Béla Kovács, I recited a poem in French from my beloved poet Verlain.
- What do you enjoy in reciting, what does it add to your life?
- The experience gained from performing on stage helps a lot in holding professional lectures, it gives you a routine.
- What’s the most memorable experience in connection with your hobby?
- Our group, the Szeged University Stage achieved great success when performing Peter Handke’s absurd piece. We played four and we were all offered to attend the Institute of Theatre Arts. Three of my other friends did so: a graduate of the Hungarian-French major of the University of Szeged, Tamas Dunai is now a famous Mari Jászai award-winning actor; teacher trainee Ildikó Fehér, who is an actor now and János Ács, who became a well-known Mari Jászai award-winning director. I was a medical student at that time and I stayed as I had been preparing for a medical career since the age of 10 – I wanted to heal children.
- What is your field of research?
- As a pulmonologist I’m dealing with respiratory examinations. I have published papers on this field, for example in the journal of the Hungarian Respiratory Society (MTT). We are trying to bring the age limits of respiratory function tests forward as early as possible and our methodology has also been published in international journals. Being the head of one of the units of the Paediatric Department of the Szent-Györgyi Albert Health Centre of SZTE, I am dealing with pulmonary problems. Also, 90% of child patients in my general care practice are also treated with respiratory diseases.
- Is there a relationship between your work and your hobby?
- Yes, there is, for example, I have recited poetry at events dedicated to professionals specialized in pulmonary. My affinity towards theatre also helps me in my university teaching. I always find it challenging to attract and hold students’ attention. I also deliver lectures at professional programs of paediatricians and pulmonologists. I am often interviewed by journalists in order to disseminate information, for example during the pollen season or on the World Day of Smoking. This is just as much a part of my medical work as when I give a video interview for the further training of general practitioners about allergic illnesses of the airways.