János Hugo Bruno "Hans" Selye, CC (/ˈhænz ˈsɛljeɪ/; Hungarian: Selye János; January 26, 1907 – October 16, 1982), was a pioneering Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist of Hungarian origin. He conducted much important scientific work on the hypothetical non-specific response of an organism to stressors. While he did not recognize all of the many aspects of glucocorticoids, Selye was aware of their role in the stress response. 

Selye was born in Vienna, Austria-Hungary (Austro-Hungarian origin and Hungarian ethnicity) on 26 January 1907. He grew up in Komárom, Hungary and the Hungarian language university in that town bears his name. He became a Doctor of Medicine and Chemistry in Prague in 1929, went to Johns Hopkins University on a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship in 1931 and then went to McGill University in Montreal where he started researching the issue of stress in 1936. In 1945 he joined the Université de Montréal where he had 40 assistants and worked with 15,000 lab animals. He was a nominee to the Nobel prize for the first time in 1949.

Hans Selye is internationally acknowledged as “the father of the stress field” and, as such, a Canadian resource to the world. Since publishing the first scientific paper to identify and define “stress” in 1936, Dr. Selye wrote more than 1700 scholarly papers and 39 books on the subject. At the time of his death in late 1982, his work had been cited in more than 362,000 scientific papers, and in countless popular magazine stories, in most major languages and in all countries worldwide. He is still by far the world’s most frequently cited author on stress topics.

Dr. Selye gained enduring international respect not only for his scientific innovations, but equally for his commitment to sharing the practical benefits of his work with everyday people. Two of his books, “The Stress of Life” and “Stress Without Distress” were unequalled bestsellers (the latter in 17 languages). His collaborative research with Dr. Richard Earle, resulted in his two final contributions “Stress and the Workplace” and “Your Vitality Quotient”.

Dr. Selye held three earned doctorates (M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc.) plus 43 honourary doctorates. He was an elected member of several dozen of the world’s most recognized medical and scientific associations.

Selye wrote The Stress of Life (1956), From Dream to Discovery: On Being a Scientist (1964) and Stress without Distress (1974). He worked as a professor and director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery at the Université de Montréal.

In 1968 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

 In 1975 he created the International Institute of Stress and in 1979, Dr. Selye and Arthur Antille started the Hans Selye Foundation. Later Selye and eight Nobel laureates founded the Canadian Institute of Stress.

Selye died in 1982 in Montreal, where he had spent much of his life researching subjects related to stress.

Dr Hans Selye became a Laureat to the  Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2006: http://cdnmedhall.org/dr-hans-selye



Hans Selye's Publications:

The Physiology and Pathology Of Exposure To STRESS
Hans Selye, M.D., D.Sc., F.R.S.. (1950)
This book is dedicated to those who suffer from stress.

TO THOSE WHO – IN THEIR EFFORTS FOR GOOD OR EVIL, FOR PEACE OR WAR – HAVE SUSTAINED WOUNDS, LOSS OF BLOOD OR EXPOSURE TO EXTREMES OF TEMPERATURE HUNGER, FATIGUE, WANT OF AIR, INFECTIONS, POISONS OR DEADLY RAYS.

TO THOSE WHO ARE UNDER THE EXHAUSTING NERVOUS STRAIN OF PURSUING THEIR IDEAL – WHATEVER IT MAY BE TO THE MARTYRS WHO SACRIFICE THEMSELVES FOR OTHERS, AS WELL AS TO THOSE HOUNDED BY SELFISH AMBITION, FEAR, JEALOUSY, AND WORST OF ALL BY HATE.

FOR MY STRESS STEMS FROM THE URGE TO HELP AND NOT TO JUDGE.

BUT MOST PERSONALLY, THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO MY WIFE, WHO HELPED SO MUCH TO WRITE IT, FOR SHE UNDERSTOOD THAT I CANNOT, AND SHOULD NOT, BE CURED OF MY STRESS BUT MERELY TAUGHT TO ENJOY IT.

This is from Hans Selye’s, The Physiology and Pathology Of Exposure To STRESS , with over 1,000 pages and more than 5,000 references that was published in 1950. The  picture of desperate people  is from an engraving by German Artist Fritz Eichenberg and occupied a full page of the book.This picture  hung above the door of his office, and he referred to it as " STRESS".

The publication of Stress stimulated scientists all over the world and precipitated an avalanche of studies to reproduce and extend Selye’s observations. Selye had a fetish about retrieving each one and classifying it using his own symbolic shorthand system so that it could be immediately retrieved via various key words from his enormous library.


In 1931 Selye purchased the personal library of Dr Arthur Biedel (4 October 1869 – 26 August 1933 founder of the Journal of Endokrinologie), Selyes former professor and now had the largest collection of endocrinology literature in exsistance.

The Unigue Stress Library of Dr Hans Selye: J. Kalsner, Can Med Assoc J. Aug 1, 1983; 129(3): 288–289.

Pub Med  PDF Document : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1875114/?page=1