Timeline Of Polish Science And Technology

Education has been of prime interest to Poland's rulers since the early 12th century. The catalog of the library of the Cathedral Chapter in Kraków dating from 1110 shows that Polish scholars already then had access to western European literature. In 1364, King Kazimierz the Great founded the Cracow Academy, which would become one of the great universities of Europe. The list of famous scientists in Poland begins in earnest with the polymath Nicolaus Copernicus, who studied there.

In 1773 King Stanis?aw August Poniatowski established the Commission of National Education, the world's first ministry of education.

After the third partition of Poland, in 1795, no Polish state existed. The 19th and 20th centuries saw many Polish scientists working abroad. The greatest was Maria Sk?odowska-Curie, a physicist and chemist living in France. Another noteworthy one was Ignacy Domeyko, a geologist and mineralogist who worked in Chile.

In the first half of the 20th century, Poland was a flourishing center of mathematics. Outstanding Polish mathematicians formed the Lwów School of Mathematics (with Stefan Banach, Hugo Steinhaus, Stanis?aw Ulam) and Warsaw School of Mathematics (with Alfred Tarski, Kazimierz Kuratowski, Wac?aw Sierpi?ski). The events of World War II pushed many of them into exile. Such was the case of Benoît Mandelbrot, whose family left Poland when he was still a child. An alumnus of the Warsaw School of Mathematics was Antoni Zygmund, one of the shapers of 20th-century mathematical analysis.

Today Poland has over 100 institutions of post-secondary education -- technical, medical, economic, as well as 500 universities -- which are located in most major cities such as Gda?sk, Kraków, Lublin, ?ód?, Pozna?, Rzeszów and Warsaw. They employ over 61,000 scientists and scholars. Another 300 research and development institutes are home to some 10,000 researchers. There are, in addition, a number of smaller laboratories. All together, these institutions support some 91,000 scientists and scholars.


1951 - the present

ESO accession agreement with Poland 2014.


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  • Johannes Hevelius was an outstanding astronomer who published the earliest exact maps of the moon and the most complete star catalog of his time, containing 1,564 stars. In 1641 he built an observatory in his house; he is known as "the founder of lunar topography"
  • Jan Bro?ek (Ioannes Broscius) was the most prominent 17th-century Polish mathematician. Following his death, his collection of Nicolaus Copernicus' letters and documents, which he had borrowed 40 years earlier with the intent of writing a biography of Copernicus, was lost.
  • Kazimierz Siemienowicz, a Polish-Lithuanian general of artillery, gunsmith, military engineer, and pioneer of rocketry
  • Micha? Boym, a Polish Jesuit missionary to China, scientist and explorer; he is notable as one of the first westerners to travel within the Chinese mainland, and the author of numerous works on Asian fauna, flora and geography
  • Krzysztof Arciszewski, a Polish-Lithuanian nobleman, military officer, engineer, and ethnographer. Arciszewski also served as a general of artillery for the Netherlands and Poland
  • Jan Jonston, a Polish scholar and physician of Scottish descent; author of Thautomatographia naturalis (1632) and Idea universae medicinae practicae (1642)
  • Micha? S?dziwój, a Polish alchemist, philosopher, and medical doctor; a pioneer of chemistry, he developed ways of purification and creation of various acids, metals and other chemical compounds; he discovered that air is not a single substance and contains a life-giving substance-later called oxygen 170 years before similar discoveries by Scheele and Priestley; he correctly identified this 'food of life' with the gas (also oxygen) given off by heating nitre (saltpetre); this substance, the 'central nitre', had a central position in Sendivogius' schema of the universe.


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  • Witelo (ca. 1230 - ca. 1314) was an outstanding philosopher and a scientist who specialized in optics. His famous optical treatise, Perspectiva, which drew on the Arabic Book of Optics by Alhazen, was unique in Latin literature and helped give rise to Roger Bacon's best work. In addition to optics, Witelo's treatise made important contributions to the psychology of visual perception.

See also


  1. ^ "Poland to Join the European Southern Observatory". www.eso.org/. European Southern Observatory. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ "Polish scientists to patent graphene mass-production technology". Graphene Times. 2011-04-22. Retrieved . 
  3. ^ "Polish team claims leap for wonder material graphene". Phys.org. Retrieved . 

External links

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