Timeline of Polish science and technology

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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 Stanisław 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 Skłodowska-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, Stanisław Ulam) and Warsaw School of Mathematics (with Alfred Tarski, Kazimierz Kuratowski, Wacław Sierpiński). 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 Gdańsk, Kraków, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, 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[edit]

  • PW-Sat - the first Polish satellite launched into space (2012)
  • Graphene acquisition - In 2011 the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology and Department of Physics, Warsaw University announced a joint development of acquisition technology of large pieces of graphene with the best quality so far.[1] In April the same year, Polish scientists with support from the Polish Ministry of Economy began the procedure for granting a patent to their discovery around the world.[2]
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  • Mieczysław Wolfke - "one of precursors in the development of holography" (said:Dennis Gabor)
  • LWS - an abbreviation name used by Polish aircraft manufacturer Lubelska Wytwórnia Samolotów (1936–1939)
  • PZL - an abbreviation name used by Polish aerospace manufacturers (1928–present)
  • RWD - an abbreviation name used by Polish aircraft manufacturer (1920–1940)
  • TKS - a tankette (1931)
  • RWD-1 - sports plane of 1928, constructed by the RWD
  • Marian SmoluchowskiPolish scientist, pioneer of statistical physics - *Einstein–Smoluchowski relation


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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.
  • Jan Brożek (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.


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  • Bartholomäus Keckermann - A Short Commentary on Navigation (the first one written in Poland)
  • Josephus Struthius - published in 1555 Sphygmicae artis iam mille ducentos perditae et desideratae libri V. in which he described five types of pulse, the diagnostic meaning of those types, and the influence of body temperature and nervous system on pulse. This was one of books used by William Harvey in his works


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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[edit]


  1. ^ "Polish scientists to patent graphene mass-production technology". Graphene Times. 2011-04-22. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  2. ^ "Polish team claims leap for wonder material graphene". Phys.org. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 

External links[edit]