Wacław Szybalski was born in 1921 in Lwów, Poland, into a Polish intelligentsia family. His father Stefan was an engineer, and his mother, Michalina née Rakowska, was a Doctor of Chemistry. The Szybalski family maintained close friendships with numerous leading representatives of the Polish intelligentsia in Lwów, including Professor Jan Czekanowski, the father of Polish anthropology, and the outstanding bacteriologist, Professor Rudolf Stefan Weigl.
In 1939 Szybalski graduated from the famous Gymnasium no. 8 in Lwów. After World War II broke out, from 23 September 1939, Lwów was occupied by the Soviet Union. Szybalski joined the Chemistry Department at the Lwów Polytechnic, where he was entranced by the lectures of Professor Adolf Joszt, a leading expert on processes of fermentation. Joszt even then held a vision of developing science in the direction of genetic engineering and biotechnology, which had a direct influence on Szybalski's future scientific development. After the German attack on the Soviet Union, in 1941 Lwów was occupied by the Nazis. Szybalski survived the occupation by working as a feeder of lice in Rudolf Weigl's institute for typhus research.
- List of Poles
- He is a member of the Kosciuszko Foundation Collegium of Eminent Scientists of Polish Origin and Ancestry (2014)
- Summary of current research
- Professor Waclaw Szybalski Foundation
- Conference: „50 years of gene therapy: the contribution of Professor Waclaw Szybalski to science and humanity" Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (PAU), 28-29.09.2012, Cracow
- Szybalski, Waclaw Dr. "United States Public Records Index". familysearch. Retrieved 6 November 2013.