We know “SCIENCE IS FREEDOM” competition winners

– Over the last 25 years we can be where we want, and do what we can do best. We have achieved really a lot in science and clinical medicine. And our achievements have become an opportunity to show Poland from the best possible side – Professor Henryk Skarżyński said - the winner of the competition organised by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for the most interesting Polish invention, scientific achievement and event of the last 25 years. The competition’s results were announced on Thursday by Minister Lena Kolarska-Bobińska. From among 25 proposals internet users chose those which, in their opinion, were the most important achievements of Polish science in the last quarter of the century.

Photo: ministry of science and higher education

Announcing the competition winners, Minister Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, emphasised, among other things, importance of promoting scientific achievements. – All the time we need to learn open science, i.e. one which is able to start dialogue with society – Professor Lena Kolarska-Bobińska said. – I’d like scientists to shape the public opinion and modern society. Science needs to be open and friendly – she pointed out.

The competition was won by Professor Henryk Skarżyńsk, whose scientific achievements received nearly a quarter of all votes. Professor Skarżyński - the world-famous otosurgeon and specialist in otolaryngology, audiology and phoniatrics. In 1992, he was the first person in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe who conducted an operation to restore the sense of hearing to a deaf person.  In 2002, he operated on the first adult patient in the world with partial deafness, and in 2004 the first child in the world with such hearing loss. The method he uses is recognised as Polish specialty and is known in the world as the “Skarżyński method”.

– The introduction to Poland in 1992 of the programme to treat total hearing loss (resulting both from congenital defects and acquired ones) by means of cochlear implants completely changed standards in Polish otolaryngology. Over the last 10 years not only have we caught up with European and global centres, but also have joined the group of leading ones – the competition winner emphasised.

Professor Henryk Skarżyński is also the originator, creator and director of the first European, established in 2003, International Centre for Hearing and Speech, which in 2012 was transformed into the first and the only one Global Centre for Hearing in the world. Currently, the Kajetany centre conducts the biggest number of surgeries aimed at improving the sense of hearing in the world.

The second place in the competition was awarded to Professor Grzegorz Pietrzyński of Warsaw University’s Astronomical Observatory. The international team of scientists he is in charge of made very precise measurement of the distance to a nearby galaxy – Large Magellanic Cloud. It was published in March 2013 in the columns of Nature, a prestigious scientific weekly. Measurement of distance is the basis of all astronomical research, and is also crucial for learning about the evolution of the whole universe.

The last person on the podium was Professor Bogdan Marciniec, an eminent chemist of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań. He is a world-famous authority in the field of organosilicon chemistry and metallo-organic catalysis (he is one of creators of a new discipline of science – metallo-nonorganic catalysis). Thanks to Professor Marciniec research, advanced materials and nano-materials are created. He has published 15 books (including nine in English) and 380 publications; he also has 170 patents and applications, and 42 technical studies. Fourteen of them have been implemented at UNISIL Innovation and Implementation Plant in Tarnów-Mościce, the first university spin-off.

– The most important thing for the contemporary civilisation is an effective scientific discoveries-innovations-business relation – Professor Bogdan Marciniec said. – In Poznań, we have created the first science and technology park in Poland. Over 80 companies operate there, and we are building laboratories for new ones. It’s a place where science meets business, and young people commercialise results of scientific research. Integration of science with business is a great challenge – he emphasised.

Internet users have also rated highly the original technology for production of graphene developed by dr Włodzimierz Strupiński of Institute of Electronic Materials Technology (ITME).  Graphene is a completely new material which may change the image of technology – It’s really difficult, but the person who – and the scientific centre as well as the country in which it operates – will perfect this technology will achieve the highest level of technological progress – emphasised dr Włodzimierz Strupiński of ITME.

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