"...the best results in understanding science when in our description of the real world we include all the circumstances attending a scientific discovery – the biography and personality of the discoverer, their experiences and even their afflictions, idiosyncrasies and emotions, in other words, everything that we call life."
We have selected twenty prominent figures connected with Poland, who lived through the ages and represented various scientific disciplines.
The idea is unusual in that the fates of the characters, often dramatic and strongly entangled in history, were brought closer to us by contemporary Polish writers.
The result is a unique, polyphonic story about science and its history, as well as an encounter with contemporary Polish literature, with the sensitivity and inventiveness of authors who have returned to the formalized world of scientific theories the feelings, emotions, desires and imaginings of their characters.
"Twenty well-known contemporary authors have taken on the interesting
and important task of writing the profiles of twenty Polish scholars. Their
unique and individual point of view gives the reader some quite unusual
perspectives, showing scientific discovery within the broader cultural
and social context. Through this approach, the scientists become less
remote figures, and – even if we cannot understand them fully – their
achievements are brought closer to our lives."
“There are more important things than intimacy beetween two people.” “What things?” In reply, she pointed at the sky, sparkling with stars. “Those things,” she said. Rheticus was not sure if she meant her beloved’s work, or simply Providence…
Any scientist might have envied him his collection of more than three hundred volumes on astronomy and the exact sciences, and the fact that he had his own publishing house, where he published his scientific works to an excellent standard…
But in Chile he left a far greater legacy: a mountain range in the Andes was named after him, as were a town, schools, libraries and squares, a chemical compound that he discovered, and the skeleton of a tyrannosaurus...
Then one day he appeared at dusk in the main street of the city, carrying before him a
lamp of a kind that no one had ever seen before, made of steel and glass.
Inside danced an extraordinary, bright flame that refused to go out....
I have not
been idle. Ever. Before the age of thirty, I had founded this country’s first
hospital for women and children that was staffed entirely by women. By then I
was an experienced midwife, so I could share my knowledge with others. My
colleagues underwent practical training and instruction at the hospital…
de Courtenay was opposed to systems in every possible incarnation. He paid for this attitude with a stretch in a Russian fortress. He was driven to it not by madness, but by an uncompromising moral attitude that made him an advocate of what we would call human rights…Krzysztof SiwczykMore
The life of Maria Skłodowska-Curie has a well-established, practically undisputed trajectory. The daughter of two teachers and the youngest of five children, who lost her mother at an early age. Departure for France, higher education, marriage to the like-minded researcher…
What could life have been like in Cieszyn in January 1915? Was the room large or small, hot or cold? Did they heat up the professor’s stove to stop him from freezing? Did they put him in a uniform, the man who was Einstein’s sparring partner, or were things more relaxed?
When I ask myself where I could meet Florian, I see the writers/academics who move from scholarship to literature in search of a language that can bring them/me closer to recognising reality…
Holding a pile of papers, Józefa approaches the lectern. The lecture hall falls silent. She is trying not to feel stress, and to forget about the fact that the only Pole to have lectured at the Collège de France before her was Adam Mickiewicz…
An epidemic never ends — it just lies in wait, lurking deep inside furs and in warm blood. It has its preferred species, favourite routes it follows with them, special hiding places that you have to discover…
And [he] created a new form of anthropology. Language is the key; a lack of prior assumptions is the door. You must cross the threshold and beyond it learn the rules that apply there…
Until recently, armed with vaccines, (…) convinced that world cataclysms belong to a chapter in history that would never be repeated, we listened to stories about epidemics from the safe distance…
He owed all his successes in the years following the first war to Metal B. And that was an alloy. In other words, a harmonious mixture of various substances, a perfect mixture, one of a kind...
He taught himself mathematics and foreign languages; he worked in a bookshop and supported himself by tutoring. The First World War passed him by: he is short-sighted (…). He loves mathematics but is not particularly interested in a career…
The young man in the first photograph will never grow old. The old man in the second photograph has never been young. Neither of them will die, even though the photographs can be destroyed…
“To tell you the truth…” Tarski replied. “To tell you the truth…” “Alfred simply didn’t want to worry you,” his brother Wacław interjected. “Isn’t that the truth?” Truth, he thought. In the everyday meaning of the word… In everyday language…
His part in the shaping of the modern world may seem rather quiet, but it is impressive, so one could take a broad swing and present Stanisław Ulam in ninety-two (…) picturesque scenes…
Out of this irremovable fracture in the human world leaps the devil, and today I feel a profound spiritual affinity with Kołakowski’s belief in the existence of metaphysical evil. Is it possible to eradicate evil? No…
When she wielded a spade in the Zoology Museum courtyard, Zofia Kielan was twenty years old. She was dogged and devoted to her chosen scientific passions — and her refined character, polished at home, in the scouting movement and during the Uprising, enabled her to achieve a very great deal.
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