Polish Physical Society in Wilno and Toruń Józef Szudy (Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń)

A brief account of the history of activity of the Polish Physical Society in Wilno between 1920 and 1939 and in Toruń after the World War II is given.

The Wilno Branch of the Society was established in straitened circumstances due to the outbreak of the Polish-Bolshevik war.

Its first chairman was Wacław Dziewulski, one of the organizers of the Physics Department of the Stefan Batory University. Some details are given about various events such as two Congresses of Polish Physicists organized in Wilno in 1928 and 1938 as well as the rise of the Didactic Section that organized courses for high school teachers and contributed to the establishment of the journal "Fizyka i Chemia w Szkole" (Physics and Chemistry in School).

Edited since 1932 in Wilno the journal was distributed among schools in the whole country and played an essential role in the development of science teaching at the high school level in Poland.

In 1945 the staff of the Stefan Batory University had to leave Wilno and eventually arrived in Toruń and created there the Nicholas Copernicus University. The Toruń Branch of the Polish Physical Society was established in 1947 by Professor Aleksander Jabłoński, who became its first chairman.

Three important events of that period were the Polish Conference on Atomic and Molecular Optics held in 1955, the International Conference on Luminescence in 1963 and the foundation of the plaque for the commemoration of Albert A. Michelson built into the wall of a house in Strzelno, his birthplace. The Toruń Branch was the organizer of three Congresses of the Polish Physicists (in 1959, 1979 and 2001) and since 1969 is the co-editor of the journal Reports on Mathematical Physics as well as the annual symposia on mathematical physics.

(in a photo from left: prof. Józef Patkowski, prof. Wacław Staszewski, prof. Jan Weyssenhoff, prof. Wacław Dziewulski, Vilnius, 1926)

"In this city at December 19, 1852 Albert Abraham Michelson, professor at the University of Chicago, Nobel Prize winner was born. With his famous experiments on the speed of light, he ushered in a new era in the development of physics. This plaque was founded to celebrate the great physicist by the Polish Physical Society"

The table of this content was unveiled thanks to the efforts of the Torun Branch of the PPS in Strzelno. The unveiling ceremony gathered many inhabitants of Strzelno as well as representatives of the world of science and authorities. It was one of the largest events organized at that time by the Toruń Branch of the PPS

The scientist's daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Michelson-Stevens, also took part in the ceremony. She came to Strzelno especially (with the US consul) from the United States.

Professor Józef Szudy, a full member of the Polish Academy of Sciences is a retired professor at the Institute of Physics of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.

He was the director of this Institute (1984-2002) and the dean (2002-2008) of the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Applied Computer Science, Nicolaus Copernicus University.

He is a specialist in the field of atomic-molecular physics and optics. He conducted theoretical and experimental research on the impact of interatomic interactions on the shape of atomic spectra.

Together with Canadian physicist William E. Baylis, he developed a unified theory of pressure expansion of spectral lines.

He is also interested in the history of physics.

October 16, 2020 at 4:30pm

Physics Hall, Warsaw University of Technology


Photos by Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe, Biblioteka Uniwersytecka UMK, Głos Uczelni