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, 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.
Famous quotes containing the words technology, science and/or polish:
“Technology is not an image of the world but a way of operating on reality. The nihilism of technology lies not only in the fact that it is the most perfect expression of the will to power ... but also in the fact that it lacks meaning.”
—Octavio Paz (b. 1914)
“For us necessity is not as of old an image without us, with whom we can do warfare; it is a magic web woven through and through us, like that magnetic system of which modern science speaks, penetrating us with a network subtler than our subtlest nerves, yet bearing in it the central forces of the world.”
—Walter Pater (18391894)
“You will have to polish up the stars
with Bab-o and find a new God
as the earth empties out
into the gnarled hands of the old redeemer.”
—Anne Sexton (19281974)