The Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) Prize, sometimes called the "Polish Nobel Prize", is awarded in four categories for special scientific achievements and discoveries that shift the boundaries of cognition, open up new research perspectives, contribute significantly to the advancement of civilization and culture in Poland, and ensure our country's prominent position in dealing with the most ambitious challenges of the modern world. Each of the winners receives 200 thousand zlotys.
This year, the award in the field of life and earth sciences went to Prof. Jan Kozłowski from the Jagiellonian University. The researcher was awarded for "formulation and experimental verification of a theory explaining the diversity of life strategies of organisms resulting from optimal allocation of resources".
The theory developed by Prof. Kozłowski explains the great diversity of maturing time, adult body sizes and the sizes of cells, as well as the longevity of living organisms. It allows to predict the conditions under which animals grow intensively after reaching maturity, and in which they do not. It also explains why some species lay many small eggs, while others only few large eggs. Depending on the living strategy, organisms allocate resources differently, optimally invest them in growth, reproduction and maintaining a good condition of the body. 74 publications of Prof. Kozłowski were cited more than 2.4 thousand times. The scholar also created his own school of evolutionary ecology, which is becoming well known throughout the world.
This year's winner in the field of chemical and material sciences is Prof. Marek Samoć from Wroclaw University of Technology. He received the FNP Prize for "research on nanostructural materials for nonlinear optics".
Profesor Marek Samoć is engaged in research on new materials for optoelectronics and photonics. Such materials are composed of nanometer sized objects whose structural arrangement can be strictly controlled. Thanks to the effects discovered by Prof. Samoć, new materials for applications in photonics can improve information transmission and processing, third generation electric cells may be cheaper, more efficient and more ecological. Potential uses of nanophotonics in medicine include the diagnostics of cancer, delivery of drugs directly to diseased cells, progress in photodynamic therapy, in which drugs are light-activated, and detection of amyloid deposits that cause Alzheimer's disease.
Another winner is Prof. Józef Spałek from the Jagiellonian University, awarded in the field of mathematical, physical and engineering sciences for "research on strongly correlated electron systems, in particular derivation of the t-J model".
Prof. Józef Spałek is a world class leader in the field of quantum physics of condensed matter.
He made an outstanding contribution to the world of physics in 1977, when he developed the t-J model. This is a standard model in the theory of strongly correlated electron systems. The results of theoretical research of Prof. Spałek and his team on high-temperature superconductivity may be useful, inter alia, to design various types of medical diagnostic equipment (for example, in 2015 in the U.S. the first CT scanners operating at liquid nitrogen temperature were produced), in magnetic trains or in high power transmission lines, and especially in electronics and quantum computers.
In the field of the humanities and social science, the "Polish Nobel" went to Prof. Bogdan Wojciszke from the Sopot campus of SWPS University of Science and Humanities. He was awarded for "developing a model of agency and communion as basic dimensions of social cognition".
The scientist investigated how people perceive and judge others and themselves. He determined when evaluating ourselves, we consider mainly the efficiency in achieving our own goals, and when judging others, we consider primarily their goals and intentions, whether they are beneficial or harmful. The two-dimensional social cognition model has become the dominant theory of modern social psychology. This concept allows to explore stereotypes, prejudices, and relationships in a group and between groups. Recently, this concept has even been used in the perception of organizations and trade marks.
The Foundation for Polish Science Prize has been awarded since 1992 to a total of 91 winners, including this year’s recipients. The laureates include professors: Tomasz Dietl, Andrzej Jajszczyk, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, Karol Modzelewski, Karol Myśliwiec, Jadwiga Staniszkis, Jan Strelau, Andrzej Udalski, Aleksander Wolszczan.
PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland
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