History of the Faculty Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info)
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 01:56

wydz1 The history of the Faculty of Biology is almost as long as that of the University of Warsaw, despite the fact that at the inception of the Royal University of Warsaw in 1816, none of the names its five Faculties referred to “Biology”. The natural sciences taught at the Faculty of Philosophical Skills were Geology, Zoology, Botany and Anthropology. The Botanical Garden was opened in 1817, in the Łazienki park under the tutelage of the pioneer in plant anatomy and morphology, Prof. Michał Szubert (1787-1860).

The Botanical Garden at the Kazimierzowski Palace had already existed since 1811 r., under the administration of Prof. Jakub F. Hoffman (1758-1830), physician and naturalist. In 1819, as the first in Poland and one of the first in the world, the Faculty of Zoology of the Royal University of Warsaw was called into existence, organized and directed by the eminent systematicist Prof. Feliks Paweł Jarocki (1790‑1865). It was active until the closing of the university in 1831.

Following the closure of the University in 1831, Varsovian scientists carried out research and educational activities under the auspices of the Cabinet, later incorporated into the Szkoła Główna Warszawska (Main School of Warsaw), the forerunner of the present Faculty of Biology of the University of Warsaw. In 1862, Prof. Benedykt Dybowski (1833 – 1930) became the first professor of zoology at the Main School. He was a proponent of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Prof. Dybowski was succeeded by Prof. August Wrześniowski (1836 – 1892), the creator of Polish Protozoology. Among the great scientists of that era, one should also mention Edward Strasburger (1844-1912), one of the discoverers of chromosomes, the creator of cytology as well as comparative and developmental anatomy of plants, and also the zoologists, Prof. Władysław Taczanowski (1819-1890), an ornithologist, Prof. Antoni Wałecki (1815-1897), a systematicist, Prof. Henryk Fryderyk Hoyer (1834-1907), the father of Polish histology, as well as Prof. Konstanty Janicki (1876-1932), the creator of the Warsaw school of parasitology.

wydz2 During the interwar period, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of the then Józef Piłsudski University was enriched by new units: in 1919 the Faculty of Botany, directed by Prof. Zygmunt Wóycicki (1871-1941), a florist, cytologist and embryologist of plants; in 1919 r. the Faculty of Plant Physiology, directed by Prof. Kazimierz Bassalik (1879-1960), which at the time researched plant and microbial development; that same year the Faculty of Plant Systematics and Geography, directed by Prof. Bolesław Hryniewiecki (1876-1963), a systematicist and biogeographer of plants. In 1916 The Faculty of Comparative Anatomy and Embryology was founded by Prof. Jan Korczak Tur (1875-1942), a notable teratologist and embryologist and a former student of the great Russian scientist Pavel Mitrofanov (1857-1920), who educated a great many excellent researchers, including Józef Eismond (1862-1937), embryologist and cytologist and Mieczysław Konopacki (1880-1939), histologist and embryologist. Prof. Tur, in turn, taught among others August Dehnel (1903-1962), the organiser and first director of the Department of Mammal Research in Białowieża, Prof. Zygmunt Kraczkiewicz (1900-1971), Stanisław Bilewicz (1903-1962), an embryologist and director of the Department of Embryology during the years 1953-1962, and Rector of the Academy of Physical Education in Warsaw during the years 1956-1959. 1918 saw the formation of the first Faculty of Animal Physiology in Europe, directed by Prof. Kazimierz Białaszewicz (1882‑1943), one of the most notable European physiologists, a progenitor of biochemistry, and a great organiser of Polish scientific life during the interwar period. Another notable animal physiologist who was also connected with this Faculty was Prof. Jan Dembowski (1889‑1963), the later director of the Institute of Experimental Biology of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), and at the same time a lecturer in Biology at the University of Warsaw. The Faculty of Cytology was called into Existence in 1925, directed by Prof. Wacław Brunon Baehr (1873-1939), a great cytologist and cytogeneticist. In 1948 the Faculty of Cytology was replaced by the Department of Cytology directed by Prof. Zygmunt Kraczkiewicz.

During Warld War II, The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences bore great losses. Many staff and faculty members died, including 12 professors. Many locales were burned, including the buildings of the Main School and the Museum.

Immediately after the War, the biologists’ activities were reinitiated under the auspices of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. One of the first departments to become active after the wartime destruction, still in 1945, was the Department of Botany, led by the Rev. Prof. Józef Szuleta, a student, assistant and continuator of Prof. Zygmunt Wóycicki, who died during the war. In 1951 r. this Faculty was divided into two: the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry and the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences. Along with the rapid and considerable development of the biological sciences, new areas of study branched out into independent research and educational facilities in the form of faculties and departments. 1948 saw the formation of the Department of Genetics. In 1953 the first separate University of Warsaw Biochemical Laboratory branched out from the Faculty of Plant Physiology, and was led by Prof. Zofia Kasprzyk (1917-2002). In 1954, the Department of Ecology was formed, and at the initiative of Prof. Irena Chmielewska (1905-1987) the Faculty of Biochemistry (1958), which became subdivided into three departments in 1965: General Biochemistry, Plant Biochemistry and Enzymatics, directed for 30 years by Prof. Zbigniew Kaniuga. In 1960, the Faculty of Plant Physiology directed by Prof. Kazimierz Bassalik (1879-1960) was formed, and Prof. Piotr Strebeyko (1908-2003) gave rise to the Department of Plant Physiology and the Faculty of Microbiology, which was taken over by Prof. Władysław Kunicki-Goldfinger (1916-1995), with the following departments being delineated later: 1963, Microbiology i Industrial Microbiology, and in 1966 General Virology. The following departments were also formed: Applied Phytosociology (1962), Parasitology (1963) and Immunology (1975).

The Faculty of Biology finally emerged from the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences in 1969. It was made up of the he following four institutes: Botany, Zoology, Biochemistry and Microbiology. W 1993 r. the Institute of Botany gave rise to the Institute of Experimental Biology of Plants.

The interwar and postwar fates of our Faculty are intimately connected with the names of many notable professors: Zygmunt Wóycicki (1871-1941), Wincenty L. Wiśniewski (1904-1958), Kazimierz Bassalik (1879-1960), Marian Gieysztor (1901-1961), Bolesław Hryniewiecki (1876-1963), Marian Rybicki (1905-1967), Zygmunt Kraczkiewicz (1900-1971), Tadeusz Jaczewski (1899-1974), Irena Rejment-Grochowska (1911-1979), Kazimierz Petrusewicz (1906-1982), Henryk Teleżyński (1905-1989), Kazimierz Tarwid (1909-1988), Zdzisław Raabe (1909-1972), Irena Chmielewska (1905-1987), Ludmiła Bassalik‑Chabielska (1924-1994), Kazimierz Matusiak (1913-1994),Władysław Kunicki-Goldfinger (1916-1995), Andrzej Batko (1933-1997), Wacław Gajewski (1911-1997), Józef Szuleta (1908-1997), Kazimierz Toczko (1928-1998), Krystyna Izdebska-Szymona (1934-2000), Zbigniew Kwiatkowski (1929-2001), Kazimierz Dobrowolski (1931-2002), and Piotr Strebeyko (1908-2003).

Since the inception of the Faculty of Biology, the function of Dean was performed in turn by: Prof. Alina Skirgiełło (1969-1975), Prof. Irena Rejment-Grochowska (1975-1978), Prof. Kazimierz Dobrowolski (1978-1979), Prof. Ewa Pieczyńska (1979-1981), Prof. Zbigniew Kwiatkowski (1981-1984), Prof. Bronisław Cymborowski (1984-1987), Prof. Stanisław Lewak (1987-1993), Prof. Ewa Symonides (1993-1999), Prof. Michał Kozakiewicz (1999-2005). Since 2005 r., the position of Dean of the Faculty of Biology is held by Dr. Hab. Joanna Pijanowska Associate Professor.

The internal structure of the department changes along with the development of the biological sciences worldwide. New organizational units arise and old ones cease to exist. Departments introduce new research areas, and the study program and scope changes. By offering students an ever richer palette of courses and a larger freedom of choice, we face the challenges posed by the unprecedented, dynamic development of the biological sciences.

Since 2000, a major portion of the Faculty of Biology has been located at the Ochota Campus, in the new building at ul. Ilji Miecznikowa 1, a locale without architectural limitations, modern classrooms and scientific laboratories. This building would not have been constructed had it not been for the inestimable involvement and efforts of the thyen Dean of the Faculty, Prof. Ewa Symonides and the great work performed by the construction “senior” Prof. Jerzy Moraczewski.

The Faculty of Biology is currently composed of 34 Departments in 6 Institutes: Biochemistry, Experimental Plant Biology, Botany, Genetics and Biotechnology, Microbiology and Zoology. The faculty also includes the Botanical Gardens, the Geobotanical Station in Białowieża, which recently turned 50, independent laboratories (Electron Microscopy, Isotopes and Environmental Contamination) and field stations (in Pilchy, Sajzy and Urwitałt). The Faculty employs over 150 academic instructors, and educates some 800 students. The Faculty is home to three programs of study: Biology, Biotechnology and Environmental Conservation. The Faculty of Biology also participates in the education of students as part of the Interfaculty Individual Mathematics and Natural Sciences Studies (Międzywydziałowych Indywidualnych Studiów Matematyczno-Przyrodniczych, MISMaP) and Interfaculty Environmental Conservation Studies, (Międzywydziałowe Studia Ochrony Środowiska, MSOŚ), annually admitting about 15 of these interfaculty students.

The professors of the Faculty of Biology have also performed important duties in the governance of the University of Warsaw. In the years 1982‑1985, Prof. Kazimierz Dobrowolski was the Rector of the University, whereas the post of Vice-Rector was held, often for several terms, by Tadeusz Jaczewski, Zygmunt Kraczkiewicz, Kazimierz Dobrowolski, and Piotr Węgleński. During the years 1999-2005, the post of Rector of the University of Warsaw was held by Prof. Piotr Węgleński. Among the professors of the Faculty, we have two full members of the Polish Academy of Sciences PAN: Prof. Andrzej K. Tarkowski and Prof. Jerzy Dzik, as well as corresponding members, Prof. Maciej Z. Gliwicz, Prof. Andrzej Jerzmanowski and Prof. Piotr Węgleński. Our professors are also members of the PAU. Prof. Andrzej K. Tarkowski is a full member, whereas Prof. Jadwiga Bryła and Prof. Maciej Gliwicz are corresponding members. Prof. Andrzej Tarkowski is also a member of the French and American Academies of Science, the Academia Europaea and a laureate of the very prestigious Japan Prize (2002) for pioneering research on the embryology of mammals. Prof. Janusz Faliński of the Geobotanical Station in Białowieża, a member of the Italian Academy of Forest Science was honoured in 1995 with a Doctor Honoris Causa degree from the University of Camerino in Italy. That same title was bestowed by the University of Warsaw in 1992 upon the notable geneticist, of Polish extraction, Prof. Piotr Słonimski of the Université de Paris VI. In 1989, Prof. Władysław Kunicki-Goldfinger became a Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Wrocław. In 2000 r. Prof. Andrzej K. Tarkowski becme Doctor Honoris Causa of the Jagiellonian University and in 2005 of the University of Łódź. In 2001, Prof. Janusz Gill became a Doctor Honoris Causa of the Agricultural Academy of Szczecin. In 2002, Prof. Piotr Węgleński became a Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Ivanofrankovsk in Ukrainie, and in 2005 he became Doctor Honoris Causa of three universities: the University of Santa Maria in Arequipa (Peru), University of Podgorice (Montenegro) and University of Sofia (Bulgaria).

The Foundation for Polish Science prize, the most prestigious Polish science award, the so-called Polish Nobel, was bestowed upon Prof. Maciej Gliwicz in 2001. He is also a laureate of the Naumann-Thienemann medal bestowed by the Societé Internationale Limnologique, SIL, and a laureate of the Otto Kinne Foundation prize “Excellence in Ecology”. Prof. Andrzej Jerzmanowski received the Prof. Hugon Steinhaus award in 1995 for the book entitled “Genes and People” (Geny i Ludzie).

Many graduates of the Faculty of Biology have joined the professorial ranks of research institutions both in Poland and abroad, and have successful international careers. Others, connected to our Faculty as students or staff, have become figures in politics, the arts and society, such as Sioster Małgorzata Chmielewska of the Bread of Life Community, which aids the poor and homless, Ryszard Szaniawski (president of the foundation of the Oncological Hospice), Krzysztof Śliwiński (diplomat), Magdalena Tulli (writer), Bogdan Styczyński (jazz musician), Maryna Sołtyńska-Szollosi (painter and sculptor), and Maciej Iłowiecki (journalist).

In 1989, Władysław Kunicki-Goldfinger participated in the “Round Table” talks in the education and science sections, and Anna Kalinowska in the Environmental Conservation section. For many years, Ewa Symonides was the vice-chair of the National Council on the Environment, and was the Chief Environmental Conservation Officer, a post also held by Kazimierz Dobrowolski.

Written by Joanna Pijanowska and Agnieszka Mostowska