Author: Organizing Committee Date: January 1, 2020
The year 2020, the Year of Physics proclaimed by the Senate of the Republic of Poland begins. The focal point of the centenary of the establishment of the Polish Physical Society will be the Extraordinary Congress of Polish Physicists in Warsaw, which will take place on April 24-26 in Warsaw. The jubilee meeting will take place almost exactly 100 years after the meeting, at which scientists full of enthusiasm and joy of regained independence of Poland, decided to set up this society and almost exactly in the same place where they debated on Sunday afternoon of April 11, 1920.
I can see almost like today a small laboratory room at the Warsaw University of Technology, which served as a conference room for us. Our senior prof. Wladyslaw Natanson chaired. There was probably twenty-several people at this meeting, including 18 founding members. We were all touched by the fact that we are establishing a nationwide organization - years later recalled prof. Stefan Pienkowski, an outstanding physicist and science organizer in Poland. It was an extraordinary period. Despite nearly two years of the Polish Republic's existence, there were still battles to delineate and secure its borders. It was four months later when the Bolshevik army heading towards Warsaw was to be stopped. After 123 years of Poland's occupation, none of the participants in the Warsaw meeting could remember an independent homeland, and even the stories heard in childhood were often not based on the personal memory of parents or grandparents. The paths of their study led through many countries and universities, catching on to the enlightened minds of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, when the greatest revolution in physics took place since the time of Newton. Regaining independence, the need to create state structures and staff of Polish universities, as well as sincere patriotism meant that scientists abandoned their positions at Western universities. They came to Poland with knowledge, experience and contacts to support their colleagues, who for years fought in the country under partitions, so that Polish science and higher education would not die.
Connected in this Society, we decide to zealously and faithfully serve our nation. The calling makes us know and ponder Nature; we want to learn from it, from primers, from the prototype of everything that exists. Because Nature feeds us not only with daily bread, Nature inspires us, Nature raises concepts, Nature creates our whole spiritual life. We want to go together, move forward with the great science of the world; we want to take advantage of all the achievements of broad, all-human thought, we want to participate cooperatively and actively in its unstoppable and wonderful procession. We want to learn constantly and help others to learn, to contribute to progress and, God will, to flourish the Nation, to fulfill our duty towards its future generations - this motto opening the speech of prof. Wladyslaw Natanson at the founding congress on April 11, 1920, is guiding the activities of the Polish Physical Society to this day. It has brought together physicists for a hundred years, organizes the popularization of this field of knowledge and its achievements, awards and rewards the greatest successes of Polish physics. At the jubilee congress, these achievements will be reminded by those of physicists who at the same time have contributed to the development of Polish scientific and technical thought, as well as being able to tell about their research interestingly and fascinatingly even for an ordinary listener.
The congress will last three days. The first of them, devoted to the historical perspective of the past century of Polish physics, will take place in the historical Building of Physics at the Warsaw University of Technology - the site of the founding of the Polish Physical Society. The congress will begin with a lecture on the circumstances of the establishment of the Polish Physical Society in the difficult period of forming Polish statehood. Talking about the circumstances and effects of the greatest successes of Polish physics in the interwar period, the speakers will indicate the figures of physicists who today can be considered as a model of research career in retrospect. Next, representatives of the founding centers of the Polish Physical Society - Warsaw, Vilnius and Lviv (from where the research teams moved to Torun and Wroclaw, respectively), Krakow and Poznan will speak. Each of the lecturers will present the richness of the post-war history of universities and scientific institutes from their city. The ceremony will end with a jubilee gala dinner and a concert performed by Vadim Brodsky at the Warsaw University of Technology Main Hall.
The second day of the Congress will be devoted to the present day. Physicists will move to the modern building of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Warsaw. There, the authors of the most spectacular achievements of Polish physics, and at the same time outstanding science popularizers will talk in an accessible way about their and their colleagues' research. The plenary session will begin with the fascinating concept of gravitational waves and Polish contribution to their discovery. Then the speakers will talk about clocks, fast measurements, dark matter and the problem of missing solar neutrinos in relation to the predictions of the theory. The topic of the importance of detection of Higgs particles, according to the theory particles responsible for mass, will also be discussed, and the researchers of the phenomenon of two-proton radioactivity will explain the role of this mechanism in physics. The second part of the session will be devoted to the applications of physics, i.e. the issues of the latest electronic materials from semiconductors to spintronics and the problems facing the development of nanotechnology, photonics, and ecological, efficient energy. Technical topics will be complemented by a lecture on the light and dark sides of quantum computing.
As it can be learned at the Congress, physics are not only difficult theoretical and technical issues, but above all universal methods that can be effectively used in various branches and even... in politics. The last part of the session will take the audience to the field of medicine. Polish achievements in the field of x-ray production and control, as well as hadronotherapy will be presented. The session will end with a lecture on the exotic particle system called positronium and its importance in physics, biology and medicine.
The third day of the congress will be a celebration of teachers. Invited guests - outstanding Polish didactics will discuss the history of teaching physics, but above all they will show spectacular physical shows and experiments which, even with small resources, can make lessons more attractive. A Didactic Bazaar is also planned, where students and youth groups will present their achievements.
Lecturers during plenary sessions will discuss the most important achievements of Polish physics, but will not of course exhaust all the successes of Polish physics of the last century. That is why the organizers invited all Polish physicists not only to participate in the Congress, but also to prepare posters about their own achievements. The most interesting of them will be presented at the "100 posters per century" poster session. Each of these posters will present fascinating and diverse aspects of Polish physics. Physicists want to celebrate their jubilee together with the whole society, which is why, like the interwar open series of lectures on physics, they invite all science supporters to participate in the Congress. All congress sessions will be open to free listeners (after free registration on the congress website: 100lat.ptf.net.pl).
The Jubilee Congress will be the forty-sixth in a row. Meeting on average every two years, Polish physicists continued to learn about the secrets of nature and their use for the development of civilization. The history of Poland meant that in the last century many conventions were held in the shadow of social and political events, and several of them could not take place within the prescribed time. Polish physics is entering the new century firmly rooted in global scientific progress and strongly supported by funds for research programs originating in the country and the European Union. May the next jubilees of physics be already celebrated together with the Polish Nobel Prize winners in physics.
Congress web page: 100lat.ptf.net.pl