March 25, 2024

Faces of success

Two of the most important scientific prizes in Poland were awarded last year to researchers from the Nicolaus Copernicus University. The Prize of the National Science Centre was awarded to Dr. Hab. Katharina Boguslawski, and the Prize of the Foundation for Polish Science was awarded to Professor Maria Lewicka.

Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (NCU) is proud to present the successes of two researchers. They are pioneers in their disciplines, who with their out-of-the-box approach contributed significantly to the development of science and won two of the most important awards in Polish academia in 2023; and two who, just on a side note, happen to be women.

The awards of the National Science Centre (NSC) are the most important distinction in the country granted to young researchers. In the area of science and technology, the prize for the construction of a reliable and easy-to-use quantum mechanical model of chemical compounds containing actinide atoms and the design and development of innovative methods for studying the electron structures and tracking chemical reactions of actinides based on quantum information theory was awarded to Prof. Katharina Boguslawski from the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics. The researcher, who has been affiliated with the Nicolaus Copernicus University for eight years, is currently implementing a prestigious ERC Starting Grant (awarded in 2022).  Moreover, thanks to SONATA BIS funding from NSC, she is also leading her own research group. Prof. Boguslawski is a member of the Academy of Young Scientists of the Polish Academy of Sciences, where she is also involved in initiatives to equalise opportunities for women and men in science. She participates, for example, in the “Become a researcher” event, which was last held at the Nicolaus Copernicus University and aims to encourage especially female students to pursue scientific careers. Despite the fact that the event was addressed mainly to women, prof. Boguslawski stresses that a major problem currently hindering the development of science is not a gender, but the general unwillingness of young people to continue their studies at a doctoral level.

Professor Maria Lewicka from the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences received the award in Poland, commonly called the Polish Nobel Prize. It is awarded annually for achievements that open up new cognitive perspectives, make an outstanding contribution to Poland’s civilisational progress, and respond to the most ambitious challenges of the modern world. The researcher was recognised in the humanities and social sciences area for formulating and verifying a psychological model of place attachment and place memory. Prof. Lewicka has been affiliated with the Nicolaus Copernicus University since 2016, when she led the team that created the psychology degree study programme. The researcher is currently the Head of the Department of Social and Environmental Psychology at the Institute of Psychology. She is also a laureate of, among others, the J-P Codol Prize awarded by the European Association of Social Psychology for her contribution to European psychology (2009) and, since 2021, she has been a member of the European Academy. She regularly appears in the list of the world’s most influential scientists in terms of the number of cited articles compiled by Elsevier Publishing and Stanford University. These are just two excellent examples of academic success among many, many other minor and major achievements of NCU academics. Two, who just happen to have female faces.


Image: Professor Katharina Boguslawski, and Professor Maria Lewicka; Photocredit: © Andrzej Romański

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