19th June, 2015

IPC PAS celebrates 60 years of scientific contribution to the development of chemistry

For 60 years now scientists at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw have been working on deepening their knowledge of the chemical and physical processes occurring in nature, and how these can be used for the good of humanity. On the anniversary of the Institute's activities a ceremony took place, attended by numerous guests and employees.

      The Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS), established in 1955 as one of the first chemical institutes of the PAS, is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The past, present and future of the Institute were all talked about at Friday's anniversary celebrations, which, in addition to the Institute's employees, were attended by representatives of leading Polish scientific institutions, including the PAS Institute of Organic Chemistry, the PAS Institute of Physics, the PAS Institute of Experimental Biology, the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology and the Forest Research Institute "We are proud of our scientific past. It is very important to us because it is what has shaped us. However, the most important is the future. As the children of our scientific guardians we should continuously think about the legacy we leave to our own scientific children - and our scientific grandchildren. If we instill really good habits into them, in time we will establish a creative environment in which, sooner or later, someone will appear who will reach for the Nobel Prize. These are the goals the new organizational schemes now being introduced in our Institute are aiming at," said Prof. Robert Hołyst, director of the Institute. "The Institute currently employs more than 300 staff. In over 50% of cases their activities are financed by more than 100 research grants, awarded in domestic and European competitions, including such elite events as those organized by the European Research Council (ERC)," emphasized Prof. Marcin Opałło, IPC PAS deputy director for scientific affairs. "Our staff includes Professor Zbigniew Grabowski, winner of the 'Polish Nobel', that is, the Prize of the Foundation for Polish Science. The method he developed for molecule generation in states with significant electron charge dislocation can be found in photochemistry textbooks all over the world. There are also as many as four winners of prestigious professorial subsidies of the MASTER programme of the Foundation for Polish Science. The appreciation of our achievements by independent organizations is proof of the high level of science at the Institute," notes in turn Prof. Alexander Jablonski, the previous director of the Institute.

      The scientific work of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the PAS, covering interdisciplinary issues in the field of chemistry and its contact with physics, biology and materials science, is carried out in modernized laboratories and in the new laboratory building. The Institute houses, among others, the Mazovia Centre for Surface Analysis, one of the better-equipped laboratories in Europe, dealing with the study of the phenomena occurring in the few outermost atomic layers of materials surfaces. Each year the Institute's staff, organized into thematic teams led by both experienced professors as well as young leaders, present their findings in approx. 200 scientific publications, of which about 40 reach the columns of global scientific journals from the top shelf. This success would not be possible without the efforts of more than 70 doctoral students and approx. 100 university students, actively involved in the research. In addition to basic research, over the years, application has played an important role in the IPC PAS. The Institute's industrial partners to date include the largest corporations, such as South Korea's Samsung, Japan's Mitsui Chemicals, and the Anglo-Dutch Unilever. The CHEMIPAN R&D laboratories, based at the Institute, are famous in Europe and all over the world for the production of pheromones influencing the behavior of insect pests. There are also two high-tech companies dealing in micro-flow techniques developing at the IPC PAN, they were founded at the turn of 2011 and 2012, just after legislative changes allowing PAS institutes to participate in spin-off companies.