Wrocław Academic Award

Wrocław is similar to other academic centres in Poland in that it has its own academic award. The award is presented to scholars or artists who use their interdisciplinary activities to bring together academic researchers in Wrocław.

If the Wrocław Academic Award had been established sixty years ago, it may have been presented to Hugo Steinhaus. He was known for his contemptuous attitude to dividing research into exact sciences and humanities. He used to say that if someone wanted to compliment a mathematician, they would call him a “true humanist”; if they wanted to discredit a humanist, they would say “that's just a humanist”.

Stainhaus was a great advocate for the unity of cognition. His Wrocław tombstone features the following inscription: “mathematics is a bridge between the spirit and the matter”. Steinhaus's legacy from his Wrocław period is not only about mathematics or popular science; he was also committed to bringing together the emerging academic circles of post-war Wrocław.

Wrocław Mayor Rafał Dutkiewicz believes that interdisciplinary research can serve as a role model for artists and scientists in their quest for the benefit and development of Wrocław. Hence the idea to establish the Academic Award for scientists who bring together various branches of academic research.

At the turn of the new Millennium, the Award could have been presented to Professor Jan Mozrzymas. This eminent physicist originated the idea to set up the Studium Generale at the University of Wrocław to provide a platform for academic exchange. His key research interest was focused on symmetry in physics. The Studium Generale provides an opportunity to mathematicians, painters, biologists and anthropologists to discuss harmony in nature, science, culture and art.

Going back to the 1970s, the Award might have been presented to Jerzy Grotowski. These few eminent figures are but hypothetical candidates for the award; many more people of their kind can be found in the history of Wrocław science and art.