What Do Foreigners Think About Polish Science?

IBRIS Market and Social Research Institute carried out research on the image of Polish science both at home and abroad and subsequently organised a press conference to present its results.

The surveys were conducted between October 2019 and February 2020 in Poland, the European Union, and the United States. The results were published in "White Book of the Image of Polish Science".

In the US and EU, the most frequently mentioned inventions by Polish scientists are the discoveries of Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the paper clip, and the kerosene lamp.

Around 71% of surveyed Poles spoke positively about science in Poland, 18% of respondents were neutral, and 9% expressed a negative opinion. In the EU, those figures are about 46%, 51%, and 3.5%, respectively.

The researchers also asked whether there are good professors in Polish science, a statement with which 7 out of 10 Poles agreed. Among EU and US respondents, only 37% expressed a positive opinion about Polish professors.

The respondents were also asked to name the most famous achievements of Polish scientists. 

Poles most often mentioned: 

  • the Mars rover, graphene, car wipers, the kerosene lamp, the artificial heart, the paper clip, the computer, the bulletproof vest, and the discoveries of Marie Skłodowska-Curie

In the EU, the most common answers were: 

  • the discoveries of Skłodowska-Curie and Nicola Tesla (even if Nicola Tesla is not Polish), the paper clip, toothpaste, and the kerosene lamp

In turn, US respondents most often mentioned: 

  • the discoveries of Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the bulletproof vest, the paper clip, the discoveries of Nikola Tesla, the computer, the walkie-talkie and toothpaste

One of the authors of the study, Kamil Smogorzewski, mentioned that Nikola Tesla is not a Polish scientist (he is a scientist of Serbian origin who was born in what is now Croatia), and pointed to the necessity of negating such false statements. 

The authors of the research mentioned that when it comes to knowledge of Polish discoveries, the situation is complicated because some inventions can be attributed to more than one author. Moreover, Poles were sometimes the authors of solutions introduced during particular stages of work. For example, Poles pioneered devices such as the cinematograph and hologram, both of which were later developed by teams from other countries. Moreover, well-known Polish scientists often worked abroad.

With respect to the computer, which was mentioned in the responses, the world's first modular 16-bit minicomputer was created by Jacek Karpiński in 1969. Kazimierz Żegleń and Jan Szczepanik are also considered to be among the creators of the bulletproof vest.

Finally, respondents were asked to name Polish scientists. In Poland, the most well-known scientists are: 

  • Nicolaus Copernicus (97%) 
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie (96%)
  • Ignacy Łukasiewicz (77%)
  • Johannes Hevelius (56%)
  • Ignacy Domeyko (47%)
  • Stefan Banach (43%)

In the US, the most well-known Polish scientists are Marie Skłodowska-Curie (61%), Nicolaus Copernicus (50%), Ludwik Hirszfeld (11%), Stefan Banach (10%), and Casimir Funk (10%).

During the conference, the President of IBRIS Institute, Marcin Duma, mentioned that the Polish coronavirus test is among the latest national achievements worth promoting. 

The authors of the research have also prepared an online "Handbook of Good Practices of the Image of Polish Science". You can find it at the following link https://ibris.pl/2020/08/wizerunek-polskiej-nauki-w-kraju-i-za-granica/ (PAP)

Source: https://naukawpolsce.pap.pl/aktualnosci/news%2C83422%2Cbadanieslawne-polskie-wynalazki-odkrycia-sklodowskiej-curie-lampa-naftowa