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Winners of the Polish Press Agency and the Ministry of Science competition for science popularisers announced


Professor Ryszard Tadeusiewicz, Dr. Aleksandra Ziembińska-Buczyńska, Dariusz Aksamit, Koło Miłośników Języka Papillon (Language Enthusiasts Club Papillon), Centrum Nowoczesności Młyn Wiedzy (Modernity Centre "Mill of Knowledge") and Paulina Łopatniuk are the winners of the Popularizer of Science 2018 competition organized by PAP - Science in Poland and the Ministry of Science.

Zdjęcie przedstawia statuetki wręczane laureatom Popularyzatora Nauki.

The results of the 14th edition of the competition were announced on Monday in Warsaw, during a gala at the Copernicus Science Centre. The ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education Jarosław Gowin and Vice President of the Polish Press Agency Łukasz Świerżewski.

The competition awards people and institutions, whose passion is to share knowledge and uncover the mysteries of modern science for those not associated with the academic community.

"I am convinced that your activity is just as important, complementary and inspiring as the great cognitive efforts of scholars" - said Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Science and Higher Education, Jarosław Gowin. "These are two sides of the same coin, the wonderful coin of science: research and promotion" - he added.

He pointed out that the social responsibility of science, which includes supporting the activities of universities for children or universities of the third age, was an important part of the activities of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. "But all those activities would not be possible - or at least their effectiveness would be incomparably smaller - if not for the true enthusiasts of promotion of science" - emphasised Gowin.

"Promotion of science is an indispensable part of this wonderful profession, this magnificent mission of a scholar" - the minister said. He noted that promotion of science was not reserved for scholars. "There are many journalists, many science enthusiasts - people driven by selfless love for truth, who try to instil this truth and an interest in it in others" - he said.

According to Vice President of the Polish Press Agency Łukasz Świerżewski, "science promoter is a bit like a journalist". He said that the qualities of a good promoter are the same as the qualities of a good journalist: reliability, knowledge, good timing, ability to attract recipients.

Chairman of the competition jury Prof. Michał Kleiber emphasized that today promotion of science is part of the scientist`s mission. "Today, communication on the line scientists - society is an absolute must" - he said.

"In my opinion, scholars are still do not have sufficient awareness that this relationship of science and society is key - when it comes to serious matters, but also the key to the development of science. Ultimately, the public decides on the budget for science and on what it can really do" - added Prof. Kleiber.

This year, the competition jury awarded prizes in six categories: Scientist, Animator, Institution, Team, Media and the main prize.

The main prize and the title of the Popularizer of Science 2018 was awarded to Prof. Ryszard Tadeusiewicz from the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków. The professor primarily promotes topics related to biocybernetics, biomedical engineering, artificial intelligence, automation and robotics. The winner of the Popularizer of Science 2013 contest does not rest: he publishes books for children, writes columns on science and technology and a popular science blog.

"Over the years, Prof. Ryszard Tadeusiewicz has accumulated a comprehensive science promotion output: he gives lectures, writes books, creates broadcasts, has a fixed column in a newspaper. He speaks on very different and important topics" - wrote the members of the jury.

This year`s winner in the Scientist category was Dr. Aleksandra Ziembińska-Buczyńska from the Silesian University of Technology, co-founder and director of the Science Popularization Center of the Silesian University of Technology, involved in the popularization of science for over a dozen years.

The award in the Animator category went to Dariusz Aksamit from the Warsaw University of Technology: one of the founders and former president of the Spokesmen of Science Association (Stowarzyszenie Rzecznicy Nauki) and a co-initiator of the Polish March for Science. In his science promotion career he conducted many presentations, demonstrations, activities for children and adults, in which several thousand people participated. He spoke in TV and radio programs, he is also the author of popular science texts and films. He also participated in the first scientific stand-up in Poland.

In the Team category, the title of Popularizer of Science 2018 went to the Language Enthusiasts Club Papillon (Koło Miłośników Języka Papillon), whose activities are focused on raising public awareness about the functioning of deaf people in Poland.

The Modernity Centre "Mill of Knowledge" (Centrum Nowoczesności Młyn Wiedzy) based in Toruń was awarded in the Institution category. The jury of the competition emphasised that it was "a mature institution with an impressive science promotion output, and its activities are conducted at a very high level".

This year`s winner in the Media category was Paulina Łopatniuk, author of the blog "Patolodzy na klatce" ("Patologists in the Staiway"). She presents various medical issues, in particular in the field of pathology, oncology, reproductive biology, infectious and parasitic diseases, preventive vaccinations, in an accessible manner.

The jury also decided to award two special mentions. One of them went to YouTuber Dawid Myśliwiec. One of his popular scientific channels "Uwaga Naukowy Bełkot" ("Warning! Scientific Babble") currently has more than 377,000 subscribers and is one of the most popular Polish YouTube channels of this type.

The second special mention was awarded to the SIGNUM Centre for the Popularisation of Mathematics at the Białystok University of Technology. "Although mathematics is difficult to promote, this group does a great job" - the jury wrote in the justification of its decision.

In addition, the editors of PAP - Science in Poland granted special Tomasz Trzciński Award for the benchmark information policy. The award went to the Promotion and Information Department of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń.

The competition "Popularizer of Science" is organised since 2005. A record number of 140 candidates entered the latest edition of the contest. In the first stage of the vote, the jury selected 22 finalists, the best in each of the competition categories: Scientist, Animator, Media (five finalists in each), Team (four finalists) and Institution (three finalists).

Previous winners of the competition include: philosopher of nature Fr. Prof. Michał Heller, neuroscientist Prof. Jerzy Vetulani, author of popular science television programs Ed. Wiktor Niedzicki, archaeologist Prof. Andrzej Kokowski, physicist Prof. Tadeusz Wibig, as well as institutions such as the Copernicus Science Centre, Polish Academy of Kids and the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology.

PAP - Science in Poland, Katarzyna Florencka