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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 30, 2009
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From the Publisher
September 30, 2009   
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In a sense, the hottest part of this issue of The Polish Science Voice is an interview with Prof. Jacek Jania, a Polish ice expert who studies the glaciers of Spitsbergen, an island in the Arctic Ocean. Jania is chairman of the Polar Research Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences and head of the geomorphology unit at the Earth Sciences Department of the University of Silesia in Katowice. In the interview, he talks about the implications of global warming.

Climate change and global warming are a hot topic that has drawn a lot of media attention and influenced our daily activities for some time. Many professionals and ordinary people evaluate and interpret these developments from the perspective of their practical impact on our everyday lives. Programs for counteracting global warming and measures designed to limit climate change take center stage in both national and international politics, because the environmental and economic implications of action and inaction in this area are manifold.

Poland, whose energy sector is based on coal, is taking an active part in the ongoing debate on climate change. The country is making intense efforts to embrace the global agenda and European Union programs in this area.

The interview with Jania shows just how powerful the ties between science, business and politics are when it comes to climate protection. The professor tells a fascinating story of glaciers that end in the sea and are more sensitive to climate change than glaciers ending on land. He also talks about Spitsbergen, which has drawn Polish researchers for years, and about the significant role that Polish researchers have played in international glaciological programs. All these endeavors have an impact on every household, on the life of every one of us and on the generations to come.

In another example of ties between science, technology and business, the Jagiellonian University in Cracow and the Regional Blood Donation and Treatment Center in Katowice have set up a consortium to develop "modern reagents for serological tests." Blood treatment is an important area of medicine; some 2 million patients in Poland are treated with blood and blood products every year.

Meanwhile, work to establish an Advanced Materials and Technology Center (CeZaMaT) is under way in Warsaw, marking Poland's largest hi-tech research infrastructure project to date. After it is completed in 2012, the center will work to develop interdisciplinary research into modern materials and technologies. The Warsaw University of Technology, a leading technical university in Poland, is coordinating work to establish the center. The idea is turn Warsaw into a nanotechnology hub.

In a more traditional sector of the Polish economy, textile and clothing manufacturers are working to fend off cheap imports from China and India by introducing new types of products. As part of these efforts, a research and development consortium called the Polish Technology Platform for the Textile Industry aims to develop production of specialist textiles and clothing.

As part of our regular reports on Polish universities, in this issue of The Polish Science Voice we describe the privately-run Higher School of Mechatronics in the southern city of Katowice, which provides interdisciplinary training for engineers. Mechatronics is a combination of electronics, mechanical engineering, automatic control engineering, robotics, optoelectronics and sensory engineering as well as information technology and computer systems.

The Higher School of Mechatronics admitted its first students in 2005. Today it has about 500 students and the number of applicants is doubling every year.

As usual, this issue of The Polish Science Voice also carries some hot news about what is happening in Polish science and about how Polish technology is winning ground abroad.
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