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From the Publisher
October 29, 2010   
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Weather-wise, it has not been a good year for Poland. Repeated floods inundated thousands of hectares of land, causing deaths, destroying infrastructure and fields, and robbing families of property and possessions for which they had worked their whole lives. We are largely to blame ourselves for the floods and their aftermath—because we follow a misguided regional development policy, try to economize on hydrological systems, and fail to pay sufficient attention to flood prevention. After the catastrophic floods of the late 1990s and the special investments made since then, the ability to monitor weather changes and warn people in good time of impending danger has improved considerably. However, much still remains to be done in this area both in Poland and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Polish scientists have made a major step in this area, one that promises to have global implications. A team of physicists and astronomers from the Jagiellonian University in Cracow have developed an innovative system for monitoring storms around the world. As Ewa Dereń writes in this issue of The Polish Science Voice, the system marks a breakthrough in meteorology. It makes it possible to observe a storm over the Sahara or in Turkey in real time. The researchers can not only accurately determine its force but also predict changes in its direction.

The business implications of this project seem to be no less interesting and no less important than the scientific impact.

Another project with global implications is highlighted in a report on a research and development consortium called the Polish Clean Coal Technology Platform, which focuses on clean coal and carbon capture and storage technologies. The consortium is one of 27 technology platforms in this country. Energy was, is and will be one of the major problems of civilization. Energy sources and the ways in which energy is produced and consumed influence almost all areas of life. Poland is a coal powerhouse, but this also has its drawbacks. On the one hand, coal gives us a sense of security, but on the other it poses a threat to our economy, because while burning it we emit large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is not only wrong, but also expensive—and likely to be even more expensive in the future. Scientists and engineers could help reduce the costs of using coal for energy purposes—by capturing CO2, storing it, and subsequently using it for industrial purposes. This could be a Midas touch for Poland and a way of turning a weakness into a strength. And that is the main aim of the Polish Clean Coal Technology Platform. The Polish Science Voice has focused on these issues many times, and will continue to highlight them in the future. This time we look at them in the context of the Platform’s agenda.

The special guest of this issue of The Polish Science Voice, Prof. Tadeusz Robak, deals with a completely different scientific discipline—hematology. He heads the Hematology Clinic at the Medical University of ŁódĽ. He tells us about Polish doctors fighting leukemia and looking for best practices in this area.

Moreover, this issue has reports on various Polish inventions and the international successes of Polish doctoral students, in addition to an interesting—and completely peaceful—project in which the Institute for Nuclear Studies in ¦wierk near Warsaw is preparing to work with Iranian researchers in the field of radiotherapy.

Last but not least, we report on the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, an important institution of higher education with 399 years of history and an army of almost 50,000 students.
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