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The Warsaw Voice » Other » April 27, 2004
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Seeking Perfection
April 27, 2004   
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by Andrzej Stępniewski

The Center of Excellence at the Institute of Agrophysics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN) in Lublin conducts multidisciplinary scientific research.

It was established in 1968 as the only PAN institution in eastern Poland. The city of Lublin is exceptional in terms of science and research. It is the location of five institutions of higher education: the Marie Curie-Skłodowska University (UMCS), the Catholic University of Lublin (KUL), the Academy of Agriculture (AR), Lublin University of Technology (PL) and the Medical Academy (AM). Of a total of over 4,000 academic workers, nearly 700 have the title of professor.

The scientific staff of the institute constitutes an interdisciplinary team of physicists, chemists, agronomists, horticulturists, biologists, engineers, geographers and mathematicians.

Studying the environment
The research focuses on the application of physics in examining the properties of materials and processes in the production and processing of crops, especially in the soil-plant-atmosphere and soil-plant-machine-produce systems, with special consideration for the state of the natural environment and the quality of raw materials and food products. All aspects of the research conducted have been incorporated into the role of the Center of Excellence. The research is expected to lead to a high quality of raw materials and food products while maintaining optimum conditions of crop production and processing, without damage to the natural environment.

The main areas of interest of the center include:
- physics of the environment, dealing with research and monitoring the processes and physical, chemical and physiochemical properties in the soil-plant-atmosphere system;
- physics of plant material, focusing on examining the properties of plants and food crops and the processes taking place during growth, harvest, transportation, storage and processing of farm products;
- farm metrology, dealing with working out and perfecting the physical surveying methods to determine, monitor and analyze time-and-space changes in the physical parameters of the soil environment and farm materials undergoing agrotechnical and technological measures;
- computer modeling and simulation of the processes taking place in the natural environment.

Also considered are mineral fertilization systems, with attention to minimizing the effects of environmental pollution, and the physical characteristics of granulated materials. Physical processes that occur in the technologies of food crop treatment and processing are simulated.

Solutions for industry
The PAN Institute of Agrophysics conducts exchanges and joint research with more than 60 scientific units at home and abroad. It also works with industrial units, offering not only its research facilities, but also ready technological solutions. The institute manufactures state-of-the-art equipment measuring the moisture and salinity of capillary media such as soil. A comprehensive technology of high-quality rapeseed cultivation and harvesting has been elaborated, and measuring techniques are being developed that may be applied in monitoring, checking and controlling the conditions of growth, ripening, harvesting, post-harvest treatment and processing of crops.

The Institute of Agrophysics took part in previous-4th and 5th-editions of the European Union's Framework Programs, and was invited to participate in other international scientific consortiums. Under the 5th Framework Program, the institute cooperated on the Development of Specially Designed Insulation Materials for Building Renovation, with a consortium composed of teams from Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. As for the 6th Framework Program, the Institute of Agrophysics is participating in a project to establish a Regional Mobility Information Center for foreigners staying on scholarships in Poland and for Polish scientists interested in foreign scholarships as part of the Marie Curie scheme. The institute is also a partner in excellence networks dealing with food and, together with partners, prepares applications for further grants.

Professor Ryszard Walczak, Director of the Center
Dr Andrzej Stępniewski, Coordinator of the Center
AGROPHYSICS Center of Excellence Institute of Agrophysics Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Do¶wiadczalna 4, 20-290 Lublin, Poland
tel. (+48-81) 744 50 61
fax. (+48-81) 744 50 67
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