Irish Polish Mathematical Connections (Jan 2023)


In previous blogs here, we have surveyed Irish mathematical connections with European places of learning, including Cambridge, Oxford, and France (in each case only up to 1900, so far), as well as Austria. This month we turn to Poland. 

Our goal is to include all mathematical people whose training and/or careers included time in both Ireland and Poland.  As well as Irish and Polish people, we feature other scholars, e.g., those from elsewhere who did a PhD in one country and a postdoc in the other.

Poland as a state has had a turbulent history, thanks to the ambitions and aggressions of some of its neighbours.  Both its western and eastern borders have moved significantly over time. 









  (Modern map by Reytan via Wikipedia)

Below, we use the English versions/spellings of city (and university) names; hence Warsaw instead of Warszawa (click there to hear it in Polish), Krakow rather than Kraków, Lodz in place of Łódź, Wroclaw not Wrocław, and so on.  (Appearances can be deceptive to English speakers, e.g., Ł sounds nothing like L; it is closer to W.)

Many central European scholars pre-WWII were educated in an era where the historical record seems to imply that they were awarded doctorates after a few years of study and a dissertation.  There is often no explicit mention of earlier degrees.

As usual, we include some people with physics and engineering leanings.  Please alert us to any omissions or errors.  (Some living people prefer not to be included.)

Thanks to Edmund Robertson, Ted Hurley, Olivia Bree, the DIAS, and others for valuable input.

Last updated 2 Feb 2024.

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01. Mathematical logician Jan Łukasiewicz (1878-1956) was born 21 December in Lemberg (Polish name Lvóv, then in Austria-Hungary, now in Ukraine and known as Lviv), and was educated at Lemberg Univ in philosophy, logic, and mathematics.  His doctoral thesis on "On Induction as the Inverse of Deduction" was done under Kazimierz Twardowski (1902).  His career included lecturing at Lemberg (1906-1914) and Warsaw (1915-1939), as well as a stint as a government minister of education (1919-1920).  He spent some of WWII in Germany, and after a spell in Belgium, he arrived in Ireland in 1946, where (at de Valera's prompting) he was appointed professor of mathematical logic at the RIA.  He spent the rest of life in Dublin, publishing the book Aristotle's Syllogistic from the Standpoint of Modern Formal Logic in 1951.  His innovations include three-valued logic (1917) and the bracket-free so-called Polish notation (1920s).  He was buried in Mt Jerome Cemetery in Dublin, but in late 2022, his remains were repatriated to Warsaw.

Wikipedia / IT / Bio / CV / Stanford


02. Jane Molyneux (later Dziewulski, 1887-1920) was born 20 March in Liverpool, and grew up there and in Belfast, her Antrim born father having become Belfast harbour master in 1893.  She was educated at QUB (BA, 1906, BSc & MA 1908), following which she studied in Germany for a year.  She lectured on physics back at QUB (1909-1910 & 1917-1919), and published a paper in French on Zeeman Triplets (1912).  In August 1919, she married Polish physicist Wacław Dziewulski who had just spent a year at QUB.  Sadly, she died young in Warsaw the next August, following childbirth.

1901 Census / 1909 / 1912A / 1912B / 1920 /  Son & Death / Grave 

First woman to get maths MA from Queen's, Belfast (1908)

First Irish woman maths grad to lecture in physics at third level.

First Irish woman maths grad to pursue research on the continent (in physics).


03. Theoretical physicist Wojciech Cegła was born in Wroclaw, Poland, and was educated at Wroclaw Univ (Dip 1973, PhD 1981?).  His career has been spent there apart from 3 years at DIAS (1986-1989).  He has several books to his name.

Wroclaw / DIAS / ResearchGate


04. Theoretical physicist and cancer researcher Lech Papiez (1950-2016) was born in Sosnowiec, Poland, and was educated nearby at Silesian Univ in Katowice (Dip 1974, PhD 1977).  His thesis on "Reorientacja molekularna na grupie C nieskończoność" (Molecular Reorientation at Group C_∞) was done under Edward Klug.  After a few more years at Silesian (1978-1981) he moved to DIAS (1981-1984), where he worked on statistical mechanics with John Lewis and J.R. McConnell.  He then relocated to Canada, and after a period at Manitoba (1984-1988) did a residency in medical physics at the London Regional Cancer Center, Ontario (1989-1991).  The rest of his career was spent as a radiation oncologist, first at Indiana Univ (1992-2006) and then at the Univ of Texas at Dallas (2006-2016).  He played a big role in designing a lung cancer radiation treatment.

IEEE / Indiana / Fund


05. Statistician Kris Mosurski (1949-2018) was born 16 April in Krakow, Poland, and grew up there, then in Birmingham, back in Krakow, and finally in Oxford.  He was educated at Hull (BSc 1977), and then settled on the staff at TCD (1977-2011).  Within a few years, he pursued research on "Some Problems Concerning the Distribution of Survivors in Two Co-Existing Populations" under Jim Thompson back at at Hull, for which he received the PhD (1983).


06. Theoretical physicist Colm Whelan was born in Dublin and was educated at first at UCD (BSc 1977, MSc 1979), spending 1977-1978 with on a Unesco Copernicus Fellowship at Torun, Poland.  His 1984+ PhD on "On the Calculation of Cross-Sections for Electron-Atom Collisions in the Born Approximation" was done at Cambridge under Alan Burgess.  His career started at Royal Holloway (1983-1986), Univ College London (1986-1988), Frankfurt Inst of Theoretical Physics (1989), and Rutherford Appleton Lab (1990-1991).  He spent a decade back at Cambridge (1991-2001), where he supervised 5 PhD students, and was awarded DSc (2001).  Since then, he has been at Old Dominion Univ, in Norfolk, Virginia.  His numerous books include A first Course in Mathematical Physics (2016) and Atomic Structure (2018).

ODU / GoogleScholar / ResearchGate


07. Maciej Klimek was born in Krakow, Poland, and was educated there at Jagiellonian Univ (MSc 1978, PhD 1981).  His thesis on "Extremal Functions and L-regularity of Sets in \mathbb {C} ^N" was done under Józef Siciak.  His career started at TCD (1981-1983) and UCD (1983-1993).  Since then he has been at Uppsala Univ in Sweden, where he has supervised 6 PhD students.  His interests include multidimensional complex analysis, time series analysis and financial mathematics.

Uppsala / LinkedIn


08. Jakub Wejchert was born in Poland and grew up there and in Dublin.  He educated at first at TCD (BA 1983) and UCD (MSc 1984).  His doctoral research on "Monte Carlo Methods for Network Optimization" was done at JRC, in Ispra, Italy, under Denis Weaire, the PhD being awarded by TCD (1988).  His career started at IBM, but since 2005 he has worked on sustainability and biodiversity for the European Commission in Brussels.

LinkedIn / ResearchGate


09. Marek Szularz was born in Poland and was educated.  He lectured at UU Coleraine from 1996 on.

LinkedIn / ResearchGate / DBLP



10. Daragh McInerney was born in Galway and was educated at UCG (BSc 1995, MSc 1996) and at Oxford (DPhil 2001).  His thesis on "Spatio-Temporal Patterning in Biological Systems: Numerical Techniques and Mathematical Modelling" was done under Philip Maini (from Magherafelt) & David Gavaghan.  His career started as a quant in London (2001-2008), followed by time as a maths finance researcher at AGH Univ in Krakow, Poland (2009-2014), during which he co-authored the book Stochastic Interest Rate.  Since then, he has been based in Oxford.

LinkedIn / ResearchGate


11. Sebastian Wieczorek was born 4 August in Chociwel, east of Szczecin, in northwest Poland, and was educated at the Universities of Poznan (Dip 1998) and the Free Univ of Amsterdam (PhD 2002).  His thesis on "The Dynamical Complexity of Optically Injected Semiconductor Lasers" was done under Daan Lenstra & Bernd Krauskopf.  He then worked at Sandia Nat Lab (2002-2006) and  at the Univ of Exeter (2006-2014) before settling at UCC, where he now heads up Applied Maths.  His interests include nonlinear dynamics and applied bifurcation theory.

UCD / ResearchGate / LinkedIn


12. Ré Ó Buachalla was born 23 August in Clonakilty, Cork, and was educated at first at UCC (BSc 2003, MSc 2007). His master's thesis on "An Introduction to Certain New Trends in Noncommutative Geometry" was done under Gerry Murphy (1948-2006) and subsequently Stephen Wills, leading to an NUI Travelling Studentship.  He did his PhD (2013) at Queen Mary in London on "Quantum Groups and Noncommutative Complex Geometry" under Shahn Majid.  His career so far has been spent at the Univ of Karlovy in Prague (2012-2014, 2020- ), with stops in IMPAN in Warsaw (2015-2017) and Univ Libre Brussels (2018-2020).  His interests are in the interaction of quantum groups and non-commutative geometry

Charles / IMPAN / ResearchGate


13. Robert Pluta was born in Krakow, Poland and was educated there (Dip 2006) and at TCD (PhD 2012).  His thesis on "Ranges of Bimodule Projections and Conditional Expectations" was done under Richard Timoney.  His career has taken him to the Univ of Iowa, Sam Houston State Univ in Texas, and UC Irvine.  He is currently at the College of the Holy Cross in Worchester, Massachusetts.  His interests are in operator algebras and ternary rings of operators.

Holy Cross / UCI / GoogleScholar / LinkedIn