Prof. Stanisław Chwirot died

On April 21, 2020, at the age of 69, died Prof. Stanisław Chwirot, a former Vice-Rector for Science, the Dean of the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in years 2008-2016, a long-time Director of National Laboratory FAMO, and a long-time Director of the Institute of Physics.

Professor Stanisław Chwirot was born on October 24, 1950 in Bydgoszcz. He has been associated with the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń ever since he studied there. In 1973, he graduated from physics as the best graduate. Then, he began his doctoral studies. Their culmination was the dissertation titled „The use of magnetic resonance imaging in the study of magneto-mechanical phenomena” written under the guidance of Prof. Stanisław Łęgowski. After his doctorate, he completed several years of scientific internship at the University of Stirling (United Kingdom) and St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth (Ireland). He habilitated in 1989 on the basis of the monograph titled „Angular correlation measurements of electron impact excitation of the 32DJ and 32PJ states of atomic hydrogen”. He received the title of professor in 1998. From 1991, he was an associate professor at the Institute of Physics of the Nicolaus Copernicus University, and from the year 2000 − a full professor.

Professor Stanisław Chwirot was a pioneer of complete measurements of quantum systems in Toruń. Under his guidance, a unique experimental system was built, providing very valuable data on the quantum interactions of atoms with electrons. His scientific interests were very wide. In addition to the topics related to atomic, molecular, and optical physics, they included problems on the borderline between physics, biology, and medicine. You cannot overestimate the study of the processes of ultra-low luminescence from biological systems, nor the works on an optical method of early cancer detection. In this respect, to patent an innovative method of laser diagnostics of skin cancers was a spectacular success. The professor raised a generation of scientists, who are currently playing a leading role in Polish experimental studies of ultracold atomic and molecular ions. In 1982, he won the Ministry of Science, Higher Education and Technology award, as well as the Ministry of National Education award in 1993.

He was an outstanding organizer of academic and scientific life as the Head of the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Department, the Director of the Institute of Physics, the Dean of the Faculty of Physics, Astronomy and Informatics, and the Vice-Rector of the Nicolaus Copernicus University for Science and Foreign Cooperation, and the Director of the National Laboratory of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics. Professor Stanisław Chwirot made a significant impact on the development of experimental quantum physics in Poland by co-initiating the establishment of the National FAMO Laboratory and managing it for the first 10 years of its existence. As a result, the laboratory developed Polish research in the field of quantum optics, ultra-cold atoms, and ion trapping. It was in the KL FAMO led by Professor Stanisław Chwirot that a young generation of physicists was raised. In the recent years, Polish science takes great pride in their spectacular successes, like the construction of quantum memories and an optical atomic clock, quantum satellite communication, and laboratory search for dark matter.

Professor Stanisław Chwirot was a co-founder of the University Accreditation Commission and the qualifications framework system. The Aleksander Jabłoński Foundation was created on his initiative. He was a member of the Scientific Council of the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He was a member of the Polish Physical Society.

For many of us, Staszek was the personification of wisdom. He was able to find and effectively implement solutions to seemingly insoluble problems. He did not impose himself with his advice, but whenever anyone needed them, he could always count on him. His life wisdom adorned with sharp humor, self-detachment and sharp assessment of reality was an immense help. We will miss him …