Date added: 2021-04-15
Professor Wanda Szczepuła is the patron of the new Gdańsk tram
Another Gdańsk tram is named after a scientist from Gdańsk University of Technology. The patron of the new vehicle is Professor Wanda Szczepuła, a microbiologist and the first woman in the history of Gdańsk University of Technology with the title of professor.
The ceremony of naming the tram was attended by, among others: Piotr Borawski, vice-president for entrepreneurship and climate protection, prof. Dariusz Mikielewicz, vice-rector for organization and development of Gdańsk University of Technology, prof. Janusz Rachoń, Rector of Gdańsk Tech in 2002-2008, prof. Agata Kot-Wasik, Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry, and the patron's family and friends.
–I am very pleased and proud that the name of professor Wanda Szczepuła appeared on the new Gdańsk tram – said prof. Dariusz Mikielewicz – She was the first titular professor at our university, whose success opened the scientific path for the ranks of women.
Professor Wanda Szczepuła was born in 1916 in Wolsberg, Austria, and spent her childhood and youth in the Borderlands. She began her agricultural studies at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of the Lviv University of Technology in Dublany. She obtained the title of engineer and master's degree in agricultural sciences at the Jagiellonian University, after which she started working in the ‘Janikowo’ sugar factory, and then together with her husband Jan (1914-1990) she moved to Gdańsk, where she came into professional contact with Gdańsk University of Technology. She became an assistant in the Department of Foodstuffs led by prof. Ernest Sym.
At the same time, she worked part-time in an egg processing plant. She developed 6 patents - including 3 together with her husband. The most important one was to change the way the egg mass was pasteurized; it was especially important due to the fact that at that time Poland was the leader in its exports to England. The patent aroused the interest of Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz, and Professor Szczepuła was invited to an internship at the Scientific Institute of Low Temperatures in Cambridge. In 1957, she defended her doctorate, and four years later she obtained her habilitation.
In 1972 she obtained the academic title of professor of chemical sciences. In 1974-1976, she stayed in Mongolia for 22 months as a UN / FAO expert. Until her retirement in 1976, she worked as an associate professor at Gdańsk University of Technology.
At the university, she pointed out to the fact that women are in a more difficult situation than men
– She was a feminist – said Anna Szczepuła – her granddaughter, summing up the life of the scientist, - although in the years when she was pursuing a scientific career, this concept was rarely used - she believed that patriarchalism in science in the 20th century was a relic and women should pursue their research and occupy managerial positions. That is why she employed mainly women at the Department of Technical Microbiology at the Faculty of Chemistry, of which she was the head.
Professor Szczepuła was a great teacher, during her technical microbiology classes the lecture halls were filled, and her lectures were substantive and coloured with interesting facts and news from the world of science. Richly illustrated, enriched with interesting news and digressions from the world of science, the lectures aroused unflagging interest.
She helped in developing the recipe of the popular Calypso ice cream - she created chemical and microbiological standards for them.
– It should be emphasized that the professor was not only a great scientist, but also the vice-dean for student affairs when I was studying at Gdańsk University of Technology - recalled prof. Janusz Rachoń - and those were difficult times of the end of the 1960s. We remembered the professor as extremely devoted to students and exceptionally brave person.
Professor Wanda Szczepuła died on 10 April, 2014 in Gdańsk, at the age of 98.
The history of trams, which are named after patrons associated with Gdańsk, dates back to October 2015, since when the so-called Grass tram (tram N8C) dedicated to the Nobel laureate Günter Grass – travels round the city. Gdańsk trams have already gained many patrons: sportsmen, social activists, priests, outstanding personalities of culture and art. This group is now joined by outstanding Gdańsk scientists, also from Gdańsk University of Technology. On 20 November 2020, a tram named after professor Jerzy Doerrfer, an outstanding scientist from Gdańsk University of Technology and a great social activist, appeared on tracks