Prof. Kazimierz Darowicki is the Personality of the Year 2021 at Gdańsk University of Technology | Gdańsk University of Technology

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Date added: 2021-10-05

Prof. Kazimierz Darowicki is the Personality of the Year 2021 at Gdańsk University of Technology

prof. Darowicki standing with the big picture in his arms
Photo: Krzysztof Krzempek/Gdańsk Tech 
Researcher and inventor, academic teacher, professor of technical sciences. From the beginning of his career, he was associated with Gdańsk University of Technology. Head of the Department of Electrochemistry, Corrosion and Materials Science at the Faculty of Chemistry, Gdańsk Tech, coordinator of the Center for Hydrogen Technologies, Gdańsk Tech and director of the Implementation Doctoral School. Prof. Kazimierz Darowicki is also the laureate of the J. Hevelius Scientific Award of the City of Gdańsk. In 2020 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and now also the title of Personality of the Year 2021 at Gdańsk University of Technology.
Barbara Kuklińska: What helps scientists most to be successful?

Prof. Kazimierz Darowicki - A scientist must have passion, because it is the main driving force for action and continuous research. The work of a scientist is a kind of vocation where it is important to work more than the expected minimum. You have to look wider, maintain your curiosity and always demand of yourself. Shaping a person in the family is also important, as well as in the early stages of education, because certain features are taken from home and school - responsibility, sense of duty, consistency. My parents deeply embedded in me the belief that learning is a chance for success and that without knowledge there is no creativity. You must first acquire knowledge, then you can use your imagination. I was also lucky to meet great professors on my way, from whom I could learn a lot and use their achievements. They were outstanding personalities, now there are fewer and fewer of such people.

You associated your whole life with the city of Gdańsk and Gdańsk University of Technology.

Gdańsk is a city that I like very much and which is very important to me. I know its history well and I identify with it from the beginning - from primary school, through high school and university, and then for over 40 years of professional work.

An important part of your work at the university is didactic work. Two fields of study were created on your initiative. You are also the author of the program of the Implementation Doctoral School at Gdańsk Tech.

The work of a scientist at the university involves three levels - creative, applied and didactic. I conduct my research in order to develop the area of scientific interest and to know what is happening in the world in this area. This also translates into didactics and the ability to provide students with the latest knowledge in a given field.

You have also received the "Primum cooperatio" prize, awarded by Pomeranian Employers to people representing the Pomeranian scientific community, with the following justification: "in recognition of outstanding scientific achievements combined with documented activity in the field of implementing scientific achievements in the economy".

Cooperation with business is one of the pillars of scientific research. The mother of the invention is the need, because why should anyone create something that will not be useful later or will not translate into new, commonly used solutions? And such a need arises if we know what is happening in our field in the country and in the world, what is the present level of development. We can then confront our ideas with reality and get to know business expectations.

In my area of research and implementation interests there are electrochemistry of non-stationary and non-linear processes. These processes are quite cumbersome to analyze. We use the dynamic version of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy for their analysis. We are known in the world for this method. This, in turn, opens up many fields for cooperation. Corrosion is my second leading research topic. We offer services to the largest concerns in Poland and provide them with laboratory facilities in this area. An example of effective cooperation are also implementation doctorates. Currently, 16 implementation doctorates from people from the largest companies on the Polish market are conducted in my department.

You are also the coordinator of the newly established Center for Hydrogen Technologies at Gdańsk University of Technology.

It is a natural consequence of my research activities and here, too, cooperation with business and companies investing in hydrogen technology is of key importance. In Poland, for a long time, research on hydrogen technologies was only at the laboratory level. We are already researching commercial products that would not be available to scientists without cooperation with business.

I believe that the university is one of the elements of the economic environment. If we do not take care of contacts with large companies, we will not use their resources, laboratories, state-of-the-art equipment, our research will not be innovative or competitive, and the level of education will decrease. Economy and science are interconnected. You cannot build strong science on the ground of a weak economy, and vice versa.

Which scientific achievements have brought you the greatest satisfaction so far?

It is definitely dynamic impedance spectroscopy. In addition, dynamic impedance measurements of fuel cells, which no one in the world has performed so far. As for practical activities, I will mention, for example, the maintenance-free corrosion monitoring system of the catalytic cracking installation, which allows to determine the risk of hydrogen corrosion and, at the same time, general corrosion. All you need is a mobile phone to be able to check what is happening in the installation, whether there are any disturbing processes going on there. Other achievements are the monitoring systems for drinking water installations in Gdańsk and Kraków. The wireless systems we have developed not only alert you to the progress of corrosion processes, but also provide information about changes in temperature, pressure and pH.

The electrochemical protection of mining towers is another important solution with a large research contribution from our scientists, including mine. In addition, activities in the Navy, electrochemical protection of units, or protection of the slipways of the Elbląg Canal. We are currently working on the protection of copper ore enrichment facilities and installations against corrosion. I am very satisfied with the recognition in the eyes of the scientific community. For my achievements in the field of applied research, I was awarded the Ignacy Mościcki medal. For my achievements in the field of basic research, I was also awarded the medal of Jan Zawidzki.

In total, over 450 works, 250 scientific articles. Is there still room for further scientific challenges?

I would like my department to continue to develop and be well conducted, and that our research and expert position would be maintained in Poland and in the world. I wish that more ambitious and young people would like to educate with us. I also want our research offer to gain new foreign markets.

And in the sheer volume of work: research, classes, a whole range of different duties, do you find time for pleasures not related to science?

Of course. I devote my free time to history and tourism. I like traveling, sightseeing, getting to know new cities as well as nature. I have already visited Poland very thoroughly, I also had the opportunity to travel around Belarus, where my family comes from. On the other hand, I know Vilnius as well as Gdańsk, and I go there often. Apart from further and closer travels, I always have time for my wonderful dog - the Hungarian Vizsla. This is a unique breed, extremely wise and loving people, and which requires good physical condition from the owner. That is why I always go for walks and in any weather.