Prominent Poles

Tadeusz Banachiewicz, Astronomer and Mathematician

Photo of Tadeusz Banachiewicz, Astronomer and MathematicianBorn: 1882 in Warsaw (Russian occupied Poland)

Died: 1954

Accomplishments:  His parents, Artur Banachiewicz and Zofia Rzeszotarska, owned the Cychry estate near Warsaw.  Banachiewicz published his first article in the "Astronomische Nachrichten" in 1903 as a student of Warsaw University.  In 1905, after the closure of the University by the Russians, he moved to Goettingen (Germany) and in 1906 to the Pulkowa Observatory.  After passing the habilitation exam in 1910, he obtained work in Kazan (Russia), conducting heliometrical studies of the moon.  He was appointed professor of astronomy in Dorpat, Russia (presently Tartu, Estonia) in 1915.

In 1919, after Poland regained her independence, Banachiewicz moved to Cracow (Poland), becoming a professor at the Jagiellonian University and the director of Cracow Observatory.  He authored approximately 180 research papers and modified the method of determining parabolic orbits.  In 1925, he invented a theory of "cracovians" (a special kind of matrix algebra) which brought him international recognition.  This theory solved several astronomical, geodesic, mechanical and mathematical problems.

In 1922 he became a member of PAU (Polska Akademia Umiejetnosci) and from 1932 to 1938 was the vice-president of the International Astronomical Union.  He was also the first President of the Polish Astronomical Society, the vice-president of the Geodesic Committee of The Baltic States and, from 1952 to his death, a member of the Polish Academy of Sciences.  He was also the founder of the journal Acta Astronomica.  He was the recipient of Doctor Honoris Causa titles from the University of Warsaw, the University of Poznan and the University of Sofia (Bulgaria).

Additionally, Banachiewicz invented a chronocinematograph and one of the lunar craters is named after him.

He was married to Laura Solohub, a Ukrainian poet.

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