Prof. A. Kossakowski_fot. Magdalena Wiśniewska-Krasińska_1
Prof. A. Kossakowski, photo: Magdalena Wiśniewska-Krasińska


Prof. Andrzej Kossakowski from the Institute of Physics at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń has received the 2019 Foundation for Polish Science Prize in the field of mathematical, physical and engineering sciences for developing of the theory of open quantum systems.

Andrzej Kossakowski was born in 1938 in Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine). From the start of his scientific career he was affiliated with Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, where in 1955–1960 he studied physics, defended his doctorate in 1966, and earned his postdoctoral (habilitation) degree in 1972. He became a professor in 1979.

Prof. Kossakowski has lectured at many foreign universities, including institutions in Stuttgart, Milan, Austin, Essen, Leuven, Santiago de Chile, Naples and Tokyo.

He is one of the founders of the Toruń school of mathematical physics and open quantum systems. This theory, along with quantum information theory, has become one of the main fields of research conducted at the Department of Mathematical Physics within the Institute of Physics at Nicolaus Copernicus University.

Prof. Kossakowski’s scientific accomplishments also include work on laser theory and the theory of positive maps, as well as a series of works on quantum entanglement. His articles have been published in such journals as Physics Letters, Communications in Mathematical Physics, Physics Letters A, and Physical Review A. His works are very well known and frequently cited.


Prof. Andrzej Kossakowski’s achievements in the field of the theory of open quantum systems have been recognized with the 2019 Foundation for Polish Science Prize.

Quantum mechanics (quantum theory) is one of the fundamental theories of physics. It describes primarily the microscopic world (objects of very small mass and dimensions, such as atoms and elementary particles), but also macroscopic phenomena such as superconductivity and superfluidity.

The theory of open quantum systems, in turn, is a fundamental tool for analysing the properties of quantum systems that are not isolated, but interact with the external environment. Various types of fundamental equations are used for analysis of the dynamics of open quantum systems. Prof. Kossakowski is the co-creator of one of these equations, known today as the GKSL equation, which has entered the canon of theoretical physics.

Prof. Kossakowski described the first results concerning the structure of this equation in his articles published in 1972. These conceptions were subsequently expanded in publications appearing almost simultaneously in 1976: the first, by Vittorio Gorini, Andrzej Kossakowski and George Sudarshan, appeared in the Journal of Mathematical Physics, and the second, by Göran Lindblad, in Communications in Mathematical Physics.

The GKSL equation enables the mapping of processes that play a key role in quantum communication, cryptography, and quantum data processing, such as decoherence and dissipation. The theory of open quantum systems elaborated by Prof. Kossakowski in the 1970s now serves as the foundation for the rapidly growing scientific field of quantum information theory.