For the second time, the Foundation for Polish Science has delivered the Prof. Maciej W. Grabski Award for activity furthering the understanding of science in society. The laureates this year are Prof. Fr. Michał Heller and Prof. Jan Madey.
The awards were given out on 2 July 2019 at the Foundation’s headquarters. The laureates received commemorative citations from FNP president Prof. Maciej Żylicz and vice-president Prof. Włodzimierz Bolecki. This year’s honourees, along with Prof. Łukasz Turski (a 2016 laureate), took part in a discussion moderated by journalist Krzysztof Michalski entitled “Whom is science for?” addressing contemporary challenges in the relations between science and society. The panellists discussed such issues as the role science plays in the development of civilization and culture, why in an age of rapid technological progress society seems increasingly detached from science, and where the sources should be sought for the decline in the social perception of the importance of science. While presenting various diagnoses of the current situation, the panellists agreed on the key role of education in a better understanding of science by society, which also implies the skill of distinguishing truth from falsehood in the information chaos around us.
The ceremony concluded with a brief performance by the young cellist Kajetan Pałęcki, winner of a stipend from the Polish Children’s Fund.
The Grabski Award was established in 2016 in memory of Prof. Maciej W. Grabski, FNP president in 1992–2005, and is given to individuals who promote and explain methods of scientific reasoning, highlight the contribution of science and scientists to the advancement of Poland, accessibly present the results of research, educate society on distinguishing “good” from “bad” science, i.e. research based on objective methods and rational reasoning from research failing to meet these criteria, and also disseminate research-backed scientific arguments in public debate. The award takes the form of a cash prize of PLN 10,000.
Pictured, left to right: Prof. Włodzimierz Bolecki, Prof. Jan Madey, Prof. Fr. Michał Heller, Prof. Maciej Żylicz.
Photo: Magdalena Wiśniewska-Krasińska