People of the Centre

Prof. Łukasz Turski

Chairman of the Council

Professor of theoretical physics. Works at the Center for Theoretical Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. An outstanding science promoter, author of over a hundred scientific publications and dozens of journalistic articles, popular science radio broadcasts and television programmes. Initiator of the Science Picnic and the Copernicus Science Centre. Chairman of the CSC Programme Council since the first term of office. In 2000, he received the Medal of the European Physical Society for the dissemination of physics.

Prof. Aleksander Bursche

Vice-chairman of the Council

Professor, archaeologist and numismatist; lecturer at the University of Warsaw and other prestigious universities in Europe and the United States; fellow of Wolfson College in Oxford, American Academy in Rome and German Archaeological Institute; chairman of the DARIAH_PL Consortium Council. His research interests include the ancient world’s contacts with Barbaricum, promoting archaeology and managing cultural heritage. Initiator and co-organiser of the Archaeological Festival in Biskupin. Participant of many international research projects, including currently coordinating the NCN Project "Maestro" entitled "Migration Period between Odra and Vistula" ( Member of the CSC Programme Council since its beginning.

Prof. Marek Abramowicz

Astrophysicist. His research interests include a wide variety of issues in astrophysics and general relativity, from accretion discs theory, active galactic nuclei and neutron stars, to black holes, nature of inertial forces and quantum effects in strong gravity. From 1993, he was Professor of Astrophysics and Chair at Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, and later on a member of the Academic Board at the International Center of Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, and professor of astrophysics at Nordita, the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen. He is an Old Fellow at the Linacre College in Oxford, and an Ordinary Member of Academia Europea in Salzburg. He was awarded honoris causa doctorate by the Silesian University in Opava, where he is currently a professor of physics. He has published about 200 papers. In 2000, he was awarded the ISI "citation classic diploma" for the most quoted paper by a Swedish author in physics, technical physics, astrophysics and Earth science.

Prof. Roman Cieślak

Professor of psychology at the Faculty of Psychology of the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities. In the years 2012–2016, he was the Deputy Rector for Scientific Research, and in 2016 he took over as the Rector of this university. Visiting professor and former Director of Research at the Trauma, Health, and Hazards Center at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Scientifically he deals with the methods of coping with stress, professional burnout and the effects of traumatic events. Together with his staff at StresLab he creates, implements and assesses the effectiveness of online psychological interventions related to health and well-being. He managed projects funded by the European Commission, the National Science Centre (NCN) and the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR). A member of editorial boards of several international journals and boards of international scientific societies. Member of the Psychology Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Vice President of the Polish Cultural and Educational Union.

Prof. Magdalena Fikus

Professor of molecular biology. Lecturer at many prestigious universities. An outstanding science promoter. Co-creator, co-organiser, and for many years chairwoman of the Programme Council of the Science Festival in Warsaw. Member of the international association EUSCEA and chairwoman of the Polish Academy of Sciences’ Council for Science Promotion. Member of the CSC Programme Council since its beginning.

Catherine Franche

Executive Director of Ecsite. Under her leadership, Ecsite has firmly established itself as a trend setting platform and as a key stakeholder on the European stage and the Ecsite Conference has grown to become the largest professional science engagement event in Europe. Before she joined Ecsite in 2006, she was working for the Office de Coopération et d’Information Muséographiques (OCIM, France) as a Training Coordinator. From 1992 to 1994, she was Professional Development Coordinator and then Executive Director of the Société des Musées Québécois. She has also worked in architecture and art museums in Canada and managed cultural events such as jazz festivals.

Maya Halevi

Executive Director of the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem since 1995. In 1983, she joined Prof. Peter Hillman, the founder of the museum, to create a new concept for Israeli society – an Interactive Science Centre. She has BArch in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion, and MA in Public Policy from the Hebrew University. She learned Museology studies at Tel-Aviv University where she teaches today. She is involved and initiates programmes to promote science education in Israel, connecting informal and formal science education and to foster scientific culture within the general public from all ages and sectors of the Israeli society. She initiated a new strategic program "Jerusalem as science culture city" and works closely with the municipality to promote the idea and develop the infrastructure for the Jerusalem science education ecosystem. She has initiated and participated in several Israeli-Palestinian Science Museum programs as part of the people-to-people philosophy.

Prof. Dariusz Jemielniak

Professor of management specializing in high-tech and peer production, chair of MINDS (Management in Networked and Digital Societies) department at Kozminski University, associate faculty at Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. In 2015 he joined the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, and since 2017 he has sat on the board of OpenMaker. An entrepreneur, developed and sold the largest Polish online dictionary, Currently a co-founder of Insta.Ling, a startup supporting language learning at schools, currently used by over 100,000 students weekly.

Maria Mach

A graduate of the Institute of Philosophy at the Jagiellonian University, mainly interested in analytic philosophy and epistemology. For the past 26 years she has been involved with the Polish National Children’s Fund, an organisation providing support to highly talented students, first as the scholarship recipient, then as a volunteer and an employee, and finally since 2009 as the Director of the Fund. For many years she has been involved in Polish education reform projects. Conducts workshops for students and teachers, promotes the ideas of community support for the gifted and free sharing of knowledge. Co-authored a guide for parents and teachers, "A talented child. First aid". (pol: "Zdolne dziecko. Pierwsza pomoc".). Co-organiser of "Discoveries", the Young Researchers’ Festival.

Mirella Panek-Owsiańska

Expert in CSR, diversity management and women’s leadership. President of the Responsible Business Forum – a think-and-do-tank, which for the past 15 years has been promoting and analysing corporate social responsibility, is responsible for contacts with key stakeholders in Poland, and collaborates with CSR Europe, The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Global Compact, etc. Author of articles and press commentaries, blogger, and chairman of the jury of the Social Reports competition. Member of the CSR Team at the Ministry of Economy. She has many years of experience in working with the business industry, the public sector and NGOs. She created and coordinated the "Democracy without women is half a democracy" programme. As a coach she trained social and political activists from Poland, Belarus, Cuba, Serbia and Kyrgyzstan. A graduate of the School of Leaders and courses at Stanford and Columbia Universities.

Prof. Tomasz Sowiński

Associate professor at the Institute of Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences. A physicist-theorist dealing with the broad concept of quantum engineering, the coherent manipulation of matter and radiation on the atomic scale. Author of over 60 popular science articles (including in Młody Technik, Charaktery, and Głos Nauczycielski), dozens of lectures for children and youth (Science Festival, Children’s University), several short popular science films, as well as a series of lectures on contemporary physics for secondary school students. Nominated three times for the "Science Promoter" award in the Polish Press Agency competition. In 2008, he received the title of "Golden Mind – Master in Knowledge Promotion" from the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Barbara Streicher, PhD

Executive Manager of the Austrian Association ScienceCenter-Network which she co-initiated in 2005. She has been working in science communication since completing her PhD at the University of Vienna as a molecular biologist. Enabling joyful learning in open and engaging settings is what she cherishes in science center activities for various publics as well as within the network of science communicators. She is an advocate for social inclusion and diversity, and was a Noyce Leadership Fellow in 2013–2014.

Prof. Tomasz Szkudlarek

A teacher, professor of humanities, and head of the Division of Philosophy of Education and Cultural Studies at the Institute of Education of the University of Gdańsk. One of the world leaders of critical social research in critical education, cultural education, and radical education. Author of numerous articles and publications in the field of educational philosophy, critical education and media issues. He participates in many research projects funded by the Committee for Scientific Research (KBN) or non-governmental institutions. In 1998–2000, he was a member and chairman of the Section for Psychology and Education of the KBN. He was a guest lecturer at the University of Hiroshima (2001), and in 2000–2002 a visiting professor at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences at Linköping University (Sweden). In 2003, he taught courses at the University of Oslo (Norway). He holds the title of doctor honoris causa from Linköping University.

Prof. Jan Szmidt

Full professor at the Warsaw University of Technology, rector of the Warsaw University of Technology (2012–2016, 2016–2020), chairman of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland for the current term (2016–2020). A graduate of the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology at Warsaw University of Technology (1976), he specialises in the field of microelectronics and thin film technology. He was conferred the title of Professor of Technical Sciences in 2005. He has contributed to a variety of international research programmes. Originator and co-initiator of several large research and infrastructure projects, member of programme and organising committees for a couple of dozen conferences. Author or co-author of over 400 scientific publications, 14 patent applications and 50-plus reports from research projects.

Rosalia Vargas

President of Ciência Viva – National Agency for Scientific and Technological Culture, Portugal, and Director of Pavilhão do Conhecimento, the Lisbon Science Centre. Since 1996, she has been leading the creation of a network of science centres in Portugal. Former President of Ecsite – European Network of Museums and Science Centres (2013-2015), currently board member of ASTC – Association of Science Technology Centers, based in Washington DC. Her academic and professional development covers education, media studies, political governance, and scientific and technological culture. In 2016, she was awarded with the “Igualdade” [Equality Award], for women in science. Member of the Steering Committee of EMME – Euro-Mediterranean and Middle East science education project, and Science in Society Delegate at the 7th Framework Programme of Research and Development, European Commission.

Hanna Wróblewska

Art historian and curator of numerous exhibitions since 1996. Recently curated an exhibition at the Polonia Pavilion at the Biennale in Venice. Active participant in cultural life, including Citizens’ Forum of Contemporary Art and Citizens of Culture. Director of the Zachęta National Gallery of Art since 2010.