University Day full of awards and honours
The awarding of Professor Jan Reedijk with the title of doctor honoris causa of the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń highlighted the final day of the University Day celebrations, marking the birthday of its patron.
This year, in connection with the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus and the ongoing Year of Copernicus, the calendar of events around the University Day was exceptionally rich.
On February 18th, a concert "Music and the Cosmos" by the Toruń Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Lithuanian maestro Dainius Pavilionis was held in the NCU Aula, and on February 19th the inauguration of the World Copernican Congress took place at the Nicolaus Copernicus University, which began its year-long tour of Poland. In May, the Congress will visit Kraków, and Olsztyn in June, before returning to Toruń in September.
The inauguration keynote lecture was delivered by Prof. Phillip James Edwin Peebles, a Canadian-American physicist, cosmologist, astrophysicist and astronomer, one of the pioneers of the theory of the formation of cosmic structures, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics.
On Monday February 20, The University Day began with the laying of flowers at the monument to Ludwik Kolankowski and continued at the NCU Aula.
Professor Andrzej Sokala, Rector of Nicolaus Copernicus University, referred to the Copernican anniversary during his speech.
This year's University Day has a special character due to the celebration of the 550th anniversary of the birth of our patron, he said. - For the past few days, anniversary events have been taking place at our University and in the entire city, bringing together the most prominent representatives of the world of science, culture and politics.
- Our University, together with the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn and the Institute of the History of Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences, is organising the World Copernican Congress - a series of events lasting several months and devoted not only to our great patron, but also to all fields of science he was involved in, Rector reminded. - We will also be opening the Copernican Integration Centre soon, which, on the one hand, will help integrate our community, especially foreign students, and, on the other hand, will open the University even more strongly to the outside environment, especially the local community.
A special highlight of the ceremony was the bestowal of the doctor honoris causa of the Nicolaus Copernicus University to Prof. Jan Reedijk of Leiden University. The honorary doctorate was awarded to the scientist in recognition of his contribution to the creation and development of research in bio-inorganic chemistry. Prof. Reedijk's profile was introduced by Prof. dr habil. Iwona Łakomska, Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry, who also delivered the laudatio.
On that day, we also learned the names of the winners of the "Ratio et Spes" Science Award. The award has been bestowed since 2020 by Nicolaus Copernicus University and the Vatican's Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI Foundation for an outstanding interdisciplinary scientific publication or a series of publications that fall into an annually determined focus. The fourth edition had the theme "Man in the Universe." According to the jury, the most recent publication "Infinitely Multiple Universes. From Einstein to Infinity" by Prof. Michael Heller, who received the "Ratio et Spes" award also in recognition of his entire output.
This year's honours went to Tom McLeish, a British Professor of Natural Philosophy, mainly for his works "Faith and Wisdom in Science" and "The Poetry and Music of Science."
Janusz Cyganski, a history alumnus (1975), museologist, former long-time director of the Museum of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, co-organizer and president of the Warmia and Mazury Club of the Nicolaus Copernicus University Alumni Association, received the title of NCU Ambassador.
The ceremony also included the awarding of diplomas to new doctors habilitated (postdoctoral fellows) and PhD promotions. The ceremony was accompanied by the presentation of state and university decorations, medals and awards.