Archive for the ‘Science’ Category
We’re living longer thanks to medical science as it has been developing over the millennium. In ancient times, mankind was helpless in the face of illness and injury, especially in the case of epidemics. The Plague or Black Death of 14th Century Europe wiped out one third of the population, while Spanish influenza in 1918 claimed approximately 50 million lives, more than lost in World War I.
It was not until the twentieth Century that we have seen major progress in the way man battles disease. Two major discoveries helped usher in these changes – penicillin and corticosteroids. Alexander Fleming observed that a plate with nutrients covered with bacteria set aside and forgotten for several weeks had developed a mold growth that destroyed the bacteria. This phenomenon worthy of further investigation, lead to the discovery of antibiotics isolated from molds in1940.
In the last issue of the Forum, we published the first part of this history of mathematics in Poland. The article below continues the topic with a description of the influence of Polish mathematics on world science.
In any discussion of mathematics in Poland, one has to mention Professor J. Łukasiewicz, who created multi-valued logic. For example, if someone says that when visiting Warsaw, she always goes to the theater, and out of ten visits to Warsaw, she went to the theater seven times, we would say that the „degree of participation” is 0.7. There have long been computers built for „fuzzy” logic” and not only binary logic (there is current „1” – there is no current „0”); they run, for example, the metros in many cities in Japan. (more…)
When plastic surgery comes to mind, people normally think of some minor improvements in the overall appearance. We recognize that the surgeon can improve the shape of our nose, and make our face look better. However, in more serious situations when the face has been badly deformed as a result of illness or accident, the plastic surgery quickly reaches its limits. Apparently, the skin that covers our face differs from the skin that covers other parts of our body. The skin on our face is much more elastic, it lends itself to all sorts of stretches by all sorts of facial muscles that are responsible for very diverse functions such as eating, talking, and eye blinking, or mimicking to express emotions. Transplants of skin from other parts of the body may result in immovability or twitch of that part of the face. With respect to the eye or mouth areas such impediment poses not only an esthetic problem, but also a health hazard. Thus, a question arises whether skin from another person’s face can be transplanted? (more…)
One day towards the end of last year, I read in the Plain Dealer that Professor Wiesław Binienda, Chairman of the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Akron, was recognized by NASA for his achievements in the area of composite materials and their application to jet engines. At first, I did not recognize the name, but after a while… – yes, of course, this is about the husband of Maria Szonert, who wrote the book on World War II and writes in the American and Polonia press, our friend from the editorial board. The same day in the evening, our editor in chief called:
“Did you hear about Professor Binienda?”
“Of course, I did. He received an award from NASA. And not only just a paper. The award was rather measurable…”
“Then you have a job to do. He will be our next representative of Polonia featured in the Forum.”
We should remind ourselves that Dr. Wojciech Rostafiñski comes from a distinguished line of university professors and highly regarded intellectuals in Poland. Books have been written about them. We mention this, because Dr. Wojciech picked up the torch. He got his Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Louvain in Belgium. Employed by NASA Glenn Research Center since 1961 – retired in 1994 – he was the recipient of five diplomas of merit for his contributions to the theory and technology of rocket and aircraft propulsion. In this connection, we should mention that for several years, he had been a NASA spokesman for the “Voice of America” throwing light on the latest achievements of science on the current research of the cosmos and on the progress in aeronautics.