The Polish school of geology
The beginnings of training in the field of geology in Poland coincide with the loss of Poland's independence at the end of the 18th century, which resulted in a regress in many fields of economic, social and cultural life. In spite of those difficulties, there were a number of academic centres engaged in the training of geologists in the first half of the 19th century, in Warsaw, Cracow (Kraków), Wilno (Vilnius), Lwów (Lvov) and at the Academic Mining School in Kielce. An important role in organizing geological research and the development of mining, as well as the training of cadres in those fields, was played by Stanislaw Staszic. Polish geological education, despite the restrictions imposed upon it by the authorities of the occupying powers (Russia, Prussia, and Austria), especially in the second half of the 19th century, functioned well thanks to many eminent geologists. Geologists engaged in science frequently cooperated with the industry, to the mutual benefit of the two fields. Despite the restrictions, Polish geologists maintained close contacts with foreign academic centres. These were some of the assets that allowed Polish geology to make huge headway once Poland regained independence in the year 1918. Several institutions devoted to geology were established in the period between the two world wars (1918-1939): the State Geological Institute (1919), the Mining Academy at Cracow (Kraków), and the Polish Geological Society. Many eminent personalities in the field of research and academic instruction were active in the academic centres of Warsaw, Cracow (Kraków), Lwów (Lvov), Wilno (Vilnius) and Poznań, as well as in research work in the country and abroad. It was thanks to them that the losses incurred during WWII were very quickly redressed and measures were taken to restart the teaching of geology and to re-launch geological research in the country. The development of Polish geology followed the old principle formulated by Staszic that knowledge from the Earth sciences should serve the interests of society.
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