List of Polish inventors and discoverers
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This is a list of Polish inventors and discoverers. The following list comprises people from Poland and of Polish origin, and also people of predominantly Polish heritage, in alphabetical order of the surname.
- Bruno Abakanowicz: invented integrapf, a mechanical analog computing device for plotting the integral of a graphically defined function.
- Osman Achmatowicz Jr.: specialist in the field of organic chemistry. Inventor of the Achmatowicz reaction.
- Karol Adamiecki: management theorist. Together with Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Fayola the creator of organisation and management science. In 1925 Adamiecki founded the Polish Institute of Scientific Management.
- Herman Auerbach: one of the most recognizable members of Lwów School of Mathematics, a student of famous mathematician, Stefan Banach.
- Henryk Arctowski: scientist and explorer. Living in exile for a large part of his life, he was one of the first persons to reach Antarctica during winter and became an internationally renowned meteorologist.
- Joseph Babinski: neurologist, discoverer of the Babinski reflex.
- Stefan Banach: considered one of the world's most important and influential 20th-century mathematicians, creator of Banach space. He was one of the founders of modern functional analysis, and an original member of the Lwów School of Mathematics. His major work was the 1932 book, Théorie des opérations linéaires (Theory of Linear Operations), the first monograph on the general theory of functional analysis.
- Feliks Barański: pioneer and the specialist in the field of Differential equations.
- Jan Józef Baranowski: took part in the Great Emigration. Invented Railway signal device, ticket machine and gas meter.
- Mieczysław G. Bekker: co-authored the general idea and vitally contributed to the design and construction of the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) used by NASA in missions Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17 on the Moon. He was the author of several patented inventions in the area of off-the-road vehicles, including those for extraterrestrial use.
- Edmund Biernacki: physician, the first one to note a relationship between the sedimentation rate of red blood cells in a human blood sample and the general condition of the organism. This method is now known as the Biernacki Reaction.
- Michał Borysiekiewicz: invented the first "electronic eye" for blind people.
- Josef Božek: managed to put into operation one of the first steam engines in the Czech lands.
- Stefan Bryła: designed and built the first welded road bridge in the world.
- Tytus Liwiusz Burattini: inventor of the micrometer.
- Maria Skłodowska-Curie: conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences – physics and chemistry. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.
- Jan Czochralski: invented the Czochralski process, commonly used for growing Crystals and in the production of semiconductor wafers.
- Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik): mathematician, physician, translator, diplomat. Most commonly known as an astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe included in his work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres).
- Napoleon Cybulski:, physiologist, discoverer of adrenaline, one of pioneers of endocrinology and electroencephalography.
- Henryk Derczyński: a photographer, created an isohelia technology, a technique that sharpens contrasts and defines three-dimensional images.
- Stefan Drzewiecki: engineer and inventor, built the first submarine in the world with electric battery-powered propulsion.
- Max Factor (Maksymilian Faktorowicz): founder of the Max Factor cosmetics company, popularized the term "make-up", had perfected the first cosmetic specifically created for motion picture use—a thinner greasepaint in cream form.
- Kazimierz Funk: biochemist, considered to be the first to the concept of Vitamins and the term itself, first to postulate the existence of B1, B2, C, and D vitamins.
- Edward Flatau: neurologist.
- Casimir Funk:, biochemist, generally credited with being among the first to formulate (1912) the concept of vitamins.
- David Ben-Gurion: Polish-Jewish politician, one of the key representatives of the Zionism movement, founding father and the first prime minister of Israel.
- Leo Gerstenzang: Polish-American inventor who in 1923 created the first contemporary cotton swab or Q-Tips.
- Tadeusz Kościuszko: Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian and American war hero and military leader, military engineer, colonel in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, creator of the West Point state-of-the-art Fortifications, prepared a national Kosciuszko Uprising in Poland against the Russian Empire and acted as the Supreme Commander.
- Józef Kosacki: invented the Polish mine detector, a first man-portable device used by the allied forces during the World War II.
- Jerzy Konorski: neurophysiologist, discoverer of secondary conditioned reflexes and operant conditioning. He also proposed the idea of gnostic neurons, a concept similar to the grandmother cell. He coined the term neural plasticity.
- Stefan Kudelski: audio engineer known for creating the Nagra series of professional audio recorders later sold to British BBC, American stations NBC, ABC, CBS, but also plenty of radio stations including famous Radio Luxembourg. Kudelski received prestigious Oscar Awards in 1965, 1977, 1978, and 1990. He also won two Emmy Awards in 1984 and 1986.
- Stephanie Kwolek: American chemist of Polish origin, invented a polymer out of which kevlar is produced.
- Jerzy Kukuczka: alpinist, the second man in history to climb all fourteen Eight-thousanders including three as first ascents, established a new route on K2 in alpine style called the "Polish line".
- Wojciech Kurtyka: mountaineer, alpinist, one of the alpine style climbing pioneers, after climbing through the "Shining Wall" on Gasherbrum IV the Climbing magazine declared beat the wall to get the greatest achievement of mountaineering in the twentieth century.
- Kazimierz Kordylewski: astronomer, discoverer of the Kordylewski clouds.
- Ignacy Łukasiewicz: designed and built both world's first oil refinery and oil well. Introduced the first modern street lamp in Europe.
- Jan Łukasiewicz: invented RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) used in professional Calculators as well as by Computers in order to determine the order of mathematical operations without using parentheses.
- Henryk Manguski: a telecommunications engineer who worked for Motorola in Chicago. He was the inventor of the first Walkie-Talkies and one of the authors of his company success in the fields of radio communication.
- Aleksander Możajski: Polish-Russian military officer, built world's first plane.
- Kazimierz Pułaski: a Polish nobleman, soldier and military strategist, a general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, the creator and the head of the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformer of the American cavalry. He distinguished himself throughout the revolution, most notably when he saved the life of George Washington. One of only eight people in the history to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.
- Kazimierz Prószyński: patented the first film camera, the Pleograph, before the Lumière brothers, and later went on to improve the cinema projector for the Gaumont company, as well as invent the widely used hand-held Aeroscope camera.
- Zbigniew Religa: a pioneer in human heart transplantation in Poland, he led the team that performed the first successful heart transplantation in the country, and in June 1995 he was the first surgeon to graft an artificial valve created from materials taken from human corpses.
- Paweł Edmund Strzelecki: explorer most commonly known for his early explorations of Australia, particularly the Snowy Mountains and Tasmania. Climbed and named the highest Australian peak – Mount Kosciuszko.
- Hugo Steinhaus: mathematician, specialist in the field of functional analysis.
- Abraham Icek Tuszyński: entrepreneur, founder of the most prestigious movie theater in the Netherlands – the Tuschinski Theater in Amsterdam.
- Jacek Trzmiel: was a Polish American businessman, best known for founding Commodore International. Tramiel later formed Atari Corporation after he purchased the remnants of the original Atari, Inc. from its parent company.
- Stanisław Ulam: mathematician, representing the Lwów School of Mathematics, one of the members of Manhattan Project. He was assigned to Edward Teller's group, where he worked on Teller's "Super" bomb for Teller and Enrico Fermi. With the aid of a cadre of female "computers", including his wife Françoise Aron Ulam, he found that Teller's "Super" design was unworkable. In January 1951, Ulam and Teller came up with the Teller–Ulam design, which is the basis for all Thermonuclear weapons. Discovered the concept of cellular automaton, invented the Monte Carlo method of computation, and suggested nuclear pulse propulsion. In pure and applied mathematics, he proved some theorems and proposed several conjectures.
- Warner Brothers (Bracia Wonsal): American-naturalized brothers of Polish-Jewish origin, created the Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., one of the biggest and most successful media corporations in the world being one of the "Big Six" American film studios.
- Steve Wozniak: American inventor and engineer of Polish descent, one of the three founders of Apple Inc. (together with Steve Jobs & Ronald Wayne).
- Lech Wałęsa: politician and labor activist, laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, the first president of the Third Republic of Poland.
- Krzysztof Wielicki: regarded as one of the greatest mountaineers in history. He performed the first winter ascents on Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga, and Lhotse.
- Mieczysław Wolfke: the forerunner of holography and television.
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