Famous Polish Scientists

Find out more about the greatest Polish Scientists, including Marie Curie, Nicolaus Copernicus, Benoit Mandelbrot, Stanislaw Ulam and Alexander Imich.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
Marie Curie
(The First Woman to Win a Nobel Prize)

Marie Curie
35
Birthdate: November 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: July 4, 1934
Amongst the most notable scientists of her time, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the sole person to win two Nobel Prize in two different category, and the first woman professor at the University of Paris—Marie Curie’s list of achievements is incredible. She did extensive research in the field of radioactivity and discovered polonium and radium.

 2 
Nicolaus Copernicus
(Mathematician)

Nicolaus Copernicus
23
Birthdate: February 19, 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toruń, Poland
Died: May 24, 1543

Nicolaus Copernicus was a mathematician and astronomer. He is credited with formulating Heliocentrism, which led to the Copernican Revolution. Although Aristarchus of Samos had formulated Heliocentrism 18 centuries earlier, Copernicus was responsible for popularizing it. Copernicus is also credited with formulating an economic principle, which was later called Gresham's law.

 3 
Benoit Mandelbrot
(Mathematician and polymath)

Benoit Mandelbrot
20
Birthdate: November 20, 1924
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 14, 2010

Noted mathematician and polymath, Benoit B. Mandelbrot is perhaps best known for his work on fractal. He not only coined the term, but also used computer-constructed images to illustrate the mathematical definition. Also credited with the discovery of Mandelbrot set and Mandelbrot law, he established that even those things which were apparently chaotic or rough had a "degree of order".

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 4 
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit
(Physicist, Inventor)

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit
7
Birthdate: May 24, 1686
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gdańsk
Died: September 16, 1736

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was a scientific instrument maker, inventor, and physicist. One of the most prominent and influential personalities of the Dutch Golden Age of science and technology, Fahrenheit is credited with many important inventions, including the mercury-in-glass thermometer and Fahrenheit scale. His inventions helped shape the history of thermometry. 

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 5 
Albert Sabin
(Medical Researcher)

Albert Sabin
5
Birthdate: August 26, 1906
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Białystok, Poland
Died: March 3, 1993

Polish-American medical researcher Albert Bruce Sabin is best-remembered for developing oral polio vaccine which is easier to give and more effective than earlier polio vaccine. His vaccine has remained instrumental in the ongoing effort of eradicating polio. Other vaccines developed by Sabin include the ones for encephalitis and dengue. He served as President of Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

 6 
Hilary Koprowski
(Virologist, Immunologist)

Hilary Koprowski
5
Birthdate: December 5, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: April 11, 2013

Hilary Koprowski was a Polish virologist and immunologist. He spent the majority of his career in USA and created an effective live polio vaccine. He also contributed significantly to the development of an improved rabies vaccine. He was the author or co-author of over 875 scientific papers. He was the recipient of many awards, including the Albert Sabin Gold Medal.

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 7 
Marian Rejewski
(Mathematician)

Marian Rejewski
5
Birthdate: August 16, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bydgoszcz, Poland
Died: February 13, 1980

Polish mathematician-cryptologist Marian Rejewski is noted for reconstructing the sight-unseen German military Enigma cipher machine and solving Enigma-machine cipher using limited documents that the French military intelligence managed to obtain. He and his colleagues developed and applied methods and equipment for decrypting the German machine ciphers which gave Britain an opportunity to read German Enigma-encrypted messages during Second World War.   

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 8 
Alfred Tarski
(Logician)

Alfred Tarski
5
Birthdate: January 14, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 27, 1983

Polish mathematician Alfred Tarski initially taught at Warsaw and later moved to the US, where he joined the University of California, Berkeley. Known for his research on topics such as algebra, logic, and set theory, he has also been the doctoral supervisor of mathematicians such as Julia Robinson and Bjarni Jónsson.

 9 

Anna Lewandowska
7
Birthdate: September 7, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland

A professional karate artist and personal trainer, Anna Lewandowska is also the wife of the Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski. Anna has 4 world championship and 6 European championship medals in her kitty. She has also released a fitness book and owns her own make-up and health food brands.

 10 
Stanislaw Ulam
(Mathematician)

Stanislaw Ulam
6
Birthdate: April 13, 1909
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lviv
Died: May 13, 1984

Stanislaw Ulam was a Polish-American scientist best remembered for his expertise in the fields of nuclear physics and mathematics. He played an important role during the Second World War, working together with other scientists and mathematicians in the Manhattan Project. He is also credited with originating the Teller–Ulam design, the basis for all thermonuclear weapons.    

 11 
Johann Gottfried Galle
(Astronomer, University teacher)

Johann Gottfried Galle
2
Birthdate: June 9, 1812
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radis
Died: July 10, 1910

Johann Gottfried Galle was a German astronomer who worked at the Berlin Observatory. On 23 September 1846, he became the first person to view and recognize the planet Neptune. The discovery of Neptune is considered one of the most significant moments of 19th-century science and is widely regarded as a validation of celestial mechanics.

 12 
Jerzy Neyman
(Mathematician, Philosopher, Statistician)

Jerzy Neyman
3
Birthdate: April 16, 1894
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bender
Died: August 5, 1981

Polish mathematician and statistician Jerzy Neyman is remembered for pioneering theoretical statistics and also taught at prestigious institutes such as UCB and UCL. The National Medal of Science winner established the theories of estimation and hypotheses testing, which have been widely used in areas such as medicine and genetics.

 13 
Leopold Kronecker
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Leopold Kronecker
4
Birthdate: December 7, 1823
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Legnica
Died: December 29, 1891

German mathematician Leopold Kronecker is best remembered for his pioneering work on the theory of equations and algebra. Interestingly, he wasn’t too keen on academic research initially and focused on his land business, while simultaneously pursuing math as a hobby. He could only focus on math after retiring at 30.

 14 
Ignacy Mościcki
(Polish chemist)

Ignacy Mościcki
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1867
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mierzanowo
Died: October 2, 1946

Born in a small Polish village, Ignacy Mościcki grew up to become a chemist, an academic, and a researcher, before he stepped into politics. He later served Poland as its longest-serving president. Initially a supporter of Polish dictator Józef Piłsudski, he became more liberal after Piłsudski’s death.

 15 
Joseph Rotblat
(Physicist)

Joseph Rotblat
3
Birthdate: November 4, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: August 31, 2005

Joseph Rotblat was a physicist remembered for his work on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory during World War II. He left the laboratory on grounds of conscience and his work on nuclear fallout played a key role in the events preceding the 1963 Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In 1995, Joseph Rotblat won the Nobel Peace Prize.

 16 
Max Factor Sr.
(American makeup designer)

Max Factor Sr.
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1877
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Łódź, Poland
Died: August 30, 1938

Known for his pioneering contribution to the make-up industry in Hollywood and for his revolutionary products such as Supreme Greasepaint, Max Factor Sr. was a Polish Jew, who moved to the US in the early 1900s. He founded his own brand of cosmetics, popularized the word “make-up,” and won an honorary Academy Award.

 17 
Stefan Banach
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Stefan Banach
5
Birthdate: March 30, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: August 31, 1945

Raised by foster parents, Stefan Banach ended up getting an engineering degree. During World War I, his eyesight rendered him unfit for military service, and so he taught at schools. He later gained fame for his pioneering research on functional analysis and also helped develop the concept of the Banach space.

 18 
Leonid Hurwicz
(Mathematician, Economist)

Leonid Hurwicz
3
Birthdate: August 21, 1917
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: June 24, 2008

Born in Moscow, Polish economist Leonid Hurwicz initially studied law but fled to the US during World War II. He was later associated with the MIT, among other prestigious institutes, and won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his pioneering contribution to the mechanism design theory.

 19 
Johannes Hevelius
(Astronomer, Entrepreneur, Cartographer)

Johannes Hevelius
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1611
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gdańsk
Died: January 28, 1687

Johannes Hevelius was an astronomer who is credited with describing 10 new constellations; seven of ten constellations described by him are used by astronomers today. He is also referred to as the founder of lunar topography for making a compilation of an atlas of the moon. He is also credited with making a comprehensive catalog of 1,564 stars.

 20 
Wacław Sierpiński
(Mathematician)

Wacław Sierpiński
3
Birthdate: March 14, 1882
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: October 21, 1969

One of the pioneering figures of the Polish school of mathematics, Wacław Sierpiński made revolutionary contributions to point-set topology. He withheld an award-winning essay on number theory, so that it could be printed in Polish instead of Russian. He spent most of his life teaching at the University of Warsaw.

 21 
Felix Hausdorff
(Mathematician, Writer, Topologist, University teacher)

Felix Hausdorff
2
Birthdate: November 8, 1868
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: January 26, 1942

While German mathematician Felix Hausdorff initially wished to become a musician, parental pressure led him to choose math. Considered one of the pioneers of modern topology, he made major contributions to set theory and functional analysis. He died of suicide, along with his wife and sister-in-law, instead of moving to a Nazi camp.

 22 

Hermann Grassmann
3
Birthdate: April 15, 1809
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Szczecin, Poland
Died: September 26, 1877

Hermann Grassmann was a German polymath remembered for his work in linear algebra, although he wasn’t acknowledged as a mathematician for most part of his life. His work Die lineale Ausdehnungslehre, ein neuer Zweig der Mathematik was revolutionary in the field of mathematics and was far ahead of its time. During his lifetime, he was only known as a linguist.

 23 
Joanna Rutkowska
(Computer researcher)

Joanna Rutkowska
2
Birthdate: 1981 AD
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland

Joanna Rutkowska is a Polish computer security researcher. She is best known for her research on stealth malware and low-level security. She is the founder of the Qubes OS security-focused desktop operating system and Invisible Things Lab. She is the author of several popular books on systems trustability, including Intel x86 Considered Harmful and State Considered Harmful. 

 24 
Georges Charpak
(Physicist)

Georges Charpak
2
Birthdate: August 1, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dąbrowica, Poland
Died: September 29, 2010

Georges Charpak was a physicist whose invention and development of the multiwire proportional chamber earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics in 1992. He is also credited with co-founding several companies, including SuperSonic Imagine and Molecular Engines Laboratories. Over the course of his illustrious career, Georges Charpak was also honored with other awards, such as the Golden Plate Award.

 25 
Ignacy Łukasiewicz
(Polish pharmacist)

Ignacy Łukasiewicz
2
Birthdate: March 8, 1822
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zaduszniki, Podkarpackie Voivodeship
Died: January 7, 1882

One of the pioneers of the European oil industry, Ignacy Łukasiewicz was a Polish pharmacist who not only invented the kerosene lamp but also co-established the first petroleum extraction company and invented Europe’s first modern street lamp. As an affluent man, in his later years, he also became a prominent philanthropist.

 26 
Ferdinand Cohn
(Founder of Bacteriology and Microbiology)

Ferdinand Cohn
2
Birthdate: January 24, 1828
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Wrocław, Poland
Died: June 25, 1898

Ferdinand Cohn was a German biologist who is credited with co-founding microbiology and modern bacteriology. Apart from publishing more than 150 research reports, Cohn also made significant contributions to the field of botany. He was also the first person to classify algae as plants. Ferdinand Cohn received the prestigious Leeuwenhoek Medal in 1885.

 27 
Jerzy Buzek
(Politician, Engineer, Chemist, University teacher, Trade unionist)

Jerzy Buzek
2
Birthdate: July 3, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Smilovice

Jerzy Buzek is a Polish politician who served as the Prime Minister of Poland from 31 October 1997 to 19 October 2001. An influential politician, Buzek also served as the President of the European Parliament from 14 July 2009 to 17 January 2012. In 1998 and 2009, political weekly Wprost named Jerzy Buzek Person of the Year for his achievements.

 28 

Klaus von Klitzing
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Środa Wielkopolska

Nobel Prize-winning German physicist Klaus von Klitzing is best known for his revolutionary discovery of the integer quantum Hall effect. With his work, he developed the path for precise measurement of electrical resistance and inspired further research on the conducting properties of electronic components. The von Klitzing constant was named in his honor.

 29 
Leo Sternbach
(Chemist)

Leo Sternbach
2
Birthdate: May 7, 1908
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Opatija, Croatia
Died: September 28, 2005

Leo Sternbach is remembered for his revolutionary discovery of tranquillizers, including Valium and Librium. Born to a pharmacist father, he first studied pharmacy and then organic chemistry. He had a life-long association with Hoffmann-La Roche and ended up with 241 patents and over 100 scientific publications.

 30 
Jon Lech Johansen
(Cryptographer, Programmer, Computer scientist)

Jon Lech Johansen
3
Birthdate: November 18, 1983
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Harstad

Jon Lech Johansen is a Norwegian programmer best known for his work on reverse engineering data formats. He is credited with writing the DeCSS software, a free computer program which has the ability to decrypt content on a DVD video disc. A self-trained software engineer, Jon Lech Johansen was honored with the EFF Pioneer Award in April 2002. 

 31 
Rudolf Jaenisch
(Professor)

Rudolf Jaenisch
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Międzygórze, Poland

Rudolf Jaenisch is a German Professor of Biology currently working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. He is also one of the founding members of the prestigious Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, which aims at improving human health through biomedical research. A pioneer of transgenic science, Jaenisch has been creating genetically engineered mice to study neurological diseases and cancer.

 32 
Kazimierz Kuratowski
(Mathematician, Logician)

Kazimierz Kuratowski
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warsaw
Died: June 18, 1980

Kazimierz Kuratowski was a Polish mathematician who was one of the leading representatives of the Warsaw School of Mathematics. He studied engineering and obtained his Ph.D. in 1921. He went on to pursue a successful academic career as a professor of mathematics at Lwów Polytechnic in Lwów. He helped establish the State Mathematical Institute after World War II. 

 33 

Alexander Imich
2
Birthdate: February 4, 1903
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Częstochowa
Died: June 8, 2014

Alexander Imich was a Polish-American parapsychologist, chemist, writer, and zoologist. A supercentenarian, Imich was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest man in the world. He enjoyed this privilege for around 1.5 months before passing away on June 8, 2014, at the age of 111. Sakari Momoi of Japan succeeded Alexander Imich as the world's oldest man. 

 34 
Antoni Zygmund
(Mathematician)

Antoni Zygmund
2
Birthdate: December 25, 1900
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 30, 1992

Antoni Zygmund was a Polish mathematician who specialized in the area of mathematical analysis. He is regarded as one of the greatest analysts of the 20th century. He was a co-founder of the Chicago school of mathematical analysis. He was a member of several scientific societies and the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science in 1986. 

 35 
Robert Remak
(Physiologist)

Robert Remak
2
Birthdate: July 26, 1815
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Died: August 29, 1865

German embryologist and neurologist Robert Remak is known for pathbreaking scientific feats such as the discovery of the Remak’s ganglia and the use of electrotherapy to treat nervous ailments. He also named the three layers of the embryo, the ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm. His Jewish origin deprived him from valid recognition.

 36 
Władysław Turowicz
(Physicist, Aerospace engineer)

Władysław Turowicz
2
Birthdate: April 23, 1908
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Siberia
Died: January 8, 1980

Władysław Turowicz was a Polish-Pakistani aviator, aeronautical engineer, and military scientist. After World War II, Turowicz decided to move to Pakistan due to the political situation in Poland. He then played a major role in building the Pakistan Air Force (PAF); his efforts inspired a 2008 documentary film. Władysław Turowicz remains a highly respected figure in Pakistan.

Ewald Georg von Kleist
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1700
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wicewo, Poland
Died: December 11, 1748

Ewald Georg von Kleist was an 18th-century German jurist and physicist. He studied jurisprudence at the University of Leipzig and the University of Leyden. He served as the dean of the cathedral at Kamień Pomorski in the Kingdom of Prussia for over two decades, after which he was appointed the president of the royal court of justice in Koszalin.  

 38 
Michał Heller
(Professor)

Michał Heller
2
Birthdate: March 12, 1936
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tarnow, Poland

Apart from being a Catholic priest, Michał Heller is also a mathematical cosmologist and a professor. The Templeton Prize-winner was born in Poland, but he later fled with his family to the USSR, to escape the Nazis, and lived in Siberian labor camps. His current research deals with general relativity.

 39 

Aleksander Wolszczan
2
Birthdate: April 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Szczecinek

Polish astronomer Aleksander Wolszczan is best known for co-discovering extrasolar and pulsar planets. He started developing an interest in astronomy at age 7 and later worked at Cornell and Princeton, eventually gaining a teaching position at the Pennsylvania State University. He has won several awards, such as the Bohdan Paczyński Medal.

 40 

Tadeusz Reichstein
2
Birthdate: July 20, 1897
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wloclawek, Poland
Died: August 1, 1996

Swiss chemist Tadeusz Reichstein is remembered for his Nobel Prize-winning research on the hormones of the adrenal cortex. He also taught pharmaceutical chemistry and organic chemistry at the University of Basel and independently discovered the synthesis of vitamin C. At 99, he was the oldest-living Nobel laureate until his death.

 41 
Haroun Tazieff
(Volcanologist)

Haroun Tazieff
1
Birthdate: May 11, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: February 2, 1998

 42 
Stanisław Staszic
(Philosopher)

Stanisław Staszic
1
Birthdate: November 6, 1755
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pila, Poland
Died: January 20, 1826

Stanisław Staszic was a Polish philosopher who played a leading role in the Polish Enlightenment. He was also a Catholic priest, geologist, writer, and translator. He supported many reforms in Poland and was the co-founder of the Warsaw Society of Friends of Learning. He later served as the minister of trade and industry in Congress Poland. 

 43 

Eduard Adolf Strasburger
1
Birthdate: February 1, 1844
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 19, 1912

Best remembered for discovering mitosis, or cell division, in plants, Polish-German botanist Eduard Adolf Strasburger also worked on the research already begun by German botanist Wilhelm Hofmeister. He taught at the universities of Warsaw and Jena and also won the Linnean Medal and the Darwin-Wallace Medal.

 44 
Ignacy Domeyko
(Geologist)

Ignacy Domeyko
1
Birthdate: July 31, 1802
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nesvizh
Died: January 23, 1889

Ignacy Domeyko was a Polish geologist, educator, and mineralogist. He is credited with founding one of Chile's oldest public universities, the University of Santiago, Chile (Usach). After the Polish–Russian War 1830–31, he settled in Chile where he made significant contributions to the study of Chile's geology, geography, and mineralogy. Ignacy Domeyko’s observations helped shape Chile's labor movement.

 45 

Kasimir Fajans
1
Birthdate: May 27, 1887
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Congress Poland
Died: May 18, 1975

Kasimir Fajans was a physical chemist of Polish-Jewish origin. He was a pioneer in the science of radioactivity. He is credited with the discovery of the chemical element protactinium. He began his career working under physicist Ernest Rutherford. He later researched radioactivity and nuclear reactions. He became the head of the Institute of Physical Chemistry in 1932.  

 46 
Salomon Bochner
(Mathematician)

Salomon Bochner
1
Birthdate: August 20, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Podgórze, Kraków, Poland
Died: May 2, 1982

Austrian mathematician Salomon Bochner initially taught at the University of Munich but was forced to quit after the Nazis came to power. He then moved to the US and joined Princeton. He later also taught at Rice University and made significant contributions in areas such as probability theory and differential geometry.

 47 
Adolf Engler
(Botanist)

Adolf Engler
1
Birthdate: March 25, 1844
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Zagan, Poland
Died: October 10, 1930

 48 
Martin Kutta
(Mathematician)

Martin Kutta
1
Birthdate: November 3, 1867
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Byczyna, Poland
Died: December 25, 1944

German mathematician Martin Kutta was known for his association with reputed institutes such as the University of Stuttgart and RWTH Aachen as a professor. He is perhaps best known for co-developing the Runge–Kutta method, which paved the way for solution of differential equations numerically.

 49 
Stanisław Leśniewski
(Mathematician)

Stanisław Leśniewski
1
Birthdate: March 30, 1886
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Serpukhov, Russia
Died: May 13, 1939

Stanisław Leśniewski was a Polish mathematician, philosopher, and logician, who belonged to the first generation of the Lwów–Warsaw School of logic. His major contribution to mathematics was the construction of three nested formal systems: protothetic, ontology, and mereology. He was also a radical nominalist. He died shortly before the German invasion of Poland in 1939.  

 50 

Witelo
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Krzyki

Witelo was a 13th-century Polish friar, theologian, and natural philosopher. He was an important figure in the history of philosophy in Poland. He studied at Padua University. He described the reflection and refraction of light in 1284. His major surviving work on optics, Perspectiva, was based on the work of the polymath Alhazen. Many of his works didn't survive.