Famous Polish Scientists

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 1 
Marie Curie
(The First Woman to Win a Nobel Prize)
Marie Curie
56
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
(Polish Astronomer Who Proposed That the Earth Revolves Around the Sun)
Nicolaus Copernicus
37
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 
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit
(Polish Physicist and Inventor)
Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit
7
Birthdate: May 24, 1686
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gdańsk, Poland
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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 4 
Albert Sabin
(Polish-American Medical Researcher Best Known for Developing the Oral Polio Vaccine)
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.

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 5 
Marian Rejewski
(Polish Mathematician and Cryptologist Known for Solving the Enigma-machine cipher)
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.   

 6 
Hilary Koprowski
(Virologist, Immunologist)
Hilary Koprowski
6
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 
Alfred Tarski
(Polish-American Logician and Mathematician Best Known for His Work on Model Theory, Metamathematics, and Algebraic Logic)
Alfred Tarski
5
Birthdate: January 14, 1901
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 26, 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.

 8 
Stanislaw Ulam
(Mathematician)
Stanislaw Ulam
7
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.    

 9 
Stefan Banach
(Polish Mathematician Who Founded Modern Functional Analysis and Helped Develop the Theory of Topological Vector Spaces)
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.

 10 
Johann Gottfried Galle
(Astronomer, University teacher)
Johann Gottfried Galle
3
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.

 11 
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.

 12 
Joseph Rotblat
(Polish Physicist Known for His Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament Which Won Him the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize)
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.

 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 
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.

 15 
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.

 16 
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.

 17 
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.

 18 
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.

 19 
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. 

 20 
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.

 21 
Jon Lech Johansen
(Cryptographer, Programmer, Computer scientist)
Jon Lech Johansen
4
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. 

 22 
Leo Sternbach
(Polish American Chemist Known for His Contribution in Producing 'Valium' as Well as 'Librium')
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.

 23 
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.

 24 
Klaus von Klitzing
(physicist)
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.

 25 
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.

 26 
Kazimierz Kuratowski
(Polish Mathematician and Logician)
Kazimierz Kuratowski
2
Birthdate: February 2, 1896
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
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. 

 27 
Alexander Imich
(Chemist)
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. 

 28 
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.

 29 
Ewald Georg von Kleist
(German Inventor, Clergy and Lawyer Who Discovered (1745) the 'Leyden Jar')
Ewald Georg von Kleist
2
Birthdate: June 10, 1700
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wicewo, Poland
Died: December 10, 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.  

 30 
Michał Heller
(Polish Priest and Mathematical Cosmologist Who Championed a Worldview That Combined Mathematical Physics, Theology, and Philosophy)
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.

 31 
Antoni Zygmund
(Polish-American 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. 

 32 
Aleksander Wolszczan
(Astronomer)
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.

 33 
Tadeusz Reichstein
(Polish-Swiss Chemist Who Won the 1950 Nobel Prize in Medicine for His Work on Isolation of Cortisone)
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.

 34 
Stanisław Staszic
(Polish Priest, Philosopher, Geologist, Scholar, Poet and Writer)
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. 

 35 
Haroun Tazieff
(Volcanologist)
Haroun Tazieff
1
Birthdate: May 11, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: February 2, 1998
 36 
Eduard Strasburger
(Polish-German Botanist Who Discovered ‘Mitosis’ in Plants)
Eduard Strasburger
1
Birthdate: February 1, 1844
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: May 18, 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.

 37 
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.

 38 
Adolf Engler
(German Botanist Who Is Remembered for His Work on Plant Classification and Phytogeography)
Adolf Engler
1
Birthdate: March 25, 1844
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Zagan, Poland
Died: October 10, 1930

German botanist Adolf Engler is remembered for his plant classification system. One of his best-known works include the 23-volume The Natural Plant Families. He was also a pioneer in the study of phytogeography, or botanical geography. He won the prestigious Linnean Medal for his achievements.

 39 
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.

 40 
Stanisław Leśniewski
(Polish Mathematician, Philosopher and Logician)
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.  

 41 
Witelo
Witelo
1
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.  

 42 
Hagen Kleinert
(Professor)
Hagen Kleinert
1
Birthdate: June 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Twardogóra

A theoretical physics professor at the Freie Universität Berlin, Hagen Kleinert is known for his over 400 papers on topics such as mathematical physics. The Max Born Prize- winner has made major contributions to path integrals and the theory of strings. He is married to author Annemarie Kleinert.

 43 
Bohdan Paczyński
(Polish Astronomer)
Bohdan Paczyński
1
Birthdate: February 8, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vilnius, Lithuania
Died: April 19, 2007

Bohdan Paczynski was a Polish astronomer. He was well known for his work in the theory of stellar evolution, accretion discs, and gamma ray bursts. He studied astronomy at the University of Warsaw and embarked on a brilliant academic career. He became the youngest member of the Polish Academy of Sciences at the age of 36.  

 44 
Karl Ludwig Hencke
(German Amateur Astronomer and Discoverer of Minor Planets)
Karl Ludwig Hencke
0
Birthdate: April 8, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brandenburg, Germany
Died: September 21, 1866

Karl Ludwig Hencke was a German amateur astronomer. He discovered several minor planets and two asteroids from his private observatory. As a young man, he volunteered in the Wars of Liberation for Prussia but was wounded. After that, he became a post official, later on serving as the city court judge in his city of birth. 

 45 
Ludwig Gross
(Polish-American Virologist Who Discovered Two Different Tumor Viruses Capable of Causing Cancers in Lab Mice)
Ludwig Gross
0
Birthdate: September 11, 1904
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kraków, Poland
Died: July 19, 1999

Ludwig Gross was a Polish-American virologist who discovered two different tumor viruses capable of causing cancers in lab mice. Ludwig Gross was the recipient of many prestigious awards such as the R.R. de Villiers Foundation Award for Leukemia Research, Bertner Foundation Award, and William B. Coley Award.

 46 
Włodzimierz Kuperberg
(Polish Mathematician and Topologist)
Włodzimierz Kuperberg
0
Birthdate: January 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Belarus

Włodzimierz Kuperberg is a mathematician and topologist. Born in Poland, he moved abroad due to the anti-semitic atmosphere in his native land. He built a successful academic career, eventually becoming a professor of mathematics at Auburn University. He is married to fellow mathematician Krystyna Kuperberg. The couple’s son, Greg Kuperberg, is also a professional mathematician. 

 47 
Antoni Grabowski
(Polish Chemical Engineer)
Antoni Grabowski
4
Birthdate: June 11, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nowe Dobra, Poland
Died: July 4, 1921

Antoni Grabowski was a Polish activist and chemical engineer. A well-known and respected figure in the field of chemical engineering, Grabowski is remembered for a multitude of technological innovations and inventions. Antoni Grabowski also played a significant role in the development of Esperanto, the most widely spoken international auxiliary language. 

 48 
Hermann Steudner
(Botanist)
Hermann Steudner
0
Birthdate: September 1, 1832
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gryfów Śląski, Poland
Died: April 10, 1863
 49 
Włodzimierz Zonn
(Polish Astronomer)
Włodzimierz Zonn
0
Birthdate: July 14, 1905
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vilnius, Lithuania
Died: February 28, 1975

Polish astronomer Włodzimierz Zonn is known for his association with the University of Stefan Batory, first as a student and then as a professor. Apart from winning a Polish knighthood, he also headed the Polish Astronomical Society as its president and was the director of the University of Warsaw’s astronomical observatory.