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‘The International S. Banach Prize’ – a new award in the field of mathematical sciences

15 October 2008

Banach PrizeMathematical thinking constitutes the foundations of our civilisation – with this thought in mind, the Polish Mathematical Society together with Ericpol Telecom have established an international award for an outstanding doctoral dissertation in the mathematical sciences.

The ceremonious signing of an agreement for establishment of ‘The International Stefan Banach Prize for a Doctoral Dissertation in the Mathematical Sciences,’ granted for an outstanding doctoral thesis, shall take place on 6 November 2008 in Cracow.

The main aim of the initiative is to provide financial support for eminently talented young scientists, propagate and popularise mathematics, promote the achievements of Polish mathematical thought and the figure of Stefan Banach in the world.

‘The initiative to establish the International Stefan Banach Prize is supposed to support mathematics. Without poetry or the fine arts, the world would be incomplete, but without mathematics, contemporary civilisation simply would not exist. It needs to be remembered all the more so because in recent years, the authority of mathematics in Poland has deteriorated and its role in the educational process has been reduced. We hope that the award will allow remarkable people to realise their creative needs, and at the same time we will be able to remind the world of a great Polish scientist, whose work and life embody, in a fascinating way, the strength and beauty of a human mind’, claims Jan Smela, President of Ericpol Telecom.

The financial award, which will be worth 20.000 PLN in 2009, shall be granted by a jury composed of PTM members and representatives of Ericpol Telecom – the prize founder. The first ceremony is planned to be held on 1 July 2009. The first edition shall include dissertations from Poland, Belarus, Lithuania and Ukraine. Future editions are supposed to cover other countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as the European Union.

‘The project of granting the prize to talented young mathematicians is a tribute of the IT and telecommunications business environment to the role of mathematics in contemporary world. We are grateful to Ericpol Telecom for this initiative. We hope that the significant financial scope of this award and the prestige of the institution granting it shall result in submission of many high quality dissertations. The prize patron – Stefan Banach – can be an example for young mathematicians because, despite difficult beginnings of his professional career, he became one of the most famous mathematicians in the world thanks to his remarkable mind and personality traits’, says professor Stefan Jackowski, president of the Polish Mathematical Society.

Stefan Banach was born on 30 March 1892 in Cracow. He was a self-taught mathematician – he began studying at Jagiellonian University, and studied at the Technical University in Lvov for two years. He defended his doctoral dissertation at the Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov, where he was appointed professor two years later. Many talented young mathematicians gathered around him creating the Lvov School of Mathematics. Banach was also in close contacts with mathematicians from Warsaw. Stefan Banach was the originator of functional analysis – a large and important branch of mathematics used in modern applications. In the years 1939-1945, during the war, he was the president of the Polish Mathematical Society. He died on 31 August 1945 in Lvov.

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