Professor Bogdan Baranowski

Prof. Baranowski

    Professor Bogdan Baranowski was born in 1927 in Kępno. He studied chemistry (1947-51) at Wrocław University and started the scientific career, yet before graduation, as an assistant at his Alma Mater (1949-1954) and then at estimable Jagiellonian University in Kraków, the oldest scientific institution in this part of Europe founded by Polish king more than 600 years ago. In 1956 Professor Baranowski was invited to join, just established, Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. From this time his scientific activity has been strictly associated with this Institute, where in 1964 he was nominated the Head of the Department of Physical Chemistry of Solids. At that time he collaborated yet with the Institute of Chemical Synthesis in Tarnow on the application of Debye's salt theory to a unique case of aqueous solutions of electrolytes and urea. The limits of the applicability of Debye's theory were demonstrated and the development of a new theory has been proposed.
    Scientific passion of Professor Baranowski has always been equally devoted to theory and experiment; in both these fields his achievements are significant.
    Cooperating for a long time with world-famous Professor Ilya Prigogine, recipient of Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977, Professor Baranowski started to introduce and develop this discipline of science in Poland. Large number of original papers and a monograph (Non-equilibrium Thermodynamics in Physical Chemistry) were published and five doctor thesis in this field were written under his supervision. The most important accomplishments in non-equilibrium thermodynamics are the description of electrotransport and diffusion in metals, transport processes in two-phase systems, electrothermodiffusion method, influence of chemical reactions on the distribution of components in a non-uniform temperature field interaction between diffusion and viscous flow and the discovery of electrochemical analogue in the Benard problem, that resulted, later in the discovery of chaos in electrochemical systems. Even such fundamental problems as the origin of life and its evolution were touched in the work on dissipative structures.
    The discovery of nickel hydride achieved by Professor Baranowski in the electrochemical way in 1958 promoted his interest in two following problems: to determine experimentally the equilibrium pressure of hydrogen being in equilibrium with the nickel hydride at 25oC, to synthesize the nickel hydride by a direct reaction between gaseous hydrogen and metallic nickel.
    In order to solve these problems Professor Baranowski, despite a very risky and apparently extremely difficult experimental technique, decided to accept the challenge and invade this terra incognita which, at that time, was the experimental work with hydrogen at very high pressure. Soon it became clear that a new, very important, interesting and productive field of science had been opened. Step by step new hydrides were discovered and their properties were described. Next to the nickel hydride and stoichiometric palladium hydride was the direct synthesis of chromium hydride from elements under high-pressure and high temperature conditions. Then the manganese hydride, the substance never known before, was synthesized. At extremely high pressure and temperature conditions the synthesis of aluminum hydride was also successfully performed.
    A general rule was found that for transition metal hydrides the volume occupied by hydrogen is constant, independent of the kind of metal; moreover this volume is only slightly dependent on pressure.
Among large number of new results which were accomplished by Professor Baranowski, or from his inspiration by members of his group, let us also mention the superconductivity of palladium hydride and deuteride which unexpectedly was discovered in 1972. The critical temperatures of these superconductors were at that time quite high.
    In the field of metal-hydrogen studies it was Professor Baranowski who began a systematic investigation on compressibility and search of phase transition of hydrides by using most modern technique available; initially the piston-cylinder apparatus, then the Bridgman anvils and recently the diamond anvil apparatus, which was developed for study the reactions between a gas (including H2) and solids. In pioneer work the high hydrogen pressure technique was applied for stimulating the hydrogen absorption in amorphous metals. The properties of highly hydrogenated amorphous alloys were described.
Important contributions for understanding solid - liquid transitions were done by introducing and developing the pressometric method, especially interesting in organic systems.
    Professor Baranowski is the author or co-author of more than 300 original publications and monographs. More than 20 doctorate thesis were written under his supervision and each of his disciples got a chance (and satisfaction) to solve an intriguing and meaningful scientific problem.
    Outstanding achievements of Professor Baranowski in different disciplines of science were very highly evaluated by the Polish as well as international scientific communities. He was granted membership of the Polish Academy of Sciences, German Academy "Leopoldina", Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences and a honorable membership of several scientific organizations such as Polish Chemical Society and German Chemical Society. He was nominated Doctor Honoris Causa by the Technical University in Goeteborg. The long collaboration with Swedish partners on pressure-induced phase transitions in ionic crystals (involving also the scanning calorimetry under high pressure) resulted in a series of publications and lectures.
    Professor Baranowski put a very valuable contribution to the activities of the Polish Chemical Society (as President of this organization in 1974-1979, Honorary Member from 1987 and Honorary President from 1997), Federation of European Chemical Societies, European High Pressure Research Group and International Association for the Advancement of High Pressure in Science and Technology (AIRAPT) as Vice President (1981-1985) and President (1989-1993). Professor Baranowski is, since 1991, the Chief Editor of the Polish Journal of Chemistry and is or was a member of Editorial Committees of Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, Journal of Alloys and Compounds and the High Pressure Research.
    The recognition for his outstanding scientific activity has been expressed in numerous awards, from which the first was the Award of Polish Chemical Society (as early as in 1956) assigned for young scientists. The most prestigious are: Award of Marie Curie-Sklodowska (1973) by Polish Academy of Sciences, Bourke-Medal (1973) and Bourke-Lecture by the Faraday Society, Medal of Jedrzej Sniadecki by the Polish Chemical Society (1984), "August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann" Lecture by the German Chemical Society and Award of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland (1994). During International AIRAPT Conference, hold in Warsaw in 1995, Professor Baranowski was granted by Bridgman Medal, the highest award of the international high pressure community.
    On the occasion of the 70th birthday of Professor Baranowski, his friends, coworkers and disciples from Poland and from all over the world express their most sincerest, most warmly wishes of excellent health, success and prosperity.

S. Filipek