Memories - Wiesław Skorupski

Wiesław SKORUPSKI (*1932 – †1999)

In 2012, on the occasion of the eightieth birthday anniversary of Doctor Wiesław Skorupski, we remember a respected chemist, teacher and our dear colleague. When he passed away in 1999, soon after His death memories of those who knew and valued Him were published [1, 2, 3]. The memories depicted Him as a gifted and hard-working scholar and a university teacher kind to youth. Hence this short recollection of His professional activity.

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Wiesław Skorupski was born on 12 October 1932 in Warsaw. After completion of a secondary school and passing final examinations of the secondary-school certificate he enrolled at the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT). In 1955, being a distinguishing student, he was employed as a junior assistant at the Chair of Chemistry II, Faculty of Chemistry, WUT. After he received, in 1957, his master degree in chemical engineering with specialisation in „chemistry II” (those days this was a code name standing for synthesis of toxic substances, phosphoroorganic pesticides and toxic warfare agents) he was promoted to the rank of an assistant and, subsequently, a senior assistant. Within the framework of scientific and research work he developed a number of original syntheses of organic compounds which were to form a basis for his future doctoral thesis written under the guidance of Prof. Stefan Chwaliński, Head of the Chair. Since 1959, working on the waste management, he had cooperated with the Chair of Sanitary Technology, headed by Prof. Zygmunt Rudolf, within the structures of Faculty of Sanitary Engineering (the faculty was reorganized and renamed in 1961 as Faculty of Sanitary and Water Engineering, i.e. FSWE). So, due to liquidation of the Chair of Chemistry II in 1960, he continued his career at FSWE.

As a Master of Science, Wiesław Skorupski got actively involved in teaching, research and laboratory organization work. At that time the Chair of Sanitary Technology conducted some research connected with the ongoing construction of Masovian Refinery and Petrochemical Plants in Płock (renamed in 1999 as the refinery and petrochemical complex run by ORLEN Polish Oil Concern S.A.). His next research efforts focused on viscose waste generated by „Celwiskoza” Viscose and Artificial Fibre Works, Jelenia Góra-Cieplice (later known as „Chemitex-Celwiskoza” Synthetic Fibre Works, shut down in 1989), which posed a serious technological-ecological problem at that time. In 1965 he defended his doctoral dissertation entitled: Utilisation of solid waste generated during production of viscose fibre. Another subject of his research interest during his work at the Chair and later on, after reorganisation of FSWE in 1970, at the Institute of Environmental Engineering was corrosion of construction materials and structures caused by air pollution.

One of the key areas of professional activity for W. Skorupski, Ph.D., Eng. was the protection of the atmosphere. As early as in the middle of the sixties of the previous century, as a chief expert in gaseous air pollutants for the Polish Standardisation Committee, he ran laboratory classes for students in measurement of pollutants emission into the atmosphere. In those days the problem of air pollution attracted attention of and was considered important only by a narrow group of scientists. It was in this subject area, namely research into chemical contaminants of the atmospheric air, that he gained a broad and lasting recognition among specialists. He contributed to development of emission measurement methods and research into air pollutants imission. He devoted most of his research efforts to this matter.
In the early 80-ties of the previous century the Air Chemistry and Microbiology Team was created within the structures of the Division of Engineering-Sanitary Environmental Protection. The Team was headed by Wiesław Skorupski Ph.D., Eng. and included also K. Ossowska-Cypryk, Ph.D. and A. Kulig, M.Sc., Eng. In that period of time an intensive research into the environmental impact of municipal  management facilities, especially wastewater treatment plants and waste dumps, was commenced within the framework of, among other things, Governmental Research and Development Programme PR-7 Management and utilisation of water resources. Following the creation of the Division of Urban Environment Protection in 1985, the Soil Protection Group (staff: Doctor A. Kulig, J. Pawłowski, M.Sc., W. Rzemek, M.Sc., M. Sternicka-Kantor, M.Sc.) was founded and, originally, the educational and research activity of the latter was managed by W. Skorupski, Ph.D., Eng. However in 1991 he moved on to the Division of Meteorology and Atmosphere Protection of the Institute of Environmental Engineering Systems, where he worked as a senior lecturer for the rest of his life. He published numerous papers on atmosphere protection issues for which he received awards from the then Minister of Administration, Land Management and Environmental Protection, Rector Magnificus of the Warsaw University of Technology and others.
Moreover „mother” Faculty, Doctor W. Skorupski delivered lectures and seminars on environmental protection at many other faculties of the Warsaw University of Technology: Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Mechanics and Technology (at present Production Engineering), Automotive and Construction Machinery Engineering as well as Geodesy and Cartography, including the Institute of Typography. He was invited to lecture at other universities. For many years he delivered lectures and seminars, and promoted M.Sc. theses at the Faculty of Water Protection, Agricultural and Technological Academy of Olsztyn, and at the Faculty of Geology, University of Warsaw. He delivered lectures for participants of numerous postgraduate courses. He was numbered among the most active associates contributing to the organisation of the Staff Training Centre of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry in Dębe and, subsequently, he was a lecturer at specialised courses for many years there. He delivered lectures (seminars) during training courses on atmosphere protection and other topics in the Training Centre of the Ministry of Chemical Industry. He was numbered among a dozen or so founding members of the Association of Chemistry and Ecological Engineering and then a regular participant of ECOpole conferences for which he prepared papers and at which he always took an active part in official and behind-the-scenes discussions. He was an active member of the Polish Association of Sanitary Engineers and Technicians, he collaborated with the Polish Standardisation Committee, he was a member of the Preventive Sanitary Supervision Commission at the Ministry of Health and Social Care, and acted as an expert for many other organisations, including the judiciary (he described expert’s opinions for courts). At the same time Doctor W. Skorupski was a very sincere, kind and hard-working person. He eagerly shared his knowledge, broad experience and unique teaching materials, he obtained from various sources, with others. He was always accessible in the laboratory and managed to find time to provide consultation selflessly, even to outsiders.
His life and professional career were subordinated to teaching university students. He was an excellent teacher and was able to explain, clearly and precisely, many complex issues connected with his specialisation or with general and analytical chemistry: after all, he was, first and foremost, a chemist. In those scarce moments when he was not holding classes with students one could find him in the lab where, until late afternoon or evening hours, he analysed collected research samples or prepared laboratory classes. He was respected by and popular among students of our Faculty, and students of other WUT faculties and other universities, and a vast number of degree candidates, and a lot of environmental protection specialists with whom he kept in touch on professional matters.
Doctor Wiesław Skorupski died on 29 August 1999 and on 6 September His funeral was held at Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw. We will remember Him as a kind and modest person who was always there to provide sound advice on difficult matters of work and life.

Colleagues from Land Protection Group

In the journal Ecological Chemistry and Engineering A (6/2012) published an article by Andrzej Kulig, D.Sc., Ph.D., Eng., about this excellent chemist and educator. We invite You to read: Wiesław Skorupski - In memoriam


1. Prof. Witold Wacławek: Ecological Chemistry and Engineering, volume 6 of 10, pp. 957-959, 1999. Also in: Scientific and Technical Conference on the occasion of 30th anniversary of Institute of Environmental Engineering Systems, Warsaw University of Technology Contemporary Problems of Environmental Engineering. Science · Education · Economy. pp. 134-136. IEES WUT Graduate Club. Warsaw, November 2000 (in Polish).
2. Krzysztof Skalmowski, Ph.D., Eng.: Wiesław Skorupski. IEES WUT Information Newsletter No 57, November 1999. Also in: Scientific and Technical Conference on the occasion of 30th anniversary of Institute of Environmental Engineering Systems, Warsaw University of Technology Contemporary Problems of Environmental Engineering. Science · Education  ·Economy. pp. 131-132. IEES WUT Graduate Club. Warsaw, November 2000 (in Polish).
3. Aleksander Warchałowski, M.Sc.: Wiesław Skorupski. IEES WUT Information Newsletter No 57, November 1999. Also in: Scientific and Technical Conference on the occasion of 30th anniversary of Institute of Environmental Engineering Systems, Warsaw University of Technology Contemporary Problems of Environmental Engineering. Science · Education · Economy. pp. 132-133. IEES WUT Graduate Club. Warsaw, November 2000 (in Polish)