IPJ Annual Report 2004
There is always a temptation while writing a Foreword to the Annual Report of a big research institute to address the big issues of the scientific policy in the country in which you operate. The declared policy in our country is to follow the Lisbon declaration, to increase the funding of research at an accelerating pace, so as to reach soon the goal of 3% of GNP. Along with that declaration, there is a steady decrease of the funding, the present state budget providing about 0,3% GNP with some wishful thinking about the private industry doing the rest. No comments. We can invite foreigners for various survival courses, fashionable in extreme sports but less attractive in normal daily life.
There is a question of mission for a large, multi-disciplinary institute like ours in a country like Poland to-day, undergoing the convulsions of transformation and urgently trying to catch-up with the world of wealth , the world of hi-tech. Personally, I am convinced that we have such a mission, that there is an important role to fill in a modern society for an institute of our type: a fair size national laboratory with a fifty-fifty share of basic research and of R&D, being a natural research back-up for high technology development as well as an important contributor to the cultural and educational advancement of the country.
Within the present organization of scientific research in Poland our mission should and could best be carried out under the auspices of the Polish Academy of Sciences. I hope that the rather artificial difficulties in the transfer of our Institute from our present formal supervising body, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour, to the Academy will eventually be removed and the transfer will finally take place.
We try to pursue our mission within the limited resources we have, the best we can. I invite the reader to glance through the pages of this Report to hopefully find confirmation of this. A few highlights as well as some trends worth noting are listed below:
- There were 217 papers published in the high ranking journals listed by the Philadelphia Institute of Physics. Our yearly internal awards in the basic research category were won by the work on Majorana neutrinos (Contrib. 8.7), on timing the nuclear reactions (contrib. 2.2) and on plasma spectroscopy (contrib. 5.7). In the technical category the winning work was that on detectors for astrophysical observations (contrib. 6.18), on the jet counter for measuring ionization clusters (contrib.4.2), on the new techniques of coating bulk copper of various shapes with thin superconducting layers (contrib. 5.8) and on the network of detectors for high energy cosmic ray showers (contrib. 7.6). These are placed in various secondary schools in the Łódź district and are operated by school pupils which in itself is a major sociological and educational achievement.
- We note some success in gaining the EU contracts, notably those for technical applications of plasma techniques, for developing new methods of detecting the illicit traffic of dangerous or strategic materials and for contributing to new detectors at CERN.
- The age structure of our staff has slightly improved thanks to hiring twelve junior scientists, four of them on international contracts
- There are a few research trends at our institute worth noting. On the one hand, we wish to strengthen our involvement in such fields of applied nuclear sciences as the medical physics, the environmental issues and, last but not least, the boarder controls and safety problems. All these fields have rather obvious social priorities, well recognized by the EU and gaining recognition also in Poland. As a measure in this direction we have formed a new department of “Interdisciplinary Physics Implementation”. This was achieved by fusion of the former departments of nuclear spectroscopy and techniques and of radiation shielding and dosimetry. The work envisaged is no doubt a major challenge for all the colleagues of the new department. But it also offers an important opportunity. I wish the new leader of this group, dr. Piotr Szymański, a big success in using this opportunity.
- A major trend in the basic research in subatomic physics is to join forces with astrophysicists and astronomers. Responding to this trend we take active part in building large neutrino detectors or in hunting for the extra galactic Gamma-Ray-Bursts (see our previous Annual Report as well as the cover of this one).
- An active group of our theoreticians led by Włodek Piechocki has embarked on a new ambitious cosmological project. We all wish them quick progress!
I have begun this Foreword with revoking our mission. This mission gets an added dimension recently in view of the planned return to the nuclear energy in Poland. For the years to come, this task has a mainly educational character. With the expertise we have, with the large team of researchers of highest qualifications, with our very active department of Training and Consulting I daresay we are well prepared to undertake this task.
Have a good reading!
Professor Ziemowid Sujkowski