In 2015 the world was celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the General Theory of Relativity. As a result of the revolution touched off by Albert Einstein, science has begun to exert a greater influence than in previous epochs on all facets of human life – from philosophy and politics, to art and pop-culture. The past century could indeed rightly be called the age of the explosion of science.
The rapid change in the perception of reality, with space and time becoming key concepts, has also had a certain very beneficial effect (thanks to the huge fame that Einstein and his theory enjoyed): as a result, scientists have gained a kind of social authority, becoming credible mediators considered crucial for resolving the problems of the modern age.
It was midway through this extraordinary century that the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) was created. What function do we serve today?
We try to satisfy the urge to seek the truth, a desire deeply rooted in our culture, to expand the horizon of knowledge beyond the current limits, and to be actively involved in shaping reality. By presenting systematic data gathered through observation, experimentation, and deduction, we respond to the human yearning to better understand both the world around us and the mechanisms that govern the inner world of the human mind.
Sharing knowledge is one of the most important challenges we face nowadays. To meet it, we strive to make effective use of new means of communication, in a way that ensures that such modern-day tools benefit all generations of researchers by promoting Polish research and opening up new inroads for science to enter the business, cultural, and social realms.
Our mission is thus to act, but also to encourage others to act. We want to inspire and motivate people – both young people and those already a bit older – to seek answers for themselves. We stimulate their sense of engagement, encourage them to commit themselves to learning and education, to the pursuit of knowledge, to working for the common good, and also to enjoy themselves at science festivals, exhibitions, and meetings with scientists organized throughout the country and beyond.
We work together with the entire research community. We try to integrate that community and, by setting standards of action, to facilitate public discussion of science-related issues, which in today’s world must be cherished as a global good.
Our continued betterment and development as an institution is made possible by people – by the recipients of what we do, by the country’s scientific cadre, and by collaborators throughout the world, with whom we engage in joint projects and jointly promote science. And also by a huge number of institutions, colleges and universities, organizations and companies, who share our passions and devotion.
Albert Einstein unleashed a revolution. We work hard, with a conviction that to some degree we are helping that revolution continue.