fbpx Prof. Piotr Stepnowski receives 2018 Johannes Hevelius Scientific Award | University of Gdańsk | Uniwersytet Gdański

Prof. Piotr Stepnowski receives 2018 Johannes Hevelius Scientific Award | University of Gdańsk | Uniwersytet Gdański

Prof. Piotr Stepnowski receives 2018 Johannes Hevelius Scientific Award

Professor Piotr Stepnowski from the University of Gdańsk, a renowned world-class authority on environmental research and protection, has received the 2018 Johannes Hevelius Scientific Award of the City of Gdańsk in the category of exact and natural sciences. This most important Pomeranian distinction was awarded to Prof. Stepnowski for “a significant contribution to the development of research into the forecasting, detection and assessment of the negative impact of the residues of medicinal substances and ionic liquids in the environment”. The winner in the field of humanities and social sciences is Professor Piotr Dominiak from the Faculty of Management and Economics of the Gdańsk University of Technology. This year the awards were presented for the 31st time.

The Johannes Hevelius Scientific Award of the City of Gdańsk, also known as the Pomeranian Nobel Prize, has been awarded since 1987 to representatives of Gdańsk scientific circles for outstanding achievement in research. Over the past 30 years, 45 notable scientists have received the award.

The awards ceremony was traditionally held on the birthday of Johannes Hevelius, 28 January, at noon, in the Main City Hall in Długa St. in Gdańsk.

Prof. Dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski (born 1970) received his professorship at the age of 39. From the beginning, he has linked his academic career with the University of Gdańsk. He has been, amongst others, Dean of the UG’s Faculty of Chemistry and is currently Vice-Rector for Research and International Cooperation.

Professor Stepnowski is a world-class pioneer of research into the detection and assessment of environmental risk posed by atypical chemical pollutants such as residues of medication or so-called ionic liquids – the modern industrial solvents. Of particular value is his contribution into the effect of these kinds of substances on the living organisms found in aquatic ecosystems and his research into their influence on soils and bottom sediment. The results of his research have formed the basis for, amongst other things, a completely new approach to designing ionic liquid solvents to obtain reduced toxicity and higher degradation capacity. His research into medicinal substances in soil has proven the existence of the real threat of ground waters being polluted with these substances.

Professor Stepnowski was the first in the world to devise and implement several original methods for the analysis of ionic liquid components which are currently considered canons in the analysis of these modern solvents. Prof. Stepnowski’s methods are being commonly employed by scientific and industrial laboratories worldwide to analyse ionic liquids and the products of their transformation and break-up.

What cannot be stressed enough are his pioneering achievements in searching for new methods to measure traces of pharmaceuticals (veterinary, hormone, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication etc.) in environmental samples and their application in environmental assessment. Prof. Stepnowski’s research in this regard has proven the existence of these substances not only in urban waste water but also in the waters of the Baltic littoral zone, in selected soils or deep ground waters. The research conducted by Prof. Stepnowski’s team has also introduced a wealth of new information into the canon of world literature on the subject of biological effects as well as the toxicity and ecotoxicity of medicinal substances present in the environment.

 

Professor Stepnowski cooperates with a wide group of scientists, also from foreign research centres including Germany, France or Portugal. He is an author and co-author of over 200 scientific articles, published in renowned international journals, author of academic textbooks and editor of academic monographs. His works have been cited over 6,000 times and his current h-index stands at 42, which places him at the forefront of Polish science. He has also supervised over 50 MA theses and been promotor of 11 doctoral students.

He has served many important functions in social and local government organisations connected with environmental protection. He has been, among others, a Polish Expert Coordinator in EU’s Joint Programming in Research regarding climate change; Chairman of the Board of the Gdańsk Branch of the Polish Ecological Club and initiator and first Director of the UG’s Institute for the Protection of the Environment and Human Health. For 15 years he has also been a representative of the City of Gdańsk in the Board of the Agency of Regional Air Quality Monitoring in the Gdańsk Metropolitan Area, which he has headed since 2008.

Dr Beata Czechowska-Derkacz, University of Gdańsk spokesperson

 

Biographical note on Prof. Piotr Stepnowski: 

Prof. Dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski was born on 30 June 1970 in Gdańsk. Having graduated from the 3rd Secondary School in Gdynia in 1990, he began his studies in Environmental Protection, a new field of study at the University of Gdańsk at the time. In 1995 he started his doctoral studies at the Institute of   Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Sopot. He received the academic degree of Doctor (1999) and Doctor with habilitation (2005) from the UG’s Faculty of Chemistry. He was awarded a professorship at the age of 39. He is currently employed as full professor at the University of Gdańsk, where for the past 12 years he has been Head of the Department of Environmental Analysis.

Between 2012–2016 he was Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry and since 2016 has been the UG’s Vice-Rector for Research and International Cooperation. Professor Stepnowski is a world pioneer in research into the assessment of environmental risk of atypical chemical pollutants such as ionic liquids or pharmaceuticals. Particularly well-regarded is his contribution into discovering the ecotoxicological activity of these substances and their potential for spreading in the soil environment, and the results of his research have formed a basis for the new approach to designing ionic liquids of reduced toxicity and higher biodegradation capacity or to assessing the risk of ground waters being polluted with pharmaceutical residues. Professor Stepnowski was the first in the world to devise and implement a number of original methods for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of ionic liquid components which are currently considered canons in the analysis of these compounds. Contemporary scientific research and industrial work with the use of these compounds almost exclusively employ Prof. Stepnowski’s methods to analyse cleanliness, production residue or the products of transformation and break-up. What cannot be stressed enough are his pioneering achievements in searching for new selective and sensitive methods of analysing pharmaceuticals (veterinary, hormone, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication etc.) and of their application in environmental assessment. Prof. Stepnowski’s research in this regard has proven the existence of these substances not only in urban waste water but also in the waters of the Baltic littoral zone, in selected soils or deep ground waters. The research conducted by Prof. Stepnowski’s team has also introduced plenty of new information into the canon of world literature on the subject of biological effects as well as the toxicity and ecotoxicity of the medicinal substances present in the environment.

Professor Stepnowski’s academic achievement comprises over 200 original and review articles published in journals from the Journal Citation Reports list. His works have been cited over 6,000 times and his current h-index stands at 42, which places him at the forefront of Polish science. Moreover, Professor Piotr Stepnowski is the editor of 9 publications and author or co-author of 3 academic textbooks on separation techniques, environmental monitoring and chemical and ecological nomenclature in English. He has also delivered over 60 guest lectures at international conferences and foreign universities.

Professor Piotr Stepnowski has supervised over 50 MA theses and been promotor of 11 completed doctoral dissertations. He has also created a young and dynamically developing scientific school of modern environmental chemical analysis, heading the work of a team involved both in fundamental as well as utility research.

Professor Piotr Stepnowski’s achievements have met with domestic and international recognition, as confirmed by his extensive scientific output as well as the fact that he has headed and participated in the implementation of a number of scientific projects financed from both national research centres as well as EU framework programme and operational programme funds. In 2016, the European Chemical Society   (EuCheMS), the largest European scientific organisation, entrusted Prof. Stepnowski with the position of  Vice-Chairman of the Division of Green Chemistry, while the Committee of Analytical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences elected him Vice-Chairman.

Outside his academic career, Professor Stepnowski has served numerous important functions in social and local government organisations connected with environmental protection. In 2010 – 2016 he was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Regional Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and in 2005 – 2008 Chairman of the Board of the Gdańsk Branch of the Polish Ecological Club. Between 2005 – 2015 he was Secretary of the Scientific Council of the Pomeranian Centre for Environmental Research and Technology. He was also the initiator and first Director of the UG’s Institute for the Protection of the Environment and Human Health. Since 2009 he has been Chairman of the Board of the Agency of Regional Air Quality Monitoring in the Gdańsk Metropolitan Area, which monitors air quality in the Tri-City. He has also acted as a Polish representative on the EU’s Joint Programming Research team (2010-2012) and head of the Third Division of the Gdańsk Scientific Society (2007-2010). Since 2011 he has been a member of the Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Programme for the Pomeranian Voivodeship.

 

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2019, February 5 - 12:51pm