What is the Wincent Pol’s Award, and what does it mean for Łukasz Musielok and Dominik Kaim, members of the HES-GEO team? Follow the article to read more.

Every year Council of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Management in Jagiellonian University grant Wincenty Pol’s award to young, prominent scientists. The winner has to be not only a great scientist but also an excellent teacher. It is a really hard task, so only the best of the best can win. We are glad to inform you that two of our team leaders won mentioned award in the previous years! It means that our teams are under the best guidance!   

Who was Wincenty Pol, and who can get the award?  

Wincenty Pol was a Polish poet and geographer. The award is granted to the person who stands out with scientific achievements, measured by many good quality publications promoting geography in the interdisciplinary field and innovative problems and research initiatives undertaken. Moreover, above-average and highly rated didactic activities, including new courses and stimulating students’ interests, are considered. The person who wins this award also stands out by extensive activity for the Institute of the Jagiellonian University

Who gets the Wincenty Pol’ award? 

Last year Wincenty Pol’s award received Dominik Kaim from the Department of GIS, Cartography and Remote Sensing. 

This year Council of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Management in JU awarded Łukasz Musielok from the Department of Pedology and Soil Geography.  

Below you can find a few words from our winners!  

Łukasz  Musielok:

“First of all, it was a great surprise for me to be informed that I received the Wincenty Pol Award for the Year 2021. Looking at it this way, this award is a huge motivation for me to improve what still needs improvement and to further personal development. In my daily work, I try to perform all my duties and tasks as well as possible,and I’m glad that my superiors and colleagues notice it. However, I don’t consider myself any “geographic superstar”. I still see many things I need to improve to be a better scientist, lecturer and employee. 

I also have to admit that I really like my job. Pedology and soil geography – scientific fields in which I research are also issues that fascinate me privately. Honestly, I don’t know any geographer who could distinguish between professional and personal life. Being a geographer is always a way of life. 

I would like to emphasize that I achieved the scientific successes only thanks to the kindness and support of my closest associates from the Department of Pedology and Soil Geography – Marek Drewnik, Wojciech Szymański and Mateusz Stolarczyk, as well as doctoral students – Magdalena Gus-Stolarczyk and Anna Bartos. 

In the justification of the award, it was emphasized that I engage students in scientific work. In fact, my students motivate me a lot. Without their enthusiasm for work, many scientific achievements wouldn’t be possible. 

I am currently developing a research topic as part of the HES-GEO project. The research will investigate the link between land cover change and soil organic carbon sequestration in mountain ecosystems. Together with my Research Team, we are preparing a review article on the role of mountain soils in the global carbon cycle, and soon we will prepare the specific grant application devoted to solving this scientific problem.” 

Łukasz Musielok – geographer, soil scientist.

He focuses on pedology and soil geography (especially soil genesis) in temperate mountain ecosystems and the High Arctic.

Moreover, he is a lover of mountains and nature.

Dominik Kaim: 

“At one of the HES GEO project meetings, we discussed how it is to be a scientist nowadays. We realized that there are quite many similarities between scientists and professional sportsmen. 

The awards are a very nice part of scientific life, although they often do not happen very much like in sport. Everyday life consists of training and from time to time you participate in competitions. Sometimes you happen to win. When you win, you realize that it is actually not individual success. Although we know who scored in the football match, it is not very likely that the goal would have happened if only the attacker (or even eleven attackers) had played in the team. Similarly, in science, you have to feel the strong support of your lab colleagues who help you in research design, analysis, paper drafts and finally, responses to reviews. Science today is real teamwork – and for the significant challenges, the teams can be really, really big. Imagine how long it would take for one person to invent a covid vaccine? 

In sport, not only the team is essential, but also the coach. They are responsible for your training and indicate achievable yet ambitious aims. In science, the role of the supervisor is quite similar. They are the source of experience young scientists usually miss. Since science itself is cumulative, they are also a source of knowledge. We have all heard of the so-called Master-Apprentice model in science. But is it very different in a sport when a former player eventually becomes the coach in many cases? 

Wincenty Pol Award was an extraordinary moment for me. Although it is an individual award, like in sport, a great team of people helped me achieve that success. I lived on Wincenty Pol street for eleven years and liked the address. Just another example that #geographymatters.”

Dominik Kaim is a geographer at the Institute of Geography and Spatial Management, Jagiellonian University, Poland. He received a PhD in 2014. His research focuses on land-use changes and their implications in mountainous areas. The study uses various data sources like historical maps, repeat photography and current remote sensing data.

This post was brought to you by Anna Bartos and Magdalena Gus-Stolarczy, members of the Land cover changes and soil organic carbon sequestration in the mountain ecosystems team.