Znak Politechniki Warszawskiej

Big Science at the Warsaw University of Technology

Synthetic blood, light-emitting quantum dots, B-Droid, underwater robot, solar boat and printed electronics – these are just some of our scientists’ projects that have fascinated us throughout the year. Each week on BIT of WUT, we wrote about their fantastic inventions, discoveries or research projects. In the last article of this year, we would like to remind you once more of the innovative projects from WUT.

Our scientists have proven multiple times that science can also be done in Poland. They never cease to amaze us. The number of topics that we want to cover grows continuously. It turns out that our researchers and inventors not only conduct complex studies, but can also talk about their work in an understandable and interesting manner, even to a layperson.

In the "Business – Innovations – Technologies" cycle, we write about discoveries and ideas of employees, students and graduates of the Warsaw University of Technology. While looking into the future, we don’t forget the foundations upon which our University is built. Therefore, we remember historic achievements of people related to WUT; we wrote, for example, about Stanisław Wigura, Józef Kosacki or Ignacy Mościcki and their achievements.

In 2016, we published 47 popular science articles in total. We began with the article about the PRT system implemented under the Eco-Mobility project. It also included a wheelchair and an orthotic robot. Both inventions are meant for people with mobility impairments.

Appreciated in Poland and Abroad

Early this year, the entire world was amazed by Elon Musk’s Hyperloop idea – a mean of transport of the future. WUT also participates in the transportation revolution. The Hyper Poland team, composed of, among others, students and graduates of our University, led by Prof. Janusz Piechna, developed their own capsule project and the entire communications system. The engineers’ works have been recognized by experts at international competitions. It was recently announced that Hyper Poland University Team – composed of students from the Warsaw University of Technology, Wrocław University of Technology, and supported by the Hyper Poland team – has qualified for another competition organized by Elon Musk. This time, the young creators will design a one-person capsule for this ultra-fast mean of transport.

The Hyper Poland team and Prof. Janusz Piechna

The Hyper Poland team and Prof. Janusz Piechna, phot. Hyper Poland

Two projects described in BIT of WUT have been recognized at the Polish Product of the Future competition. FRP composite road bridge won the first award in the category: research unit – entrepreneur consortium. The team included six representatives of our University, led by Rafał Molak, PhD (Eng) from the Faculty of Materials Engineering. WUT engineers, based on laboratory research, have specified mechanical properties of FRP composites required for designing the bridge and calculating its load-bearing capacity.

The intelligent football pads project has been awarded a distinction in the same category. These pads are filled with non-Newtonian fluids whose viscosity increases rapidly with the rate of shear strain. Properties of such liquid can be manipulated. Therefore, it was possible to build football pads that are extremely flexible, comfortable, and protect footballers’ legs up to seven times better than currently available pads. The team was led by Prof. Mikołaj Szafran from the Faculty of Chemistry of WUT.

Young, Capable

In the BIT of WUT cycle, we also promote our students’ works. We wrote about the “Biomech” Student Research Association, the MelAvio Avionics Research Club, Student’s Science Club Progres, about creators of the Spontap application, WUT Solar Boat Team, or about the Underwater Robotics Student Research Group. The latter, after the publication of our coverage, managed to find sponsors and fulfil their dream about going to the MATE 2016 underwater robotics competition in the United States.

It proves that science should be promoted.

After our articles, the media were amazed by works of scientists led by Prof. Małgorzata Jakubowska from the Faculty of Mechatronics. The researchers work on the broadly understood printed electronics. The flexible electrode, biomedical sensors and heterophasic functional materials were covered by e.g. "Gazeta Wyborcza", "Nauka w Polsce", "Fakt", or even "Życie na Gorąco". Our scientists were also invited to TV and radio programmes, by public and commercial media. A great achievement for us was that in the final episode of "Sonda 2", hosted by Tomasz Rożek, our innovators created two of the five presented projects: Grzegorz Wróblewski, PhD (Eng) from the Faculty of Mechatronics (the flexible electrode) and members of the Vehicle Aerodynamics Student Research Club (the Kropelka [Droplet] vehicle).

Scientists led by Prof. Małgorzata Jakubowska from the Faculty of Mechatronics

Scientists led by Prof. Małgorzata Jakubowska from the Faculty of Mechatronics, phot. Office for Promotion and Information

Projects at the International Level

We also have to mention discoveries which the entire world, not only scientists, finds interesting. The team led by Prof. Tomasz Ciach from the Faculty of Chemical and Process Engineering has developed unique non-toxic and biodegradable nanoparticles. Their purpose is to transport medicine to sick cells. Synthetic blood is another spectacular project of Prof. Ciach’s group working at the Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering. The invention mimics the most important function of blood – transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide. The synthetic blood developed at WUT may be also used for storing and transporting organs for transplant.

In February, we covered the new method of synthesizing perovskites, developed by Prof. Janusz Lewiński’s team. According to the scientists from the Faculty of Chemistry of WUT, perovskite synthesis can take advantage of many organic and inorganic compounds and relatively simply adjust them for specific uses. Furthermore, Prof. Lewiński’s team developed a simple and efficient method enabling the formation of stable quantum dots susceptible to functionalization while retaining their unique luminescent properties.

The BIT of WUT cycle also covers our graduates. They establish companies, develop innovative solutions for business and work at other universities, also abroad. And they are successful. Three scientist related to the Warsaw University of Technology had (and still have) an opportunity to collaborate with this year’s chemistry Nobel laureates. Wiktor Szymański, PhD (Eng) and Wojciech Danowski, MSc (Eng) participate in research of Prof. Feringa’s team, while Wojciech Bury, PhD (Eng), as part of collaboration between research groups, has already published papers together with Prof. Stoddart. All of them have studied at the Faculty of Chemistry of WUT.

Wojciech Danowski, MSc (Eng), Prof. Benjamin Stoddart and Wiktor Szymański, PhD (Eng)

Wojciech Danowski, MSc (Eng), Prof. Benjamin Stoddart and Wiktor Szymański, PhD (Eng), phot. Wiktor Szymański's archive

Good Name Built on Successes

Our scientists have no reason to feel bad: they receive distinctions at domestic and international competitions, they are innovative, they possess knowledge and skills, and – most of all – they are greatly determined to pursue their goals.

It is a great joy to meet such people. Not only do they impress with their knowledge and passion, but also with their modesty and openness. “You have humanized this beautifully!”, said one of the scientists about reading the article about his complicated research.

Our articles are a compromise between hard, professional knowledge and the desire to reach the mass consumer who often doesn’t know anything about the topic. We want these articles to not only show the effect of these works, but also the path that led (or still leads) to success. After all, ideas and discoveries are made by people. We write about them also to inspire others who, up to this point, maybe didn’t boast about their scientific activities. We hope that, next year, we will be constantly amazed by ideas of people from our University again.

 

Monika Bukowska and Agnieszka Kapela

Office for Promotion and Information