Origins of Theoretical Chemistry in Poland and the Role of Professor Kazimierz Gumiński

This article discusses the advent of theoretical chemistry in Poland and the biography of its founding father, professor Kazimierz Gumiński. The presentation follows chronological order of the discoveries that gave rise to the onset of quantum chemistry, and the political history of that time, namely World War II and the Stalinist period. These general circumstances indirectly triggered the foundation of the Chair of Theoretical Chemistry at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków on September 1, 1952, which is viewed as the beginning of Polish theoretical chemistry.
Most information herein is based on Gumiński’s report concerning the first ten years of the institution’s activity; the report is appended as an annex. The original and demanding training Gumiński imposed on his disciples is described from the author’s personal experience.

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