The volume in question constitutes a short academic and political biography of
professor August Chełkowski, an outstanding physicist and a figure enjoying big
social trust. His academic path was connected with two universities: Adam Mickiewicz
University in Poznań and University of Silesia in Katowice respectively.
The book is clearly divided into the Poznań and Katowice period. The latter was
the stage much richer in events, both academic and political ones.
In Silesia Chełkowski gained the position of one of the most important opponents
of the political system, especially at the time of the martial law. The very
role resulted much more from his invincible ethical attitude than engagement in
a political battle. The professor was the first democratically elected Rector of the
University of Silesia to be still referred to as the ‘red’ one. He was also the only
rector in Poland to be interned by the authorities at that time. Soon after being
released, he was also dismissed from the very position. The book includes the
fragments of the documents coming from the “Activist” file, founded by the security
service invigilating Chełkowski.
After gaining independence in 1989, he was selected a senator of the Republic
of Poland. He was serving his function for four terms, till death in 1999. He was
also honoured to be the speaker of the second term Senate. The Institute of Physics
at the University of Silesia has been holding the name of August Chełkowski,
its long-standing principal since 2000. Deservedly, he was the winner of the “Lux
ex Silesia” prestigious prize. After his death, in 2009, he was also decorated with
the Commander’s Cross with the Star of the Order of Renaissance of Poland. The
professor influenced the shape of physics in Katowice and the whole University
as an academic, teacher, and organizer of an academic life.