Prof. Artur Blaim and prof. Hanna Mazur-Marzec becomes this year's laureates of the J. Hevelius Award

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English scholar, a specialist in utopia and dystopia in culture prof. dr hab. Artur Blaim and oceanographer and chemist prof. dr hab. Hanna Mazur-Marzec are this year's winners of the Jan Hevelius Science Award of the City of Gdańsk.

‘Prof. Artur Blaim became famous for his research on literary utopia and dystopia in English culture. A spectacular example of prof. Hanna Mazur-Marzec's innovative research is the detection of the presence of ichtiotoxins produced by so-called 'golden algae' in the waters of the Oder River,' Mayor of Gdańsk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz opened the event. ‘In a word, there is hope that utopian faith in the beauty of the human mind and in the power of scientific arguments can save us from a dystopia where we are all suffocated by golden algae.’

The scientific achievements of prof. Hanna Mazur-Marzec and prof. Artur Blaim were discussed in turn by prof. dr hab. Grzegorz Węgrzyn and the President of the Gdańsk Scientific Society, prof. dr hab. Jerzy Błażejowski. In addition to detecting the presence of 'golden algae' in the Oder, prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn pointed to the characterisation by the laureate of more than 200 previously unknown peptides produced by marine cyanobacteria. Some of these compounds show strong anticancer and antiviral properties, including blocking the growth of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Prof. Hanna Mazur Marzec

‘Prof. Hanna Mazur-Marzec deserves great praise for yet another reason, namely her personality traits,' continued the laudation by prof. Grzegorz Węgrzyn. ‘I would like to emphasise that she is a person of great professionalism and perfection in her analyses and research, but also of extraordinary modesty, kindness, and willingness to help selflessly.’

The laureate of the Jan Hevelius Science Award in the science category thanked all those who had supported her in her scientific career, especially former lecturers and scientists from the Department of Oceanography and Geography at the University of Gdańsk. She also emphasised the contribution of researchers from other UG faculties, without which it would not have been possible to achieve such good scientific results.

Prof. Jerzy Błażejowski drew attention to the laureate's numerous scientific achievements, including his pioneering work in the field of utopia research. Prof. Artur Blaim regularly undertakes pervasive literature studies. His book entitled Gazing in Useless Wonder. English Utopian Fictions 1516-1800 is the first monograph in the world to discuss comprehensively the evolution of utopian discourse in the early modern period. He is currently working on the compilation and translation of 37 classics of utopian literature.

‘I owe a special thanks to my wife - the first reader and relentless critic of most of my texts, thanks to whom their meaningfulness and communicability grow exponentially,' said this year's winner of the Jan Hevelius Science Award in the humanities category.

Prof. Artur Blaim

Prof. Artur Blaim also gave a short lecture on the current state of utopia in society. Among other things, he drew attention to a phenomenon he called nebulous utopia. This is a promise of a happy future without specifying precisely what it consists of. As examples of such utopias, prof. Artur Blaim gave political slogans such as 'Good Change', 'Hungarian Hungary' or 'Let's Make America Great Again'.

The Jan Hevelius Science Award of the City of Gdańsk is the most important in Pomerania, also known as the Pomeranian Nobel Award. It has been awarded since 1987 to representatives of the Gdańsk scientific community. Since 2001, the statuettes have been awarded in two categories: humanities and natural and exact sciences.

It is worth mentioning that this is not the first time that 'Hevelius' in both categories went to scientists from the University of Gdańsk. Two years ago, the statuettes were received by prof. dr hab. Ewa Łojkowska and prof. dr hab. Małgorzata Omilanowska-Kiljańczyk. A similar situation occurred in 2007, when prof. dr hab. Marcin Pliński and prof. dr hab. Małgorzata Książek-Czermińska were awarded.

Prof. Artur Blaim


His research interest in the phenomenon of utopia became apparent as a student. In 1974, at the Faculty of Humanities of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, he defended his master's thesis entitled The Radicalism of Utopia, prepared under the supervision of Prof. Henryk Zins. Four years later, he obtained his doctoral degree at the Faculty of Humanities of the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University after defending his thesis, The Poetics of English Literary Utopia 1516-1700, written under the supervision of prof. Róża Jabłkowska from the University of Warsaw and prof. Andrzej Zgorzelski from the University of Gdańsk (UG). In 1983-1984, he did postdoctoral studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK. Based on a book published in 1987 entitled Failed Dynamics. The English Robinsonade of the 18th Century, he received - in 1988 - the degree of Doctor of Humanities in the field of literary studies at the Faculty of Humanities of Maria Curie-Skłodowska University. His book, published in 1997, entitled Aesthetic Objects and Blueprints: English Utopias of the Enlightenment was the basis for the conferral of the academic title of Professor of Humanities in the same year. Since 2008, he has been engaged as a full professor/professor in the Department of English Translation Studies, part of the Institute of English and American Studies at the Faculty of Languages of the University of Gdańsk. Since 2013, he has headed the Early Literature Translation Research Group at the Faculty of Languages.

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Prof. Hanna Mazur-Marzec


She graduated with a master's degree in Chemistry from the University of Gdańsk in 1983. She also obtained her PhD and postdoctoral degrees in Earth Sciences at UG in 1995 and 2007. In 2013, she was awarded the title of Professor of Earth Sciences by the President of the Republic of Poland. She currently heads the Department of Marine Biology and Biotechnology at the Faculty of Oceanography and Geography, University of Gdańsk. Prof. Hanna Mazur-Marzec has written more than 120 scientific articles, which have been published in renowned international scientific journals, including Chemosphere, Marine Drugs, Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Antiviral Research, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Water Research, Algal Research, Frontiers in Marine Science, Archives in Microbiology and many others. During the last five years, she has implemented five national grants, including three NSC grants as a Principal Investigator, one grant in consortium with the University of Warmia and Mazury, and one grant within the Innovation Incubator 2.0. During this time, she has also been a member of the Management Committee of 4 COST actions and was involved in one Norwegian CLISED grant and one FOCUS grant within the Interreg South Baltic Programme. She is also a Principal Investigator in a Lithuanian CESBA project implemented by Klaipeda University. She is a member of the Editorial Committee of the journals ‘Marine Drugs’ and ‘Oceanologia’.

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