Wlodzimierz Zonn (1905-1975). Astronomer and talented science writer
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The work of Professor Wlodzimierz Zonn involving astronomical research and popularization, which occupies a key place in the history of the field in Poland, as well as his contribution to Polish scientific life, fully warrant a presentation of the life and work of this great scientist, with a special focus on his manifold activities relating to astronomy. The article is based on the memoirs, published in the journal 'Postepy Astronomii' (Advances in Astronomy), by Wilhelmina Iwanowska, relating to the Vilnius period (1925-1938), and by Stefan Piotrowski, relating to the Warsaw period of Zonn's life and activity, as well as on recordings of S. Wrona's conversations with Zonn's disciples, Professors Konrad Rudnicki, Józef Smak, Andrzej M. Soltan, and with Iwona Korzeniowska. The author, who was Zonn's friend and collaborated with him in the field of popularizing astronomy, has added some unknown details that help to characterize the unique personality of the scientist. The first area in which W. Zonn was active is photographic photometry of variable stars. His further work dealt with astronomic statistics; he pointed out that dark matter is not distributed uniformly in the Galaxy, and discovered the instability of double galaxies. Since 1950, Professor Zonn had been Head of the Astronomical Observatory of the Warsaw University. He was co-founder of the Division of Astronomy of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and later became head of the Astrophysics Laboratory II within the division. For ten years, Professor Zonn headed the Astronomy Committee of the Polish Academy of Sciences. He was elected President of the Polish Astronomical Society for eight terms. Professor Zonn was the author of several academic textbooks, over twenty popular scientific books and brochures, as well as over a hundred articles belonging to the area of science popularization and science journalism. Professor Zonn was a highly esteemed lecturer and unrivalled popularizer of science. He could boast of broad intellectual horizons and an enormous sense of humour.
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