Kazimierz Łukaszewicz (1927-2016)

[K. Lukaszewicz]

Kazimierz Łukaszewicz, one of the founders of Polish Crystallography, died on 23 May in Wrocław (Poland). He was the corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), Chairman of the Committee on Crystallography, PAS, and Prof. and emeritus Prof. in the Inst. of Low Temperature and Structure Research, PAS, Wrocław.

K. Łukaszewicz was born in 1927 in Duboja, Polesie region. He settled in Toru after World War II where he attended Nicolaus Copernicus U. He continued his education in the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry at the U. of Wrocław. With an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, he went on to receive his PhD degree at Wrocław Technical U. in 1959 for his work on the crystal structures of strontium and barium titanates. After postdoctoral work at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge U., with H. Megaw he earned his DSc in Crystallography at the Inst. of Physical Chemistry, PAS, in Warsaw.

Łukaszewicz's main research interests were structural studies of functional materials, phase transitions and order-disorder phenomena. He developed a method of high-precision measurements of the lattice parameters to detect extremely subtle phase transitions. In the 70s he undertook studies of modulated structures and devoted his last years of active research to work on crystals with correlated disorder. He is the author of many scientific papers and the first Polish textbook on X-ray structure analysis (together with Wodzimierz Trzebiatowski). His last paper was published in 2008.

Łukaszewicz persistently sought to modernize facilities and methodology and to broaden research topics. We owe the first Polish computer programs for crystallographic calculations to his efforts. Poland's first semi-automatic single-crystal diffractometer was launched in his department in 1968. In subsequent years, Łukaszewicz designed and implemented the first Bond-type diffractometers used for precise measurements of lattice parameters of single crystals. He actively supported the innovative work of colleagues on the first Polish four-circle diffractometer. Much of the credit for making Poland the world's leading manufacturer of such complex research equipment goes to Łukaszewicz.

In 1972 Łukaszewicz became the Chairman of the Committee on Crystallography of the PAS and led it until 2003, when he became Honorary Chairman. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the IUCr (1972-1978), and Vice President (1981-1983) and President (1983-1986) of the European Crystallographic Association. Thanks to his activities in the organizational field, Poland was chosen as the host of the XI Congress and General Assembly of IUCr in Warsaw (1978) and the 10th and 20th European Crystallographic Meetings in Wrocaw (1986) and Kraków (2001).

Prof. Łukaszewicz never ceased to promote crystallography. He believed that crystallography is an independent science bridging physics, chemistry, mathematics, mineralogy, materials science and biology. He was fascinated by the history and the philosophy of science. We will remember him as a passionate, ever curious, active, optimistic and enthusiastic man.

Marek Wocyrz