Exactly 80 years ago, on 17 December 1938, the first oceanographic doctorate in Poland was defended at the Jagiellonian University. Kazimierz Demel from the Marine Station in Hel presented a dissertation entitled “Study on the bottom fauna and its distribution in the Polish waters of the Baltic Sea”. His advisor was Professor Michał Siedlecki. Demel was already a well-known oceanographer at that time and in Hel he was called the Professor, as considered as such. In the presence of the rector of the Jagiellonian University – Professor Tadeusz Lehr-Spławiński, Demel was examined and highly rated by Professor Zygmunt Grodziński and Professor Władysław Szafer. There are two photographs (though of not good quality) from this event and a doctorate diploma dated 17 December 1938.
Kazimierz Demel began Polish oceanographic research in Hel in 1923. He was the author of pioneering works in zoology and hydrology of the Baltic Sea. After World War II, he became a teacher and mentor of many generations of Polish oceanographers – and his popularizing books on biology of the Baltic Sea inspired many later marine researchers.
Maybe it’s a good date for the oceanographer’s day?
The Hel Museum features an exhibition dedicated to Kazimierz Demel and Helian oceanographic research.