Dr. Bertrand Piccard - the first man who circled the globe by a plane powered entirely by solar energy, an extraordinary visionary and innovator –received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the Silesian University of Technology. Our university decided to confer the highest academic dignity upon a man who, for many years, had been devoted to protection of the climate and the environment with great passion and commitment, who inspires people to change their perception of the world, who inspires scientists to create innovative solutions which aim at the development of environmentally friendly technologies. The ceremony took place on 5 December at the Education and Congress Centre of the Silesian University of Technology. The partners of the event were: Upper Silesia-Zagłębie Metropolis and the City of Gliwice.
- For many years we have been following and admiring Dr. Bertrand Piccard’s activities, which inspire people all over the world to create innovative technological solutions, serve societies, improve living conditions and stimulate creativity in order to ensure decent life for future generations. Undoubtedly, solutions aimed at protecting the natural environment are currently a priority for the world of science - said Rector of the Silesian University of Technology, Professor Arkadiusz Mężyk during the ceremony.
Bertrand Piccard did not hide his emotions when receiving the award.
- It is a great honour for me to receive such a title. The friendship of my family with Poland has lasted for three generations. Both, my grandfather and father were friends with Polish scientists. They had always emphasized significant tradition of science and aviation in Poland. That is why it is also a moment of great emotions for me- he said.
Bertrand Piccard devoted his professional life to science. He circled the globe twice - first in a balloon and then by a plane of his own idea, powered exclusively by solar energy. By these achievements he intended to show that flying without using even a drop of fuel, and thus without harm to the environment, is possible. Together with his wife, they created the Solar Impulse Foundation, whose latest venture is the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions project, aimed at selecting 1000 projects not only environmentally friendly, but also financially viable for entrepreneurs.
The result of cooperation among the Silesian University of Technology and the Solar Impulse Foundation, as well as the City of Gliwice and the Upper Silesia-Zagłębie Metropolis will be the development of the Centre for Climate and Environmental Protection, which will be established at Gliwice university. Its main mission will be extensive scientific and didactic activity and promotion of innovative technologies in the field of climate and environmental protection, including among others, clean energy technologies. Bertrand Piccard’s Foundation will be the honorary patron of the activities carried out by the Centre.
A letter of intent in this matter was signed during a press conference, which took place just before the ceremony of awarding the title of doctor honoris causa.
- I wanted to sign a letter of intent with a reliable partner who will care for the protection of the environment. Today, there are people with passion who work on the same wave, the wave that carries energy. This is the value of a human being that works for the good. And this is here in Gliwice. It's not just this one day and an honour for me. Our intention is the cooperation. In our foundation, we determine which technologies are the best for the world to minimize the climate change. The Silesian University of Technology has all necessary resources to do it: experience, staff, students, opportunities and motivation. To illuminate something, you have to light a lot of candles, one candle is lit right here and now - said Dr. Piccard.
Conferring the title of Doctor Honoris Causa upon Bertrand Piccard was accompanied by an interdisciplinary scientific conference "Innovative activities of the Silesian University of Technology for the protection of the climate and the environment", which began right after the ceremony. A new Doctor Honoris Causa of the Silesian University of Technology also participated in the conference.
Online transmission from the ceremony available here.
Interview with Dr. Bertrand Piccard available here
More information on scientific conference available here