The history of the Faculty of Chemistry at the Silesian University of Technology began 75 years ago. Given the centuries-old traditions of some universities, this may seem like a very short story. However, when we reflect on the fact that at that time, immediately after the end of World War II, the Faculty was created from scratch and brought to its significant position, and the masses of almost nine thousand graduates with a master’s degree in engineering or engineer and over six hundred people with a doctorate , more than one hundred and twenty with the title of habilitated doctor and more than fifty with the title of professor obtained at the Faculty have served and continue to serve in the creation of new material and non-material values, we will appreciate the importance of these 75 years.
Although the decree of the National Council of May 24, 1945 mentions the creation of only the faculties: mechanical, electrical, engineering-construction and metallurgy, the first semester of classes at the Faculty of Chemistry began on June 1, 1945. Officially, the Department was established on the basis of the ordinance of the Minister of Education of December 24, 1945, with effect from October 1 of that year. Classes for the first semester started in Krakow in the spring of 1945, where former students, graduates and professors of pre-war polytechnic schools, mainly Lviv Polytechnic, gathered. On October 1, classes began in Gliwice. The departments of: Organic Chemistry, Organic Chemical Technology, Inorganic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemical Technology, Chemical Engineering, Coal Chemical Technology, Oil and Liquid Fuels Technology, Chemical Technology of the Agricultural Industry, Physical Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Mineralogy and Geology and Scientific Labor Organization. But these are not the names of the Departments or the walls of the first building of the Faculty at M. Strzody str. is the most important here, but the people who created the reality of that time in them. Fate ruled that from the first days of its existence, the backbone of the teaching and auxiliary staff of the Faculty, as well as of the entire Silesian University of Technology, were former employees and students of the Lviv Polytechnic. Today the student knows the names of the first professors: Wiktor Jakób, Edward Sucharda, Michał Śmiałkowski, Stanisław Bretsznajder, Wacław Leśniański, Adolf Josz, Tadeusz Hobler, Marian Kamiński, from the memorial plaques built into the hall of the main building of the Faculty, and from the authorship of numerous textbooks, which are also published today. The team of professors that formed the Faculty of Chemistry was one of the most outstanding in Poland. Next to them, the Faculty was made up of dedicated assistants, laboratory technicians and students.
In the first year, 400 students were admitted to study at the Faculty. There were mainly lectures according to the program of the Lviv Polytechnic. After heroic work and effort in obtaining instruments and reagents in the factories destroyed by the war in Wrocław, Kraków and in the sub-Sudetic areas, prof. Wiktor Jakób and his collaborators launched the first laboratory on January 29, 1946. Among the professor’s associates at that time, one should mention Eng. Czesława Troszkiewicz, Eng. Tadeusz Pukas, eng. Kazimiera Grabińska, Eng. Maria Kulawikowa, Tymoteusz Kajzer, Stanisław Szpak and Adam Balas.
This is how the roots of the Faculty were formed. In the following years, other Departments were established: Technical Electrochemistry and Electrometallurgy (1951), Ceramics (1953), Technology of Organic Protective Coatings (1959, Heavy Organic Synthesis (1964), Chemical Apparatus (1965). Some of the departments were transferred, mainly in 1951. , to other faculties of the University of Technology, which concerned the Departments of: Physics, Mineralogy and Geology, Agricultural Industry Technology, Scientific Organization of Work and Chemical Engineering, which, however, in 1966 returned to its home Faculty of Chemistry
As a result of the historical events of March in 1968, major organizational changes took place in the Faculty of Chemistry, as in the entire Silesian University of Technology. Chairs with a chemical profile from other faculties were joined to the Faculty, creating a new Department of Analytical and General Chemistry. The departments existing at the Faculty were combined into large organizational units called institutes in 1971. The former departments were transformed into departments in new Institutes. There were 6 Institutes: Organic Chemistry and Technology, Inorganic Chemistry and Technology, Analytical and General Chemistry, Physicochemistry and Polymer Technology, Chemical Technology of Coal and Petroleum, and Chemical Engineering and Apparatus Construction.
This organizational structure remained essentially until August 31, 2003. Only with the passage of time, staff changes and regulations, some of the smaller units adopted the name of departments. On September 1, 2003, a uniform organizational division was introduced. The Faculty currently has the following 5 Departments:
- Department of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry and Electrochemistry
- Department of Organic, Bioorganic Chemistry and Biotechnology
- Department of Chemical Engineering and Process Design
- Department of Physicochemistry and Technology of Polymers
- Department of Organic Chemical Technology and Petrochemistry
Students starting their studies in the 21st century see the Faculty of Chemistry, expanded, renovated, with five buildings, three large auditoriums, including two new, new computer lab laboratories, and a new representative hall of the Faculty Council. They see this Department among the greenery of well-kept lawns and new parking lots. Only huge chestnuts that have been growing for decades in the yards of the first buildings at M. Strzody str., known today as Gray and Red Chemistry, remember the first years of the formation of the Faculty of Chemistry’s roots from the color of their facades. Since human memory is unreliable, we record in these short words the beginnings of the Faculty of Chemistry of the Silesian University of Technology.