Origins of Theoretical Chemistry in Poland and the Role of Professor Kazimierz Gumiński




Kazimierz Gumiński, Chair of Theoretical Chemistry, Jagiellonian University, history of chemistry in Poland


This article discusses the advent of theoretical chemistry in Poland and the biography of its founding father, professor Kazimierz Gumiński. The presentation follows chronological order of the discoveries that gave rise to the onset of quantum chemistry, and the political history of that time, namely World War II and the Stalinist period. These general circumstances indirectly triggered the foundation of the Chair of Theoretical Chemistry at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków on September 1, 1952, which is viewed as the beginning of Polish theoretical chemistry.
Most information herein is based on Gumiński’s report concerning the first ten years of the institution’s activity; the report is appended as an annex. The original and demanding training Gumiński imposed on his disciples is described from the author’s personal experience.


Gumiński, Kazimierz 1962: Sprawozdanie z 10 lat pracy Katedry Chemii Teoretycznej i plany na okres następny. Kraków; P. Petelenz, Archiwum prywatne.

Gumiński, Kazimierz 1969: Chemia teoretyczna w Polsce w latach 1965–1967. Postępy Fizyki XX(2), ss. 157‒168. URL: (dostęp: 26.03.2022).

Gumiński, Kazimierz; Petelenz, Piotr 1989: Elementy chemii teoretycznej, wyd. III. Warszawa: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

Heitler, W.; London, F. 1927: Wechselwirkung neutraler Atome und homöopolare Bindung nach der Quantenmechanik. Zeitschrift für Physik 44, ss. 455‒472. DOI: 10.1007/BF01397394.

Karwowski, Jacek 2016: Chemia kwantowa na toruńskiej fizyce. URL: (dostęp: 26.03.2022).

Moszyński, Robert 2022: Pracownia Chemii Kwantowej. URL: (dostęp: 26.03.2022).

Pauling, Linus 1931: The nature of the chemical bond. Application of results obtained from the quantum mechanics and from a theory of paramagnetic susceptibility to the structure of molecules. Journal of the American Chemical Society 53, ss. 1367‒1400. DOI: 10.1021/ja01355a027.

Wylegała, A. 2021: Był dwór, nie ma dworu. Reforma rolna w Polsce. Wołowiec: Wydawnictwo Czarne.



How to Cite

Petelenz, P. . (2022). Origins of Theoretical Chemistry in Poland and the Role of Professor Kazimierz Gumiński. Studia Historiae Scientiarum, 21.