A remarkable figure in the history and science of two peoples: to the 101th anniversary of Yulian Medvetskyi death

10 Jan 2019, 09:36
Yaroslav Stekh, Meest-Online website

Yulian Medvetskyi is an outstanding figure in the history and science of two peoples – Ukrainian and Polish. He was born on 18 October 1845 in Przemysl in the family of the magistrate advisor and Ukrainian public activist Hryhorii Medvetskyi. Yulian spent his childhood in Przemysl. After graduating from Przemysl Gymnasium in 1864, he entered the University of Vienna. At first he studied at the Faculty of Theology, and later at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, which he finished in 1873.

In 1870–1873, Medvetskyi started working in the Austrian State Geological Survey in Vienna, taking part in many geological expeditions. In 1873 he was invited to become a Professor at the Department of Mineralogy and Geology at the Technical Academy (now Lviv Polytechnic National University), where he worked until the end of his life. There he started teaching Mineralogy, which was the main subject at the Department of Chemical Engineering, and created the Geological and Mineralogical Museum.

Later, he taught a course in Petrography and Geology at the Chemical, Engineering, Construction, Agricultural and Forestry Departments. Since 1882 Yulian Medvetskyi worked as a Private Assistant Professor at the University of Lviv, and was subsequently was appointed a Professor of Mineralogy. The museum he created became one of the best in Europe.

In 1879–1888 three times Yulian Medvetskyi was elected as a Rector of Lviv Polytechnic and four times as a Dean of the Department of Chemical Technology. Yulian Medvetskyi was a long-term member of the Prosvita Society and, as O. Ohonovskyi wrote, he was «its soul until the last days of his life.» He contributed to the development of the Osnova Society, which carried out socio-political and cultural activities, supported Ukrainian students (provided scholarships, interest-free loans, charity concerts, etc.), supporting poor students.

Yulian Medvetskyi was a scientific personality, a titan of science. He treated students without prejudice, regardless of what origin they were. Professor Medvetskyi tried to prevent brotherly bloodshed. But as a result of clashes and unrest on July 1, 1910 Poles killed Ukrainian student Adam Kotsko.

In 1912, together with physicist Maria Sklodowska-Curie and three other scholars Medvetskyi was awarded the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa. Yulian Medvetskyi died on January 7, 1918 at Christmas. Although during the war his grave was destroyed, his burial place was found at last. In 1993, the Student Brotherhood of Lviv Polytechnic made the grave and installed a metal cross with a tablet.