December 9, 2013

THE POLISH DIASPORA: PART 5 FAMOUS POLISH-BRITISH

             
JACK W. SZOSTAK
 
When he was at the tender age of 19, Jack William Szostak graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science in cell biology. While still an undergraduate he participated in the summer student program in the Jackson Laboratory, under the mentorship of Dr. Chen K. Chai, then went on to Cornell University, completing his PhD in biochemistry. Szostak started his own lab work at Harvard Medical School where he was granted full tenure and full professorship in 1988. He also is an Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston While Szostak's academic accomplishments are very impressive, this was only the beginning for greater accomplishments to come.

Szostak, of Polish British origin, set the scientific world on it's ear, so to speak, when he discovered telomeres, and how they are able to protect human chromosomes. He also constructed the world's first yeast artificial chromosome and by doing so gave scientists the means with which to map the location of genes in mammals, as well as develop techniques for the manipulation of these genes. This is the Human Genome Project that we have all heard about. According to this study, there are approximately 20,500 genes in human beings. These genes contain the clues as to how diseases develop and provide the key for cures. Scientists owe Szostak a debt of gratitude for his great scientific contributions and increasing our understanding of DNA.




Nobel Winner Szostak Pleased to Share Award (Associated Press) 00:02:49m



 
Szostak' s laboratory work focuses on studying and understanding the origin of life on Earth, in particular, the means with which artificial cellular life can be created in the lab.  Just a decade ago these developments would have been considered merely science fiction.  In the early 1990s, Szostak's lab continued the study of RNA enzymes, initially discovered  by Cech and Altman.   But Szostak took it much further - he developed the technique of in vitro evolution. This technique was also being developed independently by Gerald Joyce.  Szostak coined the terms aptamers, isolated enzymes with RNA ligase activity directly from random sequence.



Jack Szostak holds full professorship and tenure at Harvard Medical School,. He received numerous awards and honors for his great scientific contributions from the United States National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, the Hans Sigrist Prize (University of Bern, Switzerland), the Genetics Society of America Medal,  the 2006 Lasker Award, the 2008 Dr. A. H. Heineken Prize, and the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine ( shared with Elizabeth Blackburn and Carol W. Greider).







SIR ARTHUR JOHN GIELGUD, O.M., C.H.

Sir Arthur John Gielgud was born into greatness. His paternal great grandmother was Aniela Aszpergerowa, a famous Polish actress. She took part in the Polish Uprising against the Russian Imperial regime in 1863. She was arrested and was imprisoned for a year. When she died in 1902 her funeral was a manifestation of hero worship for one of Poland's greatest patriots. On his mother's side, Gielgud was the grandson of famous British actress Kate Terry, who was celebrated and honoured by audiences (and critics) everywhere she performed - and it is said she portrayed at least 100 roles in the span of her career. His father, Franciszek Giełgud, was a descendant of Polish nobility (Catholic), from a town called Gielgudyszki (which has been renamed Gelgaudiskis, now situated in Lithuania). Incidentally, Gielgud's older brother Val was a pioneer at BBC Radio, and his other brother Lewis was a widely respected scholar, writer, and dedicated humanitarian. Gielgud's niece Maina is a dancer and had been the artistic director of the Australian Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet.

It is no wonder that Gielgud ventured into the performing arts - it was in his blood. And he was blessed with a most magnificent, expressive voice for which his colleague, none other than Sir Alec Guiness, likened to " a silver trumpet muffled in silk". Gielgud achieved fame early on in life when in 1937 he portrayed Hamlet on Broadway.


Young John Gielgud as Hamlet-Famous Polish British - Polish Greatness.comGielgud's Shakespearean legacy is very impressive. It is astounding to learn that Gielgud has performed the role of Hamlet no less than 500 times in six productions!

His other roles were in The Tempest (which critics called "definitive performances"), Richard II, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, Othello, and the credits go on and on. But Gielgud's crowning achievement was his monologue of Shakespearean excerpts. He won a Tony Award for this Broadway production as well as a Grammy Award for the recording, an Emmy for the 1966 television broadcast (CBS).



Among his many triumphs were the productions of Richard of Bordeau (1933), The Importance of Being Earnest (1930), Arms and the Man, The Good Companions, and Romeo and Juliet (1935) the latter in which Gielgud directed and alternated the roles of Romeo and Mercutio with then-youthful Laurence Olivier.

In 1977 Gielgud gave his farewell performance in the title role of Julius Caesar at the Royal National Theatre. However, Gielgud continued to perform, albeit in productions that were relatively contemporary, such as Tiny Alice, Forty Years On, Veterans, and No Man's Land, among others.



Three Hamlet Soliloquies (Gielgud, 1948) (00:08:03m)


Gielgud embarked on a directorial career that was as impressive and successful. He staged his very first production, as guest director, of Romeo and Juliet (1932) at the Oxford University Dramatic Society. His talent as director soon skyrocketed him to fame as one of the best directors in London's West End Theatre, and soon after, in Broadway. His productions included, The Glass Menagerie (1948), The Heiress (1949), Peter Ustinov's comedy Half Way Up a Tree (1967), Private Lives (1972).

Gielgud won a Tony Award for his direction of Big Fish, Little Fish (1961),as well as the operas, The Trojans, 1957, and Midsummer Night's Dream (1960). He directed a who's who list of famous actors - Richard Burton (Hamlet -1964), Anthony Quayle (Much Ado About Nothing -1950), Paul Scofield (Richard II -1952)


Gielgud's foray into films and television was immensely successful though initially he had a strong aversion to filming any of his performances. However by the 1980s and 1990s he appeared so frequently in films that he jokingly admitted that he was willing to do just about anything for his art!


Among his films, he played the role of Nerva in Caligula -  a production which was funded by  Penthouse. Gielgud also played the role of the sardonic butler in the comedy Arthur (1981) which starred Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli; Murder on the Orient Express (1974); The Elephant Man (1981); Shine (1996);

Not surprisingly, Gielgud won over television audiences with his great talent in the series, Brideshead Revisited (1991), A Day by the Sea (a televised stage performance), Home (1970); No Man's Land (1976) and for Summer's Lease (1989) for which he won an Emmy Award.

Sir John Gielgud's final performance was in the motion picture Elizabeth (1998), where he portrayed Pope Pius V.   He did perform in one last production, albeit in silence, of Samuel Beckett's play Catastrophe.  But just weeks after production was completed, Gielgud passed away at the age of 96. 


"....the theatre was always much more important to
 John G. than any private relationship...."  

 Keith Baxter (biographer)




AWARDS AND HONOURS

Knighted 1953
Companion of Honour 1977
Order of Merit  1996
.


ACADEMY AWARD AND NOMINATION

Nomination 1964
Best Supporting Actor        
Becket

Winner 1981
Best Supporting Actor
Arthur



EMMY AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

Winner 1966
Outstanding Dramatic Program
Ages of Man

Nomination 1982
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Special
Brideshead Revisited

Nomination 1984
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Special
The Master of Ballantrae

Nomination  1985
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Special
Romance on the Orient Express

Nomination  1989
Outstanding Lead Actor in a miniseries or Special
War and Remembrance

Winner 1991 
Outstanding Lead Actor in a miniseries or movie
Summer's Lease


TONY AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

Winner 1948
Outstanding Foreign Company
The Importance of Being Earnest

Winner 1959
Special Award
Ages of Man (one man show)

Winner 1961
Best Director
Big Fish, Little Fish

Nomination 1963
Best Director
The School for Scandal

Nomination 1965
Best Actor (Dramatic)
Tiny Alice


Nomination 1971
Best Actor (Dramatic)
Home



GRAMMY AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

Nomination 1959
Best Documentary or Spoken Word Recording
Ages of Man

Nomination 1964
Best Documentary or Spoken Word Recording
Hamlet  (with Richard Burton, Hume Cronyn, Alfred Drake, George Voskovec, Eileen Herlie, William Redfield and George Rose.)

Nomination 1964
Best Documentary or Spoken Word Recording
Ages of Man, Volume 2 (One Man in HIs Time) Part Two - Shakespeare

Winner 1979
Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording
Ages of Man - Recordings from Shakespeare

Nominated 1982
Best Spoken Word, Documentary or Drama Recording
No Man's Land

Nominated 1983
Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

Nominated 1986
Best Spoken Word for Non-Musical Recording
Gulliver

Nominated 1988
Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording
A Christmas Carol

Nominated 1989
Best Spoken Word or Non-Musical Recording
Sir John Gielgud Reads Alice in Wonderland

Nominated 1991
Best Album for Children
The Emperor's New Clothes



GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS AND NOMINATION

Winner 1981
Best Supporting Actor                    
Arthur

Winner 1988
Best Supporting Actor in a series, mini-series or Motion Picture made for television
War and Remembrance

Nomination 1989
Best Actor in a mini-series or Motion Picture made for television
War and Remembrance

Among the plethora of other awards, the greatest one was the Sir John Gielgud Award
for " Excellence in the Dramatic Arts".   It was presented by past winners of the US-based Shakespeare Guild.  

The National Portrait Gallery in London hold 112 portraits of the late Sir John Gielgud.  The first was commissioned in 1980 by the Gallery and painted by artist David Remfry.  No other actor can attest to this greatest honor.


The Globe Theatre in London was renamed the Gielgud Theatre 1994






DANIEL ROBERT KAWCZYNSKI


At 6 feet 8 1/2 inches, Kawczynski is indubitably the tallest MP ever to sit in the British Parliament.  To say that he stands head and shoulders above the rest is obviously an understatement.   A member of the British Conservative Party, his outspoken demeanor has brought him a great of attention.  He made a brief appearance in 2006 on the hugely popular American comedy show, The Colbert Report  (Better Know a District, Episode #02156 entitled "New Members of Congress at the Kennedy School": Aired on: 12/12/2006). He also participated in The Doha Debates debating the release of the Lockerbie bomber. Kawczynski was in favor of the motion that "This house deplores the release" of Abdelbase al-Megrahi."  (The Doha Debate is on ongoing international forum of free speech sponsored by the Qatar Foundation and distributed by BBC World News.)





BBCDohaDebates - October 12, 2009 - Series 6 Episode 1 (Part 1) (00:05:45m)

However,  the publication of Kawczynski's book, Seeking Gaddafi (2010) was met with mixed reaction.  Praised by some as a invaluable informative resource about Gaddafi and Libya,  the book was viciously reviewed by a political blogger, Paul Staines who accused Kawczynski of allegedly having resorted to plagiarism by using essay submissions submitted by several interns.  The issue remains unsubstantiated.

Daniel Kawczynski was born in Warsaw and immigrated to the UK in the 1970s, He was educated at St. George's College and the University of Stirling (Scotland).  Upon graduation he held a top managerial position in the telecommunications industry for ten years.  

Kawczynski is a Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury and Atcham in Shropshire, England as well as a member of the socially conservative Cornerstone Group and vice chairman of Conservative Friends of Poland.  While his allegiance is clearly on the side of England, his heart belongs to Poland. 



PMQs: Gordon Brown insults another country (24Jun09) (00:00:47sec)

In his first general election in 2001 he finished a distant second with only 18% of the vote. But four years later he won the seat for Shrewsbury and Atcham with an impressive 37.7% of the vote, well ahead of Labor at 34.1%, and the Liberal Democrats at 22.8% of the vote.  He won re-election in 2010 with 43.9% of the vote, while the Liberal Democrats finished second with only 29.0%

Despite his political popularity, he has come under fire by the Birmingham Post in 2009, for his failure to regularly attend meetings of the International Development Select Committee and the Justice Select Committee, both for which he held appointed memberships.. Apparently someone has been keeping attendance records.  Ultimately, the committee choose not to re-elect Kawczynski for membership.  No doubt Kawczynski was too busy serving his constituents.

Kawczynski has also been closely scrutinized by unnamed sources for his so-called Extra-Parliamentary business affairs. Prying eyes wanted to know the viability of his consultancy practice and how much money he earned from it, though he has refused to divulge any personal information.

Not immune to tongue- in- cheek politics, Kawczynski signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) that supported the "positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals."  (Editors note:  For those who don't know, Early Day Motion, is a legal parliamentary motion which draws attention to and encourages debate in any issue, whether serious or trivial. Incidentally, in 2003-2004 Tony Bank tabled an EDM exposing the people of MI5 for using pigeons as flying bombs during WW2 and called the practice
"obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilized and lethal" and went so far as to propose that the House "looks forward to the day when the inevitable day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the Earth and wipes them out thus giving nature the opportunity to start again"  Only 2 MPs signed it.  But I digress.

Another controversy which has received international press was about an encounter between Kawczynski, and a one-legged drug-addicted beggar loitering outside Parliament. According to The Daily Mail (UK)  Kawczynski advised the man to stop begging and to "get a job".  Furthermore, he informed the man that government plans were available to help him improve his lot in life and that "There are better and more productive ways for helping people spend their time." 


In September 2012, Kawcyznski was appointed to the position of Parliamentary Private Secretary to David Jones, MP, and Secretary of State for Wales.








HELEN CZERSKI


Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer whose studies focuses on ocean bubbles, bubble acoustics, air-sea gas transfer and ocean bubble optics.  Her research is based at the Institute for Sound and Vibration Research at the University of Southampton.

Czerski was raised in Altrincham, Great Manchester.  She graduated with Master of Arts and Master of Science in Natural Sciences, and PhD in experimental explosives physics, in particular the Research Department Explosive RDX (Churchill College, Cambridge.)

She was co-presenter (with Kate Humble) on the BBC Two, in a three part series, Orbit: Earth's Extraordinary Journey.(March 2012)  As well she also appeared on Operation Iceberg (BBC Two) and Museum of Curiosity, (BBC Radio 4),  The Transit of Venus (Horizon), Stargazing Challenges (BBC Two),  Scrapheap Challenge, Dara O Brian's Science Club and the Secret Life of the Sun. ( Rhode Island Television-USA).  In April 2012 Czerski hosted her own program for BBC Four, called POP! The Science of Bubbles.





Bubble Physicist Helen Czerski (00:05:36m)






ANDREW NAGORSKI


Everybody has heard of Newsweek Magazine, but few people in the world have heard of the name Andrew Nagorski.  Nagorski is Vice President and Director of Public Policy at the East-West Institute, and prior to that held the position of Senior Editor at Newsweek Magazine.  He is also a top award-winning journalist!

Nagorski was born in Scotland to Polish parents, but they emigrated to the US shortly thereafter.  While attending school his father worked in the US Foreign Service.
Nagorski earned a BA magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College (1969).  He also studied at the University of Cracow and taught social studies at Wayland High School (Massachusetts) before joining Newsweek.


He joined the ranks of Newsweek International in 1973 as associate editor, and in a few short years became assistant managing editor, then Asian regional editor in Hong Kong, and finally Hong Kong Bureau Chief.

In 1988 he took a year leave of absence to take the position of Senior Associate at the prestigious Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think tank based in Washington, DC.

He was the Warsaw Bureau Chief from 1990-1994 and gained international publicity when the Soviet government suddenly expelled him from Russia because of his "enterprising reporting".  He spent the next two years as Rome Bureau Chief, then was assigned as Bonn Bureau Chief.




Fox News: Andrew Nagorski on U.S. - Russia Relations (00:04:12m)

During the period of 1996 to 1999, Nagorski submitted detailed reports on Germany's efforts to overcome the legacy of WW2, in particular German-Jewish relations. He also reported on issues in Central Europe.


After having served as foreign correspondent and bureau chief in Hong Kong, Moscow, Rome, Bonne, Warsaw and Berlin, Nagorski became Senior Editor for Newsweek in New York.(2000-2008)

As a result of Nagorski's vision, and multilingual skills, he successfully co-ordinated Newsweek International and its affiliates in foreign language editions.  The most recent addition has been Newsweek Russia (launched in 2004) and Newsweek Polska.

Nagorski has been honored by the Overseas Press club for his excellence in reporting, not just once, but on three occasions.   

He has authored numerous non-fiction publications such as:

Reluctant Farewell: An American Reporter's Candid Look Inside the Soviet Union
(New Republic/Henry Hold, 1985);

The Birth of Freedom: Shaping Lives and Societies in New Eastern Europe
(Simon & Schuster, 1993)

The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That changed the Course of World War II
(Simon & Schuster, 2007)
It was named as "one of the best books of 2007" by the Washington Post, and was selected as Finalist for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize.

Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power
(Simon & Schuster, 2012)

But the book which ended up on the Best Seller List (Washington Post) was his first
fictional novel, entitled Last Stop Vienna (Simon & Schuster, 2003).  It's about a young
German who joins the Nazi movement and is suddenly confronted with Hitler  Publisher's Weekly called it a "fast-moving, riveting debut novel".




Andrew Nagorski, Author, "Hitlerland" (00:587:45m)





SIR LESZEK BORYSIEWICZ, FRS, FMedSci


Sir Borysiewicz is a Polish-British immunologist and was Vice-Chancellor (the 345th) of the University of Cambridge.  His term of office had started in October 2010 for a maximum term of seven years.  He was  formerly Chief Executive of the UK's Medical Research Council.

Borysiewicz studied medicine at the Welsh National School of  Medicine, and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School. He earned his PhD in 1986 for his thesis entitled, Cell mediated immunity to human cytomegalovirus infection (cytotoxic T cell and natural killer cell mediated lysis of human cytomegalovirus infected cells). 

His career pursuits led him to academic medicine at the University of Cambridge (where he was a Fellow of Wolfson College), a consultancy at Hammersmith Hospital, the Department of Medicine at the University of Wales and then on to the Imperial College London, where he was promoted to Deputy Rector.




Cambridge's new Vice-Chancellor (00:01:12m)

Borysiewicz's focused his research on viral immunology, infectious disease, and viral-induced cancer.  He has written numerous books on these subjects including Vaccinations.  As a result of his work, he was made a Knight Bachelor in 2001 for his invaluable contributions to vaccine research.  The following year he was presented with the Moxon Trust Medal from the Royal College of Physicians.

He is a council member of Cancer Research UK, founding fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Governor of the Wellcome Trust, co-chair of the MRS's advisory group on stem cell research, Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of medicine at the University of Sheffield (2010)

Leszek Borysiewicz was born in Wales to Polish parents, Jan and Zofia Helena (nee Woloszyn)  His parents were World War II refugees, the very few who were lucky enough to survive the treacherous evacuation from Russia with Ander's Army, and finally immigrated to the UK. 




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