Marie Curie, Nicolaus Copernicus, and the Enigma code: What discoveries have there been thanks to Polish people?

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We’re on a treasure hunt! That’s a POSZUKIWANIE SKARBÓW in Polish.

We’re using Baron Grindwal’s map to learn more about POLSKA – or Poland as we call it in the UK.

Baron Grindwal was a riddler – and so to explore POLSKA, we’re going to have to solve some of his riddles.

In this episode we are going to find out about some of the famous Polish people who made important discoveries – the Polish word for discovery is ODKRYCIA.

So let’s get things underway with the Baron’s first riddle.  Riddle 1: “North of Warsaw, ideas unfurl – a different way to see our world”

Well, a very famous polish person who certainly made some incredible discoveries was Marie Curie – or MARIA SKLODOWSKA CURIE to give her full name.

She was both a FIZYK – a physicist and a CHEMIK – a chemist. She discovered radioactive particles that enable us to use X-Rays to create images of the inside the human body, helping diagnose illnesses and injuries. An X-Ray is certainly a different way to see things!

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But Marie Curie came from and worked in Warsaw. You can even visit the house where she was born. Our clue says we need to go north…

So time for another riddle.  Riddle 2: “Unlock the secrets, find the key, the treasure sought is clear to see”

Unlocking can mean solving puzzles or codes. The Polish word for code is SZYFR. One of the hardest codes in history to crack was the Enigma code – used by the Germans in World War Two.

Thanks to the work done by three Polish code breakers, the English scientist Alan Turing was able to crack the code. You can find out more about them at Bletchley Park near London.

But World War Two came a LONG way after the Baron had drawn up his map and made his riddles, so I’m guessing this isn’t the discovery we are looking for.

Click here to learn more Polish!

Click here to learn more Polish!

One more riddle.  Riddle 3: “A tasty treat to catch your eye – a scientist who searched the sky”

Toruń is also famous for an astronomer called MIKOŁAJ KOPERNIK.

You might have heard of his English name – Nicolaus Copernicus. He was a Polish ASTRONOM – or astronomer.

He lived in the 16th Century and made startling new discoveries about the solar system. Before Copernicus, people believed that the sun revolved around the Earth. He showed that the opposite was true – that the sun was in the centre of what we know as the solar system – with the Earth just one of several orbiting planets.

So, it fits the first riddle – a scientific discovery which changed the way we see the world and its place in the cosmos.

And by working out how the planets move around the sun, astronomers could go further than ever to unlock the secrets of the universe around us!

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Related Polish words and phrases:

UCZONY – a scientist
ASTRONOM – astronomer
FIZYK – physicist
CHEMIK – chemist
WYNALAZKI – inventions
ODKRYCIA – discoveries
PIERNIK – gingerbread biscuit
SZYFR – code
POLON – polonium
RAD – radium

Other Polish inventions are:
LAMPA NAFTOWA – kerosene lamp
KAMIZELKA PANCERNA – bulletproof vest

More to click…

Click to find out more about Marie Curie

Click to find out more about Copernicus

Click to find out more about Gingerbread being made in Torun, in the traditional way!

Click to find out more about Bletchley Park, where Polish code-breakers helped crack the Enigma code during the Second World War

Click to find out more about Copernicus and his revolutionary theory

Click to find out more about the extraordinary tale of Marie Curie

Click to find out more about what Kopernik’s theory was all about!

Explore more of Poland with Baron Grindwal!

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Learn Polish with support from the Polish Cultural Institute London.


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