Andrzej Alexiewicz 1917-1995

Andrzej Alexiewicz was born on 11th February 1917 in Lwów. His parents were well-known doctors, therefore they could provide for their son a carefree childhood and very good conditions for his versatile, especially intellectual development. 


Professor Alexiewicz grew up in Lwów. Between WW I and WW II Lwów was a city with specific atmosphere, which was created by famous scientists. It belonged to the most important Polish centres of cultural and scientific life. There were two universities in Lwów: Jan Kazimierz University, the third oldest university in Poland and the well-known Lwów University of Technology. In 1935 after graduating from the 6th Classical Grammar School in Lwów Andrzej Alexiewicz began studies at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science at Jan Kazimierz University. At first, over one year, he dealt with physics, and after that he began in-depth studies on mathematics. In that time Jan Kazimierz University was an international centre of functional analysis, which was developed by the best Polish mathematicians who were famous in the whole world. The list of Andrzej Alexiewicz's teachers is long. There were such celebrities as: Auerbach, Banach, Kaczmarz, Mazur, Orlicz, Schauder, Steinhaus, Żyliński.
The tragic period of the Second World War and of Soviet and German occupation did not disturb the scientific development of professor Alexiewicz. At the beginning of the war he finished writing his master thesis as a graduate of the State University in Lwów (it was the name of Jan Kazimierz University under Soviet occupation). He wrote it under the supervision of Eustachy Żyliński. 


In 1941 Andrzej Alexiewicz took his first scientific position and became assistant at the State University in Lwów. After several months he had to give up his duties because Lwów was taken over by the Nazis and no official scientific and didactic work was possible. At the beginning of July 1941 the Nazis not only closed the universities in Lwów but also murdered many Polish professors and outstanding artists.
Andrzej Alexiewicz, like other Polish scientists, began to work in the well-known Rudolf Weigel Institute, which produced e.g. vaccines against typhus. The employment in the Institute protected from the deportation to Germany or a coincidental arrest. Apart from this official occupation, Andrzej Alexiewicz secretly lectured students and taught pupils at secondary level and successfully continued his research work. His talent, diligence and friendly help of the professors who had happily escaped of the tragic death, permitted him to prepare his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Władysław Orlicz. In the difficult circumstances of the war it was a great success for both Andrzej Alexiewicz and professor Władysław Orlicz. His dissertation entitled "On series of operators" was presented in August 1944 to the examining board which consisted of three professors: Zierkhoffer, Orlicz and Nikliborc.
The events at the turn of 1944 and 1945 convinced professor Alexiewicz that Lwów would not be within Poland's borders therefore he decided to move to Poznań together with his wife and children. Professor Władysław Orlicz also returned to Poznań and he took the position of professor at Poznań University, which he obtained in 1937. Both scientists arrived in Poznań on 5th May 1945 and they immediately faced great administrative and didactic efforts. The devastated infrastructure of the University and a sparse number of workers were a big problem because it was necessary for them to give lectures and classes not only at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science but also for other students.

In July 1945 the Council of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science conferred on Andrzej Alexiewicz the doctor's degree for the dissertation he had written in Lwów. In spite of great duties connected with didactics and organization of the university life Andrzej Alexiewicz was very engaged in research work. In 1948 he presented his qualification work "On Den-joy integral of abstract function" and, in the same year, he obtained the position of reader. Six years after his qualification as assistant professor, Andrzej Alexiewicz obtained the title of extraordinary professor and in 1962 he became ordinary professor.

Together with professor Władysław Orlicz he ordered, completed and edited the remaining works of Stefan Banach. These papers were published in 1951 as "Introduction to the theory of variable real function" in series "Mathematical Monographs", vol. 17. 

Professor Andrzej Alexiewicz actively participated in the management of Adam Mickiewicz University. In 1951-1956 he was vice dean and later dean of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. Over one term of office, from 1956 to 1959, he fulfilled the function of prorector of Adam Mickiewicz University. Since 1961 he was in charge of the Department of Mathematics II at the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.
He also devoted his work to organizing and directing extramural studies and consulting points. In 1969 he accepted the position of head of the Institute of Mathematics, which he held till his retirement in 1987.

Andrzej Alexiewicz never neglected his research work. For several years he worked in the Institute of Mathematics of the Polish Academy of Sciences and at the turn of 1959 and 1960 he spent six months in United States as a grant holder of Rockefeller Foundation.

Scientific interests

The contact with Lwów Mathematical School and the cooperation with professor Władysław Orlicz had an essential influence on the research of professor Alexiewicz. In 1945-1959 they wrote twelve papers together. 
Professor Alexiewicz had his greatest achievements in functional analysis, especially in non-Banach problems referring to the two-normative spaces and so-called ?-convergence, in problems of differentiating and integrating vectorially valuable function and analyticity of vectorial functions.
Professor Alexiewicz published over 50 articles in different periodicals. He also composed an extensive book "Functional analysis" which was published in 1969 in series "Mathematical Monographs", vol. 49.  The book presented bases of the theory of Banach spaces, rich material on non-locally convex and non-measurable linearly topological spaces and numerous examples of application of functional analysis. Professor Alexiewicz is also the author of the script "Differential geometry". Its two editions of 1966 and 1970 were a precious help for students of mathematics.


Andrzej Alexiewicz called great attention to educating young scientific personnel. 18 dissertations and a huge number of master theses on different topics were written under his supervision. Some of his postgraduate students qualified as readers and several of them obtained the professor's degree. 


Over a long period of time professor Alexiewicz supported the activity of Polish Mathematical Society. In years 1981-1983 he was chairman of its Poznań Department.
As all native Lwowians, he still had deep feelings for his hometown in his heart. When it was possible he established together with other people the Society of Friends of Lwów and Poland's South-Eastern Provinces and he was its chairman many years.

He was involved in publishing work. For many year he was the editor of the periodical "Functiones et Approximatio" which is edited by the Institute of Mathematics at Adam Mickiewicz University.

Professor Andrzej Alexiewicz died on 11th July 1995. His lively personality differed a lot from the stereotype of a scientist. Art played an important role in his life. His second passion was painting that he practiced for many years. He also cultivated knowledge of classical music.

Attention: The above text is a summary of the biographic article "Andrzej Alexiewicz (1917 - 1995)" written by Julian Musielak and Witold Wnuk and published in the book "Serta Methematice Andreae Alexiewicz" (1996, p. 9-13).
Edited and translated by Lucyna Brzozowska.

Painting and Music in Life of Andrzej Alexiewicz

Art played a special role in life of Andrzej Alexiewicz. His greatest passions were mathematics, painting and music. He painted whenever he could. He would take his easel when going for walks outside Poznań, on holidays at the seaside or in the mountains, where he worked in unique places he found. He often made sketches to fix colours and landscapes so that he was able to remember them later in his university office which he had partially converted into a studio.
n his house, pictures on walls often changed but the most important place was always occupied by a beautifully framed large oil-landscape from Czarnohora, painted in 1935. The painting presented the waterfall "Huk" in Kosmacz, one of the favourite places of professor Alexiewicz Professor was especially fascinated with continually changing colours of the sea and the sky, conversations with curious tourists at set up easel on beaches in Mielno, Dziwnów or Kołobrzeg, family walks at sunrises and sunsets at the Baltic sea. He painted numerous views of the sky and sea-waves, often presented in abstract forms.

He also fixed his vision of the world in many mountainous landscapes from the Eastern Carpathians, the Tatras and the Pieniny and California, and also in numerous pictures painted directly out of windows of his studio. In those last landscapes he showed unknown Poznań, its plants, changeable lights and colours of year seasons in the city.

In the late 50s he was fascinated with abstractionism. Under its influence he created some cycles of fabulously coloured paintings in distemper that he had used since the beginning of the 60s, when he began to paint on canvas to create numerous abstract compositions. He also painted many flower compositions and several portraits. During his whole life he painted landscapes, also on lakes. With time he changed their form, they became more mature and more synthetic. They seemed to be only a pretext for showing specific play of colours and light or even characteristic, similar to musical compositions, variations on one colour that dominates on canvas. Some paintings attract attention with their extraordinary dynamics, the other can enchant with their peace.
Professor Alexiewicz left plenty of canvases, sketches, watercolours, pastels and drawings. He painted over 500 pictures. Some of them hang in his office in Collegium Mathematicum in Matejko Street where they could be admired by students, workers and guests. He stored many paintings in his attic. He did not sell his pictures, but he liked to present his friends with them.
Unfortunately, he did not live to any serious exhibitions of his works. Professor Andrzej Alexiewicz had a discerning musical taste. He appreciated classical symphonic music, especially compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, who he held for the greatest composer. He often went to concerts with the whole family to the University hall. Professor especially enjoyed the famous film "Amadeus" by Milo± Forman. He saw it many times, encouraged all his friends to see it and later asked about the number of visits in the cinema. After his seminars and lectures he often invited students to listen to music together in his office. He also listened to music while painting.

Sometimes after an especially successful symphonic concert he would go to his studio, where he, touched by music, started to paint.
He was always interested in opinions of guests about his paintings. He was very glad when his studio was visited by painters and he could hold discussions with them.

Attention:  The above text is a summary of an article "Painting and music in life of my father" written by the son of professor Alexiewicz, Władysław, and published in the book "Serta Methematice Andreae Alexiewicz" (1996, p. 15-17). 
Edited and translated by Lucyna Brzozowska.