Sławomir Łotysz, born in Zielona Góra, Poland, in 1970. Ph.D. from the Polish Academy of Sciences. Associate Professor of the History of Technology at the University of Zielona Góra.
Mellon Fellow (1 September 2014 – 31 January 2015)
Reinterpreting Early Cold War Historiography: the Case of Penicillin
What was the broad context of establishing antibiotic production in Central and Eastern Europe in the early post-war period? What was the role of the international organizations, governments, corporations, and experts in this process?
In 1946 United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) launched penicillin plant program, which aimed at starting production of antibiotics in six European countries, including Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Belarus and Ukraine. The implementation of the program was hindered from the start due to the increasing international tensions on the brink of Cold War, and eventually the United States embargoed the exportation of technical equipment for those factories. This caused a major international crisis in the newly established World Health Organization, and resulted with the withdrawal of several communist countries from the organization. The production of penicillin in Central and Eastern European countries has been eventually launched, which stimulated the further development of independent research on antibiotics behind the Iron Curtain.
1) Wynalazczość polska w Stanach Zjednoczonych (Warszawa : Aspra JR, 2013), pp. 346.
2) „Historia ekstraktorów Władysława Podbielniaka,” Kwartalnik Historii Nauki i Techniki, Vol. 56.2(2011): 117-142.
3) “The International Community and the health of Rhine Boatmen after the World Wars” in: International Conference on International Health Organisations and the History of Health and Medicine, October 18-20, 2013,” (Shanghai : 2013): 410-420.