In conversation with Janusz Laskowski

first met Prof. Janusz Laskowski at the 1988 IMPC in Stockholm, and have caught up with him at every IMPC, apart from Moscow, since then, as well as occasional SMEs, and at MEI’s flotation conferences; he was a keynote speaker at Flotation ’15 in Cape Town.

Janusz is Professor Emeritus of mineral processing at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and obtained all his degrees, including Ph.D., from the Silesian University of Technology in Poland.

In 1984 he founded “Coal Preparation” international journal and was its editor-in-chief until 2004.
An acknowledged expert on the surface chemistry of flotation, Prof. Laskowski was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Mineral Processing Council at the 24th International Mineral Processing Congress in Beijing (2008), and is a recipient of the SME’s Antoine Gaudin

Janusz Stanislaw Laskowski was born in 1936 in Pszow, Upper Silesia. His father was a graduate of the Technical University of Mining and Metallurgy in Krakow, and was a deputy director of the Rymer Coal Mine. On the first day of World War II in 1939 he ended up, as did most Polish engineers, doctors and lawyers in Upper Silesia, in a German Concentration Camp. He survived the war, and was the first General Director of the newly organized Central Research Mining Institute in Katowice (later he became president of the Silesian University of Technology).

The young Janusz spent the next five years with his mother’s family in a small village, Posadza, near Krakow. He was nine years old when in a beautiful sunny winter of 1945 Marshal Koniev’s Southwest Front of the Red Army started surging towards Krakow. He said that “a dull rumble slowly dominated everywhere. The family quickly moved into the fortified cellar. One day the war stopped for three intense days in my village and a young German sergeant dug out a position for his heavy machine gun behind my uncle’s barn. “My war” ended when Russian T-34 tanks appeared and the German sergeant, who was shooting to the last cartridge, forced his way to our cellar where all the family was hiding. He was immediately followed by Red Army soldiers who shot him on the spot. Over the next few days the snow-white fields were tainted by the dead bodies of German and Russian soldiers”.

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