Jerzy Vetulani

Vetulani at the [[TED (conference)#TEDx|TEDx]] Kraków conference, 2011 Jerzy Adam Gracjan Vetulani (21 January 1936 – 6 April 2017) was a Polish neuroscientist, pharmacologist and biochemist, professor of natural sciences, member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish Academy of Learning, one of the most frequently cited Polish scientists in the field of biomedicine after 1965.

Associated with the Institute of Pharmacology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Kraków, at which he was a Professor, Head of the Department of Biochemistry (1976–2006), Deputy Director for Science Affairs (1994–2002) and Vice Chairman of the Scientific Council (2003–2017), he published more than 240 original research papers. He first gained recognition for an early hypothesis of the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs, suggesting in 1975 together with Fridolin Sulser that downregulation of beta-adrenergic receptors is responsible for their effects. At the time, Vetulani was a Research Associate Professor at the Vanderbilt University (1973–1975). In 1983, he received Anna-Monika Prize for research on the mechanisms of the electroconvulsive therapy. Beside depression, his scientific interests included memory, addiction and neurodegeneration.

Active also in the field of popular science, he became a recognizable science communicator in Poland. He was the editor-in-chief of the popular science magazine ''Wszechświat'' (1981–2002), and was known for his popular lectures that gathered large audiences on various occasions. Since 2010 he ran a blog and social media channels, and authored several popular science books, some of which became bestsellers.

In the Polish People's Republic, he was an activist of the democratic opposition and became a member of the Solidarity trade union in 1980. Being an atheist, he kept for several decades a close and friendly relationship with Pope John Paul II. Throughout his life, he also participated in several artistic initiatives: in his twenties he was an announcer at Piwnica pod Baranami cabaret (1954–1961), and in his seventies he became a performer in the anthropological live magazine ''Gadający Pies'' (''The Talking Dog'', 2010–2015). He unsuccessfully ran for the presidency of Kraków in 2002.

He publicly argued for the legalization of marijuana and wide depenalization of drugs for adult users, often criticizing repressive drug policy in Poland.

An honorary fellow of Indian Academy of Neurosciences and Oxford Neurological Society, honorary doctor of the Medical University of Silesia and the Medical University of Łódź, he received several other awards and state distinctions, including the Knight's Cross of Polonia Restituta. Provided by Wikipedia
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