Jan Stefan Bojanowski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1921 and died on August 29th 2011. He graduated from the Agricultural University SGGW in Warsaw in 1949, getting the M.A. degree in Agronomy, with specialization in Genetics and Plant Breeding. He got the Ph.D. at the Agricultural Academy in Poznan in 1963. The degree of Habilitated Doctor was given to him by the Agricultural University SGGW in Warsaw in 1969. The title of Professor of Agronomy was awarded to him by the Supreme State Council of The Republic of Poland in 1989.
He started the work in plant breeding in a private company SWHN, S.A., in 1943, and continued it till 1953 as its chief breeder. In this period he was working with several crops: cereals, fodder beets, fodder carrots, forage grasses, alfalfa and others.
In 1953 he joined the Department of Plant Genetics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, lead by Professor Edmund Malinowski. From this time on he concentrated on the problem of heterosis and hybrid maize breeding. In 1959 he moved to the Dept. of Genetics of the Agricultural University – SGGW in Warsaw. This change was not fundamental, because he continued his research on maize, combining it with teaching genetics. On this post he remained till 1969. The years 1953 – 1969 were very important, because it was the period of a dynamic development of hybrid maize breeding in Poland. The work was started from scratch in 1953 and rapidly expanded due to a very small group of people. At the end of the decade first domestic hybrids were registered and the production of their commercial seed was initiated. During this period Bojanowski passed a one year training at the Iowa State College in Ames, Iowa, under the leadership of professors G. F. Sprague and W. A. Russell. In this period he visited numerous places of research on maize: in the U.S.: Universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, Columbia, Purdue, breeding stations of the companies Pioneer and DeKalb, then in Europe Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, INRA in Versailles, Instituto de Cerealicoltura in Bergamo, breeding station in Gleisdorf, Austria.
In 1969 he was appointed the deputy-director of the Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR) in Radzików, which played an important role in the domestic maize breeding program. In 1970 an inter-institutional working group was formed, responsible for the coordination of research on breeding, agronomy, utilization and promotion of maize culture in Poland, and Bojanowski was appointed its leader. The area of maize production reached over 700,000 ha and the group was awarded in 1975 first class prizes of the Minister of Agriculture and of the Minister of Research and High Education. The group continued its work till 1990.
In 1976 Bojanowski, as the head of the Maize Dept. of IHAR, initiated the work on breeding of high-lysine maize, which is continued up to the present and resulted in developing of very early lines of this type.
In 1960 Bojanowski became a member of the Maize & Sorghum section of EUCARPIA. His membership resulted in broadening contacts with several maize breeding institutions in Europe, and also contributed to broadening contacts between east- and west-European maize breeders. He was a member of the EUCARPIA Board in the years 1975-81, the President of EUCARPIA between 1983 and 1986. In 1986 he organized the Congress of EUCARPIA, and in 1989 he became a Honorary Member of the Association.
Bojanowski published 20 scientific papers and developed 7 varieties of agricultural crops: 1 of spring barley, 1 of oats, and 5 of maize. He also translated to Polish two important textbooks on plant breeding: F.C. Elliott: Plant Breeding and Cytogenetics, and R.W. Allard: Principles of Plant Breeding.The text has been provided by Prof. Dr. hab. Jan Krzymanski, Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR), Pozna ul. Strzeszynska 36, PL-60-479 Pozna, Poland