HHe was born in 1921 in Lviv to a family with Jewish roots, and died in 2006 in Krakow. Lem’s father was a distinguished doctor, and Stanisław also studied medicine, although he decided not to practice this profession. He chose to be a writer, but his medical education imbued his work with science and shaped his worldview. From 1946 on, Stanisław Lem lived in Krakow, and in 1998 he was awarded the title of the “honorary citizen” of that Polish royal city. In the years 1983 – 1988 he lived and worked in Vienna, invited there by the Austrian Writers’ Union.
The most famous works by Lem are Solaris, Robots Fairy Tales, Cyberiada, Star Diaries, Futurological Congress, Tales of the Pirx Pilot. His books have been screened numerous times, the best known of which is Solaris, filmed twice: first by Andrei Tarkowski (1972), and then by Steven Soderbergh (2002).
“A dream will always triumph over reality, once it is given the chance.”
Stanisław Lem has been awarded many times in Poland and abroad: with the Order of the White Eagle (1996), the Gloria Artis medal, the Franz Kafka Award in the field of literature (Austria, 1991). He was also an honorary doctor of several universities: Wrocław University of Technology (1981), Jagiellonian University, Opole University, Lviv State Medical University (1998), and a member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences (1994). One of the asteroids was named “Lem” after him, and that is also how the first Polish scientific satellite was called.
Koprowski was a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 2010, he was the laureate of the first edition of the “Outstanding Pole” competition run by the Foundation of the Polish Promotional Emblem “Teraz Polska”. In 2018, posthumously, he was honoured by the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, with the Order of the White Eagle. He died in 2013 in Philadelphia.