Prof. Dr. Tadeusz Hobler

HoblerBeing one of the students of Prof. Tadeusz Hobler I am extremely honoured and privileged by the possibility to introduce his biography in which I would like to stress in a very special way the achievements of Professor as an outstanding engineer, an extremely creative scientist and an exquisite educator, a tutor of technical and scientific staff. Professor Hobler was a wonderful man, which is undoubtedly confirmed by his biography.

Professor Tadeusz Hobler was born in 1899 in Sambor in an educated family. Brought up in a fervent patriotic spirit, right after passing his final secondary school examination in 1917 he joined the Legions (Polish Liberation Army) in order to fight for the independence of Poland. He fought also in the war with Bolshevik Russia in 1920 being the commander of an artillery battery.

For his bravery and merits during the time of fight for independence he was decorated with many medals.

After demobilization in 1921 he completed studies at the Mechanical Department of Lvov Technical University and in 1924 he received a diploma in mechanical engineering with an excellent grade. Then a new period started in the life of Professor - intensive work concerning the building of an industrial potential in the independent homeland.

In less than a year after his studies he was charged with a very responsible position as the head of a design office which was then being organized. The purpose of this office was to rebuild and expand the Polish nitric industry. Working till 1931 on the project of a newly built plant in Mościce, Prof. T. Hobler became an inventor of new concepts and technological solutions referring to nitric acid installation, water gas conversion and ammonium nitrate. Many of these original constructions and technological solutions established in that period and in the subsequent years gained international and national patents.

After the start of the new nitric plant in Mościce in 1931 he went abroad, where he first worked at the company „Dr Collet - Ingenieur Conseil” in Paris and then at the company „Hydro-Nitro” in Geneva an European branch of the famous American company „Nitrogen-Engng. Corp.”.

During his stay abroad and working as an independent manager of the design and construction section of the department of ammonia derivatives he carried out many projects for the customers from different European countries, conducting the assembly and start-up of these installations. A special attention should be paid to an original constructional and process solution of installations for production of nitric acid under pressure, nowadays known as an HNH (Hydro-Nitro-Hobler) method. This installation, of the capacity twice as high as then built was characterised by two-and-a-half-fold decrease of energy consumption due to ingenious coupling of the operation of turbo compressor using the heat of chemical reactions. In this period Prof. Hobler got also 42 patents in many countries, including Germany, France, USA, Italy, Norway and Belgium.

In 1938 he came back to Poland and took over the position of a technical director in the Factory of Nitric Compounds in Mościce taking special care of the construction office. The purpose of the office was to further develop nitric industry in Poland. It should be stressed that the installations of nitric acid built then in Poland were the largest units of this kind in the world. Prof. Hobler, due to his personal achievements, belonged to the world’s top experts and creators of nitric industry.

Directly after the end of the Second World War he made efforts to rebuild the damaged chemical industry in Poland and organised a design and construction centre called „The Main Office of Investments and Rebuilding”. He enabled his old patents, necessary for execution of the projects he was carrying out, to be used free of charge persuading at the same time the Hydro-Nitro Company to waive its financial claims.

Nagroda HIn September 1949, after receiving a degree of associate professor, he was appointed to the position of an associate professor at the Silesian University of Technology and took over the chair of Chemical Engineering at the Department of Chemistry.

Since then, he has been focusing his activity on two basic notions, combining his rich design and construction experience with inexhaustible enthusiasm and creative invention.

The first of them was the creation of a new curriculum of academic studies where the specialists in design and chemical equipment construction could study in order to satisfy huge needs resulting from the intended intensive development of chemical industry in the country. In order to achieve this, he also prepared new curricula for the specialists of the aforementioned field of study, for those with basic chemical education as well as mechanical one. He also prepared a number of monographic lectures, contributing to a large extent to the creation of a new specialization called “Chemical Engineering and Design of Equipment for Chemical Industry”. In the future it formed a basis for a new curriculum of studies called Chemical and Process Engineering.

NagrodaH-3Therefore, he moved with the whole chair to the Department of Mechanics and Energy and the chair was named „Chair of Engineering and Design of Chemical Equipment”. As further investigations indicated, the studies according to his curriculum were very popular among students and simultaneously the opinion of the industry was very positive concerning the usefulness of the graduates in design and construction offices, in research institutes and chemical industry plants. It allows us to state that, Prof. Hobler worked out an original school of Chemical Engineering for the education of students. In 1954 he received an academic degree of full professor and the General Assembly of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS) elected him as a corresponding member.

NagrodaH-2Professor Hobler was aware of the fact that regardless of the specialists’ training in this deficit discipline, it was necessary to create a strong research base for both basic, technical and industrial subjects. His efforts were crowned in 1958 with the organization of a research centre for engineering and design of chemical equipment, which was entrusted to him by the Scientific Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences.

The purpose of establishing in 1958 the Research Centre of Chemical Engineering and Apparatus Design of the PAS by the Scientific Secretary of Polish Academy of Sciences was to carry out basic research in chemical engineering in order to expand and significantly develop scientific fundamentals of the design of chemical equipment.

He realised his research program in the Research Centre of Chemical Engineering and Apparatus Design of the PAS and simultaneously in the Chair of Engineering and Chemical Equipment Design of the Silesian University of Technology with an exceptional diligence, permanent enthusiasm and admirable creative invention. The overriding purpose was clearly seen – a practical application aspect of conducted basic research, both experimental and theoretical one.

masaThe book he wrote called „ Mass Transfer and Absorbers” is the crowning achievement of his long research and theoretical considerations referring to diffusional mass transfer. The main framework of this book is an original classification of different kinds of diffusion introduced by Professor and consequently of convection processes of mass transfer based on the generalized equation defining the mass flux. In this equation he proposed for the first time a general driving modulus of mass transfer.

For his merits in rebuilding and designing factories of chemical industry in Poland as well as for his achievements in the field of science, Prof. Hobler was decorated with Knight's Cross and Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta and the Order of the Banner of Labour of the second class and he received also the National Award twice.

The Technological Institute in Leningrad awarded him in 1968 the title of Doctor Honoris Causa of this university and in 1970 Silesian University of Technology awarded him also this honourable academic title.

In 1966 the General Assembly of PAS appointed him a full member and for several terms of office he was a member of the Presidium of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

ciepłoProfessor Hobler’s scientific achievements cover almost 100 publications referring to original research work, 10 books, out of which „Heat Transport and Exchangers” and „Diffusional Mass Transport and Absorbers” have been published in English, Russian and Czech. PhD theses supervised by Prof. Hobler were defended by 25 students, many of them habilitated and 11 became professors.

The fields of basic research in chemical engineering initiated by him are being currently continued and developed by many of his students at universities, in institutes and academic centres in almost whole Poland.

The authority gained by Prof. Hobler contributed to his appointment by many Committees, Scientific Councils, Industrial Teams and Commissions. Rich experience in the design and construction of industrial installations, profound theoretical knowledge, exquisite didactic ability let him work out his own models of education and conducting research in chemical and process engineering and at the same time let him create a known and recognized school of chemical engineering, famous both at home and abroad.

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