Halszka Osmólska (1930–2008)
It is with deepest regret that we announce the death of professor Halszka Osmólska on March 31, 2008, at the age of 78 years, after a protracted and serious illness. She was born on September 15, 1930 in Poznan, Poland. In 1952 she graduated from the Faculty of Biology and Earth Sciences of Poznan University, after a three-year course in biology. Halszka then moved to Warsaw, where in 1955 she was granted the degree of Master of Biological Sciences at the University of Warsaw. In 1962, she earned a PhD in Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Geology, also at the University of Warsaw.
Beginning in 1955, Halszka worked for more than 50 years at the Institute of Paleobiology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, progressing from assistant professor to full professor. In 1974 – 1983 she was the deputy director of the Institute, and in 1984-1989 the director. In 1975 – 1992 she was the editor of Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. Osmólska was a member of various scientific societies and committees.
During the first half of her scientific life, Halszka was engaged in studies on the Late Devonian and Carboniferous trilobites of Poland and Eurasia, becoming a well-known specialist on them. Beginning in 1969, she changed her scientific interests and started to study the Late Cretaceous dinosaurs and other reptiles from the Gobi Desert, soon becoming an authority in this field as well. She is a co-author and co-editor (with David B. Weishampel and Peter Dodson) of the widely acclaimed book “The Dinosauria,” published by the University of California Press. The first edition of the book was published in 1990, the second in 2004.
Halszka worked with great purpose, entirely devoted to science. She had a very kind and serene character, and was well known for her sense of humor and modesty. She had a long and happy family life with her late husband Tadeusz, and left behind a son, daughter-in-law, and three grandchildren. Halszka made substantial contributions to paleontology, contributions that will stand as an enduring legacy. She will be missed and long remembered by those of us who knew and loved her.
By Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska
Photo courtesy of the Archive of the Institute of Paleobiology, Warsaw.