Finalist of the category:
Outstanding Academic in Slovakia

Ľubomír Švorc

Analytical chemistry

„I see scientific and educational activity as two parts of one whole. Together with my students, I work on research that offers progress in the everyday lives of ordinary people, and I also speak about this research.“

Prof. Ing. Ľubomír Švorc, DrSc., works at the Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava. In the lab, he and his students focus on developing new, modern electroanalytical methods to determine important biologically active substances using perspective electrochemical sensors. Thanks to basic research, the determination of constituents in medical, food, and environmental samples is now being replaced by faster, cheaper, and more user-friendly electroanalytical methods. Professor Švorc credits his hard work, self-discipline, and his students for his achievements in research and teaching over the past decade.

Ľubomír Švorc is happy to have his name connected to analytical chemistry, which is an inevitable part of our lives – from health and eating to the environment. He admits he is, figuratively speaking, obsessed with chemistry. He also applies analytical thinking in his personal life. “I like symmetry and order, I always examine everything down to the smallest details and I sometimes even make impossible connections between topics,” the academic teacher and scientist says.

“I love teaching. From the very first moment, I try to make my students interested in chemistry and motivate them to be diligent analytical chemists. I involve them in research on topics that contribute to improving the lives of regular people,” Ľubomír Švorc says. Two years ago, at the age of 38, he became one of the youngest professors in Slovakia. Thanks to the contributions of his students’ diploma and dissertation theses and his focused research, he has published over 150 articles in foreign current research journals, with over 2,500 citations. He is also one of the most-cited young scientists in Slovakia. In 2019, he was inducted into the worldwide Periodic Table of Younger Chemists as the laureate for the element Europium, marking the 150th anniversary of the creation of the periodic table (by Dimitri Mendeleev in 1869). “I’m most excited by the Slovak University of Technology Teacher of the Year 2022 award, which was decided anonymously by our students. Their positive reactions are the most beautiful, most valuable, and most sincere feedback for a teacher,” he admits.

Professor Švorc sees analytical chemistry as a fascinating field for science and study. “We need it for our lives. It affects our health when analysing medicine and its metabolites in human biological samples. We also encounter analytical chemistry in chemical analysis of water, soil and air, so it also affects the quality of our environments. It can also be used to analyse ingredients in the food we eat,” he explains. He secretly dreams of directly connecting the results of research and collaboration with the private sector. Along with his students, he finds new topics and ideas for innovations at international conferences and when talking to experts while trying to keep up with global progress in the field.

His father, also a chemist, was a role model for him. His interest in natural sciences was also formed by his primary and high school teachers. Thanks to great preparation by his high school, a gymnasium, he handled the first year of study at the Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology of the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava with ease. After finishing his postgraduate studies, he stayed to work at his alma mater and now combines scientific and educational activities, which he sees as two parts of a single whole. Under his guidance, students achieve exceptional results at international science conferences that then help them to be successful on the job market. He recommends that his students go for study stays at foreign universities. He himself went on several of these, under the leadership of world-renowned professors in analytical chemistry. “It’s unique and special experience, and a great basis for future employment.”

In his free time, he likes to unwind at the gym. “I admit I’m a workaholic. I need this physical and mental cleansing so as to not live only for my work and the challenges I give myself,” he adds, with a laugh.

“I wasn’t always very talented in natural sciences. I had to grind and work hard, driven by my desire to study and discover new things. In the coming decades, I plan to do world-class science in Slovakia, teach, motivate and support young students and researchers, and raise a new generation of experts for practice in the field of analytical chemistry.”