Forum Digest II/Faculty forum

Celebrations in Pilsen

The metropolis of West Bohemia, Pilsen, experienced a special conjunction of several major anniversaries last year: The city celebrated 700 years since its foundation, and the charming Grand Theater of J.K. Tyl performed a season marking 130 years of the existence of a permanent theater in town. And, from 9 to 11 November 1995 the Medical Faculty of Charles University in Pilsen celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Already T. G. Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia, had considered establishing a seat of the university there (after Prague and Brno). The founding of a university faculty was the result of the enthusiasm and will of the Czech intelligentsia after the Second World War...

The program of celebrations culminated on 9 November with a ceremonial gathering of the faculty public in the Theater of J. K. Tyl. The gathering was greeted by the CU Rector Prof. JUDr. Karel Maly, DrSc. In his address he remarked that "Charles University stepped beyond the border of the city of its origin to East and West Bohemia, which resulted in the growth of the learning of the nation". The importance of the faculty in the life of the city was also emphasized by the city mayor Zdenek Prosek. "Pilsen, though not far from Prague, does not lie in its shadow", is the reported claim of the political scientist Jacques Rupnik. "And the same applies to the Medical Faculty of Charles University..." added the mayor of Pilsen. The local Faculty of Medicine is a full-fledged part of Charles University, well-established and also recognized internationally in European community. This was the claim of the key-note speech dealing primarily with prospects for the future, delivered by Prof. MUDr. Jiri Valenta, DrSc., Dean of the CU MF in Pilsen. Later the CU Rector presented commemorative CU medals and the CU MF Dean presented the commemorative medals and papers.

The first to receive an award was one of the surviving witnesses, who actively contributed to the creation of CU MF in Pilsen, Prof. MUDr. Eugen Venclovsky, DrSc. (in our photo). This psychiatrist, a highly esteemed and recognized expert in his field, headed the Clinic of Psychiatry of the Pilsen Faculty Hospital for more than a quarter of a century. A year ago, the Foundation of Prof. Venclovsky was set up to support the students of the Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen. Forum asked professor Venclovsky about the objectives of this foundation: "My wife acquired a large property in restitution and it occurred to me that I could begin supporting our students. I consulted the opening of the foundation with the present Dean. I deposited two million crowns at 14% interest and decided that this interest would annually be paid to selected students. The money is always awarded on 17 November. Last year the foundation provided a total sum of 120,000 Czech crowns to ten students..."

Text Forum: Michaela Zindelova

The Medical Faculty of Hradec Kralove Celebrated

The celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of CU Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove lasted three days (5 - 7 October 1995) with events ranging from sports tournaments to a ceremonial philharmonic concert, Open Days at selected departments and an exhibition opening, and a gathering of employees of the faculty. Everyone's attention was focused on the culmination of the celebrations - a gathering, commemorating the 50th anniversary, which took place in the Grand Hall of Aldis on Eliska Embankment on Friday 6 October. The full hall was greeted by Prof. MUDr. Pavel Klener, DrSc., CU Pro-Rector for Science and Research, who delivered the opening address on behalf of the CU Rector, Prof. Karel Maly, who was not able to come because of his work commitments, but who in his personal letter to the half centenary expressed his pride at the MF in Hradec Kralove belonging to the Charles University union. The Head of the Czech Republic President's office, Lubos Dobrovsky, read a letter from Vaclav Havel. In the conclusion of his message, the President emphasized as one of the necessary priorities of CU MF in Hradec Kralove the "education of reliable and wise successors". Half a century of CU MF in Hradec Kralove is an age of "both youth and maturity", as this golden jubilee was poetically referred to in next of many congratulatory speeches. It is nonetheless certain that the CU Medical Faculty in Hradec Kralove has "managed in a historically short time to become a top-ranking institution..." The celebrations were a great success, and the loudest applause in the Grand Hall of Aldis justifiably rang out after the speech, given by the professor emeritus of CU MF in Hradec Kralove, MUDr. Antonin Fingerland, DrSc., (born 1900!) who took part in the creation of the Faculty fifty years ago - and who has served Hradec medicine for an uninterrupted 66 years. Prof. Fingerland also received standing ovations for his speech after being awarded the CU Golden Commemorative Medal (in our photo).

Text and photo Forum: Michaela Zindelova

Program of Senior Citizen Education

A course entitled Health and Physical Activity offered by the CU Faculty of Physical Education and Sport has proved successful, and consequently the educational program of the University of the Third Age will continue.

The acceptance requirements are pension age, completed secondary school education and good physical condition, which is necessary in physically demanding practical parts of the tuition. The number of applications totaled 61.

The four-term course dealt with the quality of life and physical activity in older age. Participants were introduced (in lectures and seminars) to the anatomy and physiology of important systems, dietetics, regimen, and psychological and hygienic problems of their age group. They practically tested their physical fitness, ability to provide first aid, and learned how to employ some regeneration procedures as massage and self-massage. Practical tuition also included corrective physical education and various forms of activities, suitable for this age-group such as dancing, swimming and hiking. The aim of the course was to teach the participants how to spend leisure time meaningfully with appropriate physical training activities. The acquired knowledge should lead both to the activation of physical and mental abilities and also to passing on this knowledge and experience by organizing such physical training activities among the elderly.

Doc. MUDr. S. Bartunkova,
Pro-Dean, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport

Pantheon-Assas (Paris II) and CU

Pantheon-Assas University (Paris II) became the fourth Parisian University to cooperate with Charles University, on the basis of an agreement signed 25 October 1995 by the CU Rector, Prof. JUDr. Karel Maly, DrSc., who was joined by the Faculty of Law representatives, and by Prof. Philippe Ardant, the President of Pantheon-Assas University. This agreement, which will exclusively concern areas of law, creates conditions for starting a program of law tuition in French at the Faculty of Law. The program will be introduced at the beginning of the academic year 1996-97, and its teachers will be sent from Pantheon-Assas University (Paris II). The agreement on cooperation also includes the possibility of exchanging both researchers and students.

Expedition Peru 1995

This expedition was organized as part of the celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the independent Faculty of Natural Sciences at Charles University in Prague, but was also meant to commemorate the victims of the earthquake of 31 May 1970, when some 67,000 Peruvians and the entire expedition of Czechoslovak mountain-climbers died under the top of Huascaran.

The expedition had thirteen participants and was led by RNDr. Bohumir Jansky from the department of Physical Geography and Geoecology. Between 27 June and 11 September 1995 the group crossed almost 6,000 kilometers of Peru by various means - in coaches, special terrain vehicles, planes, ships, motor boats and local canoes, in the saddles of horses and mules, on mountain bikes and by hiking.

We visited all three natural regions of Peru, i.e. the coast (Costa), the mountain region of the Andes (Sierra) and the territory of tropical rain forest (Selva). Throughout the journey we studied not only the unique natural formations in national parks and reserves, but also the matchless relics of ancient civilizations.

Our goal was to shoot a series of films which would capture the incredible variety of natural conditions, introduce major historical monuments, and picture the life of the people today.

The expedition first headed North to the highest range of the Peruvian Andes - Cordillera Blanca. Here we visited the site of the catastrophe of 31 May 1970, during which, after a massive earthquake of 7.8 on the Richter scale, the slope of Nevado de Huascaran slid down. Stone blocks over six meter thick, clay and snow buried the small town of Yungay along with its entire population. In honor of our mountaineers, who died in the base camp on the shore of Lago de Llanganuco pass (3,850 m above sea-level), four expedition members rode their mountain bikes from the site of the catastrophe to the Portachuelo de Llanganuco (4,767 m above sea-level) and then came down in a steep drive back to Yungay.

Another important destination for the expedition was the second largest city of Peru, Arequipa, known as Ciudad Blanca. It was built of white volcanic tuffs and is reminiscent of towns in Spanish Andalusia. From Arequipa we set out on a very demanding journey across deep canyons, plateaux and the mountain ridges of the Cordillera de Chilca in the South Peruvian Andes, which are typical of present volcanic activity. First we visited the Cotahuasi canyon, the deepest in the world with a depth of 3,550 meters. Our round trip then continued in the direction of the springs of the Apurimac river, which is the source of the Rio Amazonas, the longest flow of the planet.

We studied the tropical rain forest in two localities. First we started from Cuzco to East Cordillers. On the back of a small lorry we drove up to 4,200 m above sea-level and then descended again through all types of vegetation to the Madre de Dios river at 450 meters above sea-level. On a fourteen meters long narrow canoe we paddled down the stream to the confluence with the Manu and against the stream to the source of the biospheric reserve of the same name. The concluding stage of the expedition took place in Lima and its surroundings. There we studied the problems of the growth of this megacity, which now has reached a population of 8 million, almost half of whom live in temporary dwellings, the so-called pueblo jovenes.

Doc. RNDr. Bohumir Jansky, CSc.

The deepest canyon of the world Cotahuasi (depth 3,550 m), which we went down to on horses and mules.

Photo for Forum: Michal Bily

Eclipse of the Sun

Two expeditions of Czech astronomers set out for Asia to witness the eclipse of the Sun 24 October 1995 - a group from the observatory at Upice went to India and a team of researchers from Pardubice, Liberec, Jesenik, the Astronomical Institute of the CU Faculty of Mathematics and Physics in Prague, and colleagues from Slovakia went to Thailand. The first eclipse expedition was organized by the Czechoslovak Astronomical Society in 1936: the group arrived at the small town of Sara near Orenburg in the former USSR. Dr. Vladimir Guth, Dr. Frantisek Link (later CU docents), Mrs B. Novakova and J. Vlcek. Dr. Hubert Slouka, Walter Jaschek from Viennese observatory and Zdenek Kopal, a young student of astronomy at Charles University, set out for Nakatombetsu in Japan. Zdenek Kopal later became a renowned professor of astronomy at Manchester University, excelling in numerous fields, such as research into twin-stars, moon and small bodies of the solar system. He had to obtain the means for the journey by translating the book Secret Universe by James Jeans. The Japanese group was equipped with a horizontal double Zeiss astrograph (lens 21 cm f=342 cm) with a reflex heliostat which was the property of the Society and the Stefanik Observatory in Prague. The expedition to Russia took a Zeiss telescope in a wooden construction with the hour clock ran by a weight. This telescope, which belonged to the Astronomical Institute of Charles University, is now a part of the permanent astronomical exhibition in the National Technical Museum in Prague.

The expedition SAROS 95 came to Thailand to observe the full eclipse on 24 October 1995. The totality belt was passing near Nakhonsawan about 300 km north of Bangkok. The group of astronomers from the circle of baron Artur Kraus Observatory in Pardubice viewed the eclipse from a Buddhist temple known as Wat Ban Nong-Nam Kew near the town of Banphot Pisai. The group of CU Astronomical Institute camped out on the terrace of the Wat Kao Din Tai temple near Kao Lieo. The two places at a distance of about 20 km were chosen in case of local cloudiness, but, fortunately, during the eclipse the sky was clear everywhere, in spite of the rainy season. Snapshots taken with various exposure length throughout the one-and-three-quarter-minute totality show a gentle structure of the corona in white light and, in addition several protuberances at the edge of the Sun. The materials will be processed together with those, acquired by the expeditions of Hurbanovo observatory (Nakhonsawan), Upice (India), and Tatranska Lomnica (India).

Doc. RNDr. Martin Solc, CSc.,
CU Faculty of Mathematics and Physics

Photo for Forum: from the archive of the author

Vavrousek's Foundation Supports Ecology

The foundation of Josef and Petra Vavrouskovi, which was recently officially established, is predominantly intended to support ecological projects aimed at the permanently tenable development of society. The members of the Foundation, including both the Czech Ministers of the Environment Bedrich Moldan and Ivan Dejmal, and sociologists Ivan Gabal and Fedor Gal thus want to pursue the work of Josef Vavrousek, who put forward the idea of the permanent tenable way of life.

The first post-November federal Minister of the Environment Vavrousek died in March 1995 together with his daughter under an avalanche in the High Tatras.

Among the first to contribute to the account of the foundation was the President Vaclav Havel and the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles. The opening project of the foundation is a collection of the works of the late ecologist entitled "Thinking with Josef Vavrousek". The Foundation also wants to support selected students of the CU Faculty of Social Sciences, as Doc. Ing. Josef Vavrousek worked there as the Pro-Dean.

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