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Dějiny věd a techniky, No. 4, Vol. XLIII (2010)


DVT 104, 225
Andrias scheuchzeri and Andrias bohemicus (not only) in the Czech culture and science
Andrias scheuchzeri a Andrias bohemicus (nejen) v české vědě a kultuře
K 90. výročí založení Přírodovědecké fakulty UK v Praze

Marco Stella – Iva Lelková

The article deals with cultural and scientific representations of giant salamanders, mainly in the Czech lands. As an important scientific object, an even more important cultural image, and a powerful and ancient symbol, the giant salamander (or, Salamander, Andrias) is firmly bound – as a fossil, live animal and literary figure – to the Czech lands and to the Faculty of Science of Charles University in Prague in particular. Three different lines form the article. Despite their heterogeneity, they form a unity. First, the authors examine the story of Andrias scheuzeri or homo diluvii testis in the history of paleontology, which ends with the discovery of a fossil Andrias bohemicus, the Czech giant salamander. Second, they show how the story of the “Czech salamander” continues on the pages of Karel Čapek’s War with the Newts. The authors examine the sources that might have inspired Čapek to create his anti-utopian world occupied by myriads of amorphous, nearly omnipotent, inhuman giant newts (genus Andrias). Third, the authors determine the role of these animals in private menageries, museum collections, zoos, and university laboratories. The Salamander is the bearer of a special ambivalent sort of symbolism being a creature of both revolution and evolution (biological and social), change and stability, human and nonhuman. As ambiguous as Czech history in the 20th century, the giant salamander, a somewhat surprising “heraldic animal” and a creature of tradition, lives on as a semi-mythical figure on the Faculty of Science of Charles University.

Key words:
history of biology • cultural history • Andrias scheuchzeri • Andrias bohemicus • Karel Čapek • animals as symbols


DVT 104, 249
History of biology and its grande dame Ilse Jahn (1922–2010)
Historiografie biologie a jejich grande dame Ilse Jahnová (1922–2010)
Tomáš Hermann – Uwe Hoßfeld – Michal Šimůnek

The article reviews the life and research contributions of historian of biology Ilse Jahn. It concentrates on her epochal work History of Biology: Theory, Methods, Institutions, Biographies (Geschichte der Biologie. Theorien, Methoden, Institutionen und Kurzbiographien), published 1982, and briefly evaluates the foundations of her prominent contributions to the twentiethcentury history of biology. The beginning of the historiography of biology is found in the awareness of the crisis in the life sciences at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries (represented by the work of Czech philosopher and biologist Emanuel Rádl). The work of Ilse Jahn crowns the process of the professionalizing the discipline.

Key words:
Ilse Jahn • history of biology • life sciences • history of science

DVT 104, 255
Philipp Weselsky – Professor of analytical chemistry of the Vienna Technical University – 1828–1889
Philipp Weselsky – profesor chemie vídeňské techniky z Českomoravské vysočiny
Jiří Jindra

The article describes the life, pedagogical activity, and scientific work of P. Weselsky, a Professor of the Vienna Technical University who was of Czech descent.

Key words:
Vienna Technical University 1854–1884 • tuition of analytical chemistry • synthetic dyes • Philipp Weselsky • Rudolf Benedikt


DVT 104, 263
From the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences to Exile. Břetislav Friedrich
Z Československé akademie věd do exilu. Břetislav Friedrich
Milena Josefovičová

Professor Břetislav Friedrich is one of the most significant Czech scientists who left Czechoslovakia and who exerted an excellent influence abroad. An interview with him in January 2010 belongs to the many other interviews that are a part of the grant project “Czech scientists in exile.” The interviews focus on the circumstances of emigration and the impact of exile on scientific careers.

After completing his studies, physical chemist Břetislav Friedrich (b. 1953) worked in the CSAS J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry. He left Czechoslovakia after a study trip to Göttingen, Germany, in the second half of 1980s for Harvard University, where he stayed for the next 16 years, first with the political asylum and from 1996 with U.S. citizenship. In 2003 he moved from the U. S. A. to the newly opened section of molecular physics in the Fritz-Haber-Institut MPG in Berlin. He was appointed professor of the Technical University (Technische Universtät) in Berlin in 2006. The main topics of his contemporary research are the interaction of molecules with external fields, molecular collisions, spectroscopy, and cold molecules. He is also significantly interested in the history of physics, specifically the origin and development of quantum mechanics.

Key words:
Exile of scientists • Břetislav Friedrich • reasons for exile from Czechoslovakia • 1980s

© M. Barvík 2008