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Dějiny věd a techniky, No. 3, Vol. XLIV (2011)


DVT 113, 147
Vladimír J. A. Novák (1919–1997) a dějiny jedné koncepce (1. část)
Petr Hampl

Vladimír J. A. Novák (1919–1997) and history of one concept (1st part).
The article presents a part of the history of the Czech biology after World War II. It deals especially with life and work of Vladimír J. A. Novák and addresses the topic of evolutionary biology, its personnel and partly also its scientific basis.

Keywords: history of biology · Vladimír J. A. Novák · Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences · evolutionary biology

Summary: The article deals with the history of Czech biology under the communist regime. First, the article presents the life history of Czech biologist Vladimír J. A. Novák (1919–1997) and secondly it examines some of his scientific activities, mainly in the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Novák’s scientific life started in entomology, more precisely in the developing field of insect endocrinology in 1950s. After his return from a bizarre escape to the Soviet Union in 1951 where he wanted to work on topics in the so-called “red biology,” Novák devoted his life to the scientific confirmation of communist ideology. Marxist philosophy and evolutionary biology were the tools he used. This scientific and also personal aim was not obstructed – nor yet keenly supported – by officials, and thus Novák gained a free field of his own. He founded two independent departments to develop his ideas about the scientific basis of communism. These departments also organized conferences and workshops with remarkably great attendance aiming at international development of (Novák’s) evolutionary biology. His departments had a unique place in the former Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Novák did not force his employees to work solely on ideologically approved topics, thus paradoxically creating milieu of freedom. The life and work of this rigid Marxist, who never doubted any part of the theory, is shown as an example and a “case study” of a scientist of this time.

DVT 113, 165
Lesní řemesla a vývoj technologie chemického zpracování dřeva v raném novověku
Jiří Woitsch

Forest crafts and the development of chemical wood processing technology in the early-modern period.
The article deals in detail with so called forest crafts (e. g. potash making, charcoal burning, tar and pitch making, resin extraction) and their position in the early-modern development of the chemical processing of wood.

Key words: forest products · forest exploitation · wood processing · history of technology · chemical technology · charcoal · potash · tar

Summary: Forest crafts are considered the most important branch of the traditional preindustrial chemical industry, providing several important chemicals (potassium carbonate, charcoal) that were necessary for many other industrial branches. However, at the same time, forest industries had been limited in their expansion towards manufacturing and industrial production. This limitation had various causes. The most important of them stemmed from the specific features of the traditional technology – especially its absolute dependence on its crucial material, wood. Subsequently in the days (by the 19th century at the latest) when many other branches of production – including the chemical ones – entered the period of speedy development, forest crafts stagnated to a certain degree and were abandoned quite quickly. The technology of wood processing is thoroughly described and several examples of period technological writings, which evaluate forest industries as extremely important, are given. By contrast, for the contemporary chemical industry and consequently for the study of the history of technology, forest industries are evaluated as being unimportant. This contradiction and its causes are analysed in detail.


DVT 113, 182
Sbírka školních přednášek a skript v Archivu Národního technického muzea
Zdeněk Vácha

Collection of University Lectures and University Textbooks in the Archives of the Czech National Technical Museum.
The article summarizes the origins and from various perspectives also the content of the Collection of University Lectures and University Textbooks housed in the Archive of the National Technical Museum. It deals with the possibilities of using the sources for research into the history of technical schools in the Czech lands.

Key words: technical schools · history · archives · collection · 19th and 20th centuries

Summary: The Collection of University Lectures and University Textbooks housed in the Archive of the National Technical Museum contains an indispensable source for the history of technical education. It contains 949 items. More than half of the manuscripts and print materials are from the era before 1918, among them over thirty items from before 1850. The article aims to place the preserved material in time periods (to 1850, 1851–1900, 1901–1918, 1918–1938, 1939–1945, and from 1945) and to characterize the sources according to technical disciplines, school system and specific school institutes, forms of the lectures’ preservation and authorship of record, and publishers/publishing houses. The collection of lectures is important for several reasons. Above all, it preserves many teaching texts for different technical branches (primarily for architecture, engineering, physics, geography, and mathematics) over a long interval of time. Thanks to this, it is possible to trace the development of teaching in those branches over time. It would also be possible to compare, at least partially, the teaching of different subjects at different types of schools or at particular schools. There is also the possibility of comparing lectures preserved in manuscripts (probably the most authentic record of the lecture) with the copy authorized by teacher or with the publication edited by the teacher.

© M. Barvík 2008