There are pieces of news that are hard to believe. This applies also to the one about the decease of Vláďa Cháb, who was known for his immeasurable vitality and sporting spirit. Unfortunately, his great scientific and sporting heart stopped on the night of March 5, 2023, at the age of 76. When I heard about a month ago that he was not in good health, I did not pay much attention to the news. I believed that there was no illness or obstacle that Vláďa’s spirit could not handle. Unfortunately, I was wrong.
Vladimír's distinctive character contributed to the specific atmosphere of the Cukrovarnická workplace, where he was instrumental in establishing the tradition of scanning microscopy at the Institute of Physics. Together with Honza Kočka, he was behind the idea and implementation of the purchase of the very first scanning tunnelling microscope in the Czech Republic, operating in ultra-high vacuum. He started a successful research program that dealt with the study of atomic processes on semiconductor surfaces not only using scanning microscopy, but also using other experimental techniques.
Here we should mention his fundamental contribution to the construction of the Czech measuring station at the Elletra Synchrotron in Trieste, which is considered one of the most powerful stations at this accelerator and has been successfully serving the international community for many years. As an experimenter, he understood very well the necessity of close collaboration with theoreticians, which allows a deeper understanding of the phenomena studied. It was he who developed the tradition of close collaboration between experiment and theory within the same scientific group, which the Department of Surfaces and Molecular Structures still benefits from today. During his tenure at the Institute of Physics, he trained a number of young scientists who found employment not only abroad or in leading technology companies, but also at the Institute of Physics, where they currently continue the development of scanning microscopy.
I came to know Vladimir as a passionate South Bohemian who approached things and people without prejudice. He did not cling to positions and recognized when it was time to make way for younger colleagues. He often moved outside the mainstream opinion and tried to look at things from unconventional angles. He was known for his straightforward and impulsive behaviour, which would hardly fit into today's hyper-correct times. Yet his often apt comments set a critical mirror that moved us forward. Let us hope that we will not miss his critical insight. But we will miss Vladimir and his openness. Thank you very much, Vláďa, and rest in peace...
On behalf of his colleagues from Department 13 Pavel Jelínek
and his long-time former colleagues Honza Kočka and Tonda Fejfar