Today the Honorary Medals have been handed over by the president of the Czech Academy of Sciences Eva Zažímalová. The recipients were 11 researchers honoured for their long-lasting contribution to science by the Czech Academy of Sciences. The laureates included two researchers from the Institute of Physics, prof. Jiří Chýla, CSc. and prof. RNDr. Ivan Pelant, DrSc.
The eulogy for prof. Jiří Chýla was given by the Director of the Institute of Physics Michael Prouza. He ended his speech with a personal recollection: “Jiří Chýla was the first scientist I met at the Institute of Physics, and, at the same time, the first person to have introduced me to the Internet. If I am not mistaken, it was the spring of 1994. I was at my 2nd year of Grammar School, and our very enthusiastic physics teacher, Zdeněk Kluiber, arranged a visit to the FZU for me and my schoolmates who were highly enthusiastic about physics. That’s how we met Jiří Chýla. I can’t say what was the best thing about it, whether his highly educated, yet very comprehensible guidance to the world of elementary particle physics, or the encounter with the unseen capabilities of the HP unix stations, including my first insight into the then still not completely explored world of the world wide web at its very early stage.“
In his acceptance speech, Jiří Chýla said: “It was a pleasure to spend fifty years at the Institute of Physics, and I hope I managed to contribute at least a little bit to the development of physics and of the Czech Academy of Sciences". He also added his recollection of how he met Michael Prouza: “I was surprised to see how well a secondary school student is able to formulate his ideas that were far beyond the knowledge of his peers.“
“I’d like to thank the current as well as the past managements of the Institute of Physics and my family for their understanding and support. Without them, I would never receive this honour, said professor Ivan Pelant after accepting the award.
Ernst Mach Honorary Medal for Merits in Physical Science
prof. Jiří Chýla, CSc.
Jiří Chýla from the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences is a remarkable personality of Czech elementary physics. He has studied the structure of mass and the forces acting between its basic building blocks – especially the quarks.
At the start of his scientific career, he was working to describe the theory of the strong interaction between quarks. Gradually, be became specialized in two research directions: theoretical ambiguities in forecasting quantum chromodynamics and the H1 experiment in DESY (in this accelerator experts studied electron-proton collisions to collect basic information about the structure of mass at short distances). Jiří Chýla also worked to prepare theoretical tools to describe photon-proton interactions.
In 2006–2011, this recognized researcher coordinated the Particle Physics Centre, which significantly influenced the development of the discipline. Besides that he was engaged in organizing efforts at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Academy itself. As the member of the Academy Assembly in 2009–2017 he was dealing with the issues of research policy – primarily with the relationship between the Czech Academy of Sciences and universities, and with legal issues related to the evaluation and the funding of science.
prof. RNDr. Ivan Pelant, DrSc.
Ivan Pelant was driven to the Institute of Physics of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences by his interest in the then novel topic of “glowing” silicone. At the Institute, he made use of his experience with experimental research of luminescence effects in solids and laser spectroscopy.
Later on, he initiated and supervised the founding of the time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy laboratory at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences and contributed to the development of different methods of preparing silicon nanocrystals that nowadays belong to the most unique nanomaterials.
Ivan Pelant has co-authored two patents, has been a grant recipient for a number of Czech and international grants, and has collaborated with lots of international research facilities (Paris, Canberra…). Along with his research at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, he, as a scientist and a lecturer, has cooperated with the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University – the institution he originally came from as a docent of experimental physics. Some of his PhD students have achieved significant awards. He, himself, received the Josef Hlávka Award for scientific literature (together with Jan Valenta) for a publication titled “Luminescence spectroscopy” in 2011.