Jan Jehlička is a pioneer of the new 21st century discipline of exobiology. Together with colleagues, and using advanced devices such as Raman spectrometers, he searches for answers to questions such as: Does life exist beyond planet Earth? Did it exist in the past? Last year he won Charles University’s Donatio award.
“Genetic testing makes sense in combination with other biochemical markers and various sensors for individual training. But there is no way it should lead to conclusions such as if you don’t have a sprinter’s genes, give up running,” says Associate Professor Miroslav Petr from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sports.
“We expected the biggest changes in vegetation to be at the end of the Ice Age. Instead, we were surprised they were in the last four thousand years," says paleoecologist Petr Kuneš of the Faculty of Science. Kuneš and fellow experts' findings were published in the prestigious scientific journal Science.
Turtles originated more than 200 million years ago but three-quarters of turtle species today are endangered. Jindřich Brejcha, a zoologist at the Faculty of Science, told us more about the fascinating reptile and efforts to help. May 23 was World Turtle Day.
Stunning landscapes, diverse in languages, home to different cultural traditions: all that and more are the Caucasus bridging Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The region has long been the focus of Faculty of Arts’ Associate Professor Petra Košťálová.
As a scientist Lukáš Petera is interested in whether the bombardment by asteroids and comets in the early days of the solar system led to the start of life on Earth. For his thesis on the subject he received the prestigious Werner von Siemens Award in March.
“When I started, the chances of curing the most common types of paediatric leukaemia were around 20 percent – today it is up to 90 percent. Not every doctor gets to live to see that,” says Professor Jan Starý, a paediatric haematologist at Charles University’s Second Faculty of Medicine and Motol University Hospital.
In jest, he says that a recent Amazon exhibition in Prague’s Carolinum came together only by accident, after he came across a box containing Peru’s highest state honour while cleaning up. Back in 2007, Charles University’s Bohumír Janský became the first foreigner to receive the honour.
A new book provides a fascinating look at how restoration teams revived a unique rotunda from the 11th century (dedicated to St. Wenceslas). The book was edited by Jarmila Čiháková and Martin Müller and published by the National Heritage Institute.
It has been 110 years since Albert Einstein arrived in Prague for his tenure as a professor of theoretical physics – 16 months in his life that were often overlooked. Einstein in Bohemia by historian Michael D. Gordin changes earlier perceptions, showing that it was in Prague that Einstein shifted full-time to the study of gravity.
The debate over whether to give birth in hospital or at home is one that has continued in the Czech Republic for years. Sociologist Anna Pospěch Durnová wanted to get to the heart of the issue and headed extensive research to find out what influenced expectant mothers' decisions.
It was apparent that the complete but darkened skeleton of a small whale at the Museum of Human and Comparative Anatomy would eventually fall apart. But restorers achieved something remarkable: returning the skeleton – one of only two in the Czech Republic – to its former glory, while also preserving soft tissue. The team was headed by anthropologist and anatomist Andrej Shbat.
Kateřina Chládková is one of the few researchers in the world who study the earliest stages of language acquisition, which means she is often in contact with babies – even in the maternity ward. Her aim is to find out how we learn to speak from the very first moments of life.
TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has been searching the sky for exoplanets outside our solar system since 2018. Charles University’s Petr Zasche was part of the international team that made a new sensational find: an eclipsing six-star system.
Sleep is Karel Blahna’s focus of research. At the Biomedical Center at Charles University’s Faculty of Medicine in Plzeň, he looks into how the brain’s sleep activity changes in sickness and health. He was able to put together a team and conduct research thanks to support from CU’s Primus programme.
FORUM EN10 1/2021
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