System predicted election outcome

Author : Jitka Jiřičková
Photo: Shutterstock, Ondřej Týbl,
Sunday, 17 October 2021 17:02

Czechs last week who followed the outcome of the election at as the results came in, benefitted from a predictive model designed by Associate Professor Marek Omelka and Ondřej Týbl from Charles University. The system they developed helped the scientists determine failry early on who had gained a majority in the lower house.

In French, it’s known as terrain vague – vague terrain, as in a wasteland or empty lot. But in reality it is any disused or largely inaccessible space, sometimes wild, sometimes industrial, where form and function stop. Social anthropologist Radan Haluzík and a group of fellow researchers and artists made vague terrain their subject of study for years.

An exobiologist seeking signs of life

Author : Marcela Uhlíková
Photo: Michal Novotny
Monday, 19 July 2021 20:06

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.

How genes influence athletic performance

Author : Pavla Hubálková
Photo: Martin Pinkas
Sunday, 13 June 2021 20:55

“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.

Vegetation change study in Science

Author : Pavla Hubálková
Photo: Shutterstock, R. Volfík, D.D. Egelkraut, M. Teunissen van Manen
Thursday, 03 June 2021 13:14

“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.

All kids wanted their own Leo or Rafael

Author : Marcela Uhlíková
Photo: J. Brejcha, P. Civiš, P.J. Juračka, M. Justiánová, V. Lukáš, A. Vačkář
Monday, 24 May 2021 09:04

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.

The Caucasus: A crossroads of civilisations

Author : Tereza Šindelářová
Photo: CU archive, Martin Rychlík
Friday, 14 May 2021 07:09

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.

From the Prebiotic phase to the building blocks of life

Author : Marcela Uhlíková
Photo: Hynek Glos, Science
Monday, 26 April 2021 05:08

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.

Starý: I’m one of the fortunate generation

Author : Pavla Hubálková
Photo: Martin Pinkas
Friday, 23 April 2021 09:57

“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. 

The chief, the Amazon & waters of the world

Author : Marcela Uhlíková
Photo: Hynek Glos
Sunday, 11 April 2021 21:40

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.

Ancient rotunda - A gem at the Faculty of Math and Physics

Author : Martin Rychlík
Photo: CU, NPÚ, Martin Frouz
Thursday, 08 April 2021 08:53

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.

Einstein in Prague - The path to discovery

Photo: Martin Pinkas, Shutterstock, archive
Monday, 05 April 2021 10:47

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.

Study: Many expectant mothers lean towards home birth

Author : Jitka Jiřičková
Photo: interviewee archives/CPA/Shutterstock
Thursday, 11 March 2021 07:49

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. 

A whale named Ilga

Author : Marcela Uhlíková
Photo: Vladimír Šigut
Friday, 19 February 2021 07:55

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.

Look who's listening: How babies learn languages

Author : Pavla Hubálková
Photo: Vladimír Šigut
Sunday, 14 February 2021 12:57

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.

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