Professor Tomáš Zima, rector of Charles University, encouraged very emphatically all academia members to stand up for truth, protest against injustice, and always tell the right from the wrong. So he said on Thursday, April 6, during the celebration of the 669th anniversary of Charles University.
The ceremonial meeting of the academia to celebrate Charles University anniversary took place, as usual, in the Great Hall of the Carolinum. Rector Tomáš Zima used this opportunity to address the most important representatives of the university and other public institutions, and encouraged them all to be more active in the public space.
“It has always been the role of the university to show the right way not only to students and researchers, but also to the local and international community, and to the society in general. It’s extremely important to show the right way in the times when scientific facts are more and more frequently replaced by wishful thinking and fiction, and emotions prevail over sense,” said rector Zima during his speech. “The populists of all kinds, the right and the left, and political adventurists would want us not no leave our labs, libraries and studies, to be passive. But it’s necessary for us to become the indispensable critical voice in these rapidly changing times, when democracy is at risk of turning into e-cracy. And the e-cracy would invariably mean the end of the most precious values of the democratic society in many aspects.”
Another speech was made by the important philosopher Professor Jan Sokol, Dean emeritus of the Faculty of Humanities. In his speech, he discussed the differences between truth, mistakes and lies. “The topic of truth, mistakes and lies is rather hot for me for multiple reasons. It’s not always easy to tell the difference, but it’s of utmost importance for human life, and especially for science. Two years ago, we commemorated the death anniversary of our famous predecessor, Master Jan Hus, an eternal symbol of the fight for truth. A century ago, truth was something almost sacred in the Czech society; it was so important that President Masaryk used it as the slogan on his presidential flag. A hundred years have passed, and “truth” has become subject to doubts, and even to contempt and mockery. Many well-educated people avoid this word, or at least write it in quotation marks, to avoid compromising themselves. How could that have happened?”
As usual, the celebration of Charles University’s anniversary also involves the awards ceremony – Miloslav Petrusek Award for presentation, and Bedřich Hrozný Award for a creative deed.
This year, the Petrusek Award has been won by two teams. The first was the group from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, active in preservation and opening of the St. Wenceslas Rotunda on the Lesser Town Square in Prague. The second award went to the team of Charles University students who organized the commemoration of the 17th November anniversary at Albertov last year.
The Bedřich Hrozný Award for a creative deed was won by the team of the Faculty of Science, led by Associate Professor Vladimír Hampl, for the discovery of eukaryotes without mitochondria. The split second place went to Professor Michal Tomášek of the Faculty of Law and his book Legal Systems of the Far East I, and Associate Professor Petr Bartůněk together with Associate Professor Radek Ptáček, Ph.D., from the First Faculty of Medicine. Their feat was the set of six books on ethics in medicine, published gradually between 2011 and 2016.
For the first time ever, the research support Donatio Universitatis Carolinae was offered during the celebration to important researchers who largely contribute to the academic prestige of Charles University. The support was granted to the following researchers: Professor Miroslav Bárta, Egyptologist; Professor Pavel Martásek, director of the research center BIOCEV and one of the most important representatives of the Czech biomedical science; Professor Petr Pokorný, Biblicist; Professor Jana Roithová, Ph.D., chemist, and Professor MUDr. Petr Widimský, cardiologist.
Miloslav Petrusek Award for presentation
Representatives of the student chamber of Charles University Academic Senate, and representatives of Charles University student associations, for the organization of the commemoration of the 17th November anniversary at Albertov: Bc. Miroslav Čermák, MUDr. Josef Fontana, Mgr. David Hurný, Drahomír Kolenčík, Mgr. Peter Korcsok, Lukáš Kostínek, David Megvinet and Mgr. Michal Zima.
Members of the research team of the project “Preservation and Opening of St. Wenceslas Rotunda on the Lesser Town Square”: Martin Vlach, Ph.D., project leader and Vice-Dean of Faculty of Mathematics and Physics; Jarmila Čiháková, head of the archaeological research (National Heritage Institute) and academic painter Tomáš Rafl, senior restorer (Gema Art Group a.s.).
Bedřich Hrozný Award for a creative deed
1st place: team of the the Faculty of Science, Charles University, for the discovery of first known eukaryotes without mitochondria – protozoan Monocercomonoides: Associate Professor Vladimír Hampl, Ph.D., Anna Karnkowska, Ph.D., Mgr. Vojtěch Vacek, Mgr. Zuzana Zubáčová, Ph.D., Sebastian Cristian Treitli, M.Sc., Mgr. Lukáš Novák, Mgr. Vojtěch Žárský, Mgr. et Mgr. Petr Soukal and Mgr. Pavel Doležal, Ph.D.
The split 2nd/3rd place goes to: Professor Michal Tomášek, DrSc., Faculty of Law, Charles University – the book Legal Systems of the Far East I, and Associate Professor Petr Bartůněk, together with Associate Professor Radek Ptáček, Ph.D. (First Faculty of Medicine), for the set of six books on ethics in medicine.
Research support Donatio Universitatis Carolinae
prof. Miroslav Bárta, Dr.
prof. MUDr. Pavel Martásek, DrSc.
prof. ThDr. Petr Pokorný, DrSc., Dr.h.c.mult.
prof. Mgr. Jana Roithová, Ph.D.
prof. MUDr. Petr Widimský, DrSc.
Text: Helena Zdráhalová
Photo: René Volfík
Translation: Rani Tolimat
Date: 6 April 2017