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Svoboda Josef

Profesor, PhD, D.Sc. Hon causa
Born July 16, 1929 in Prague
Married, two children

  • Plant Ecology, arctic plant ecology, and arctic ecosystems structure and function.
  • Member of Learned Society since 2011

Educational and professional preparation

  • Student of Biology and Philosophy at Masaryk University, Brno 1948–49 (Studies interrupted due to 9 y. political imprisonment and rejection of new applications.) Continued at Charles University, Prague 1966–68.
  • B.Sc. (hon), University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, 1970.
  • PhD in Plant Ecology, University of Alberta, Edmonon, Alberta, Canada. 1974.
    Thesis: Primary production of a polar semi-desert at Devon Island, NWT, Canada. Advisor Prof. Laurence C. Bliss.
  • Visiting Researcher at the Albert-Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany, 1979–80

Employment and academic positions

  • 1994– Professor Emeritus
  • 1985–94 Professor, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Ont.
  • 1978–85 Associate Professor,
  • 1974–78 Assistant Professor. Appointed to Graduate School.
  • 1973–74 Visiting Assistant Professor, U. of Toronto at Mississauga, Ont.
  • 1965–68 Technician, Botanical Institute, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. Brno.

Membership and positions in international organizations and societies

  • Arctic Institute of North America (1972) a Fellow
  • The Ecological Society of America Membership Committee (1974–94)
  • Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (1973)
  • Society for the Study of Human Ideas on Ultimate Reality and Meaning (URAM), and Associate Editor, Biology Section of the URAM Journal (1985)
  • Botanical Society of the Czech Republic (1994–) Honorary member
  • Reviewer for Arctic and Alpine Research, Can. J. Botany, Ecoscience, J. British Ecological Society, etc., (ongoing).
  • Reviewer of research proposals for the US/NSF, NSERC, AINA, etc. (ongoing).

Notable awards

  • 2010 A ten-part series of broad-topic interviews (30 min ea.) broadcasted in April by the Czech Radio, Praha
  • 2010 A personal portrait “Nunatak” (25 min.) produced by the Czech Television in a series “Exemplary personalities”, broadcasted Sept. 20.
  • 2011 A biographical entry in a book: S. Štrbáňová a A. Kostlán (eds.): One hundred Czechs who made the difference abroad. Encyclopedia of prominent Scientists. (in Czech) Academia Praha
  • 1996 3rd annual J.L. Fischer lecture, Palacky University, Olomouc, Nov. 20. Invited speaker.
  • 1995 Honorary Doctorate of Biological Sciences & Golden Medal by the Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic
  • 1995 New Pioneers Award for Science and Technology. By Ontario Skills for Change. Toronto.
  • 1994 Northern Science Award & Centenary Medal. Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Government of Canada.
  • 1993 "Recognition” for meritorious work in the Arctic" by the Polar Section of the Czech Geographical Society. Brno.
  • 1992 - Canadian Who is Who
  • 1991 B. Crosariol: J.S. The triumphs of an arctic plant ecologist. In: Canadians who made a difference. Queen’s Quarterly Vol. 98: 80-100.
  • 1979 NATO Senior Science Fellowship.

Selected publications

  • Svoboda, J. 2011. Necessity and Freedom in Designs of Nature. In (Seckbach, et all., eds): Origins of Designs of Nature. Springer, N.Y. 19pp. September – In Press.
  • Svoboda, J. 2009. Evolution of Plant Cold Hardiness and its Manifestation along the Latitudinal Gradient in the Canadian Arctic. In: L.V. Gusta, M.Wisniewski, K.K. Tanino (eds.) Plant Cold Hardiness: From the Laboratory to the Field. pp.140-162. CAB International. 320 pp.
  • Svoboda, J. 2006. Life as an unfolding Biocosmos. A chapter in the book: J. Seckbach (ed.): Life as we know it. P. 431-444. Springer Verlag. New York.
  • Svoboda, J. 2001. Life, Ó Life, from where have you come? Where are you not? In: Algae and extreme environment. Nova Hedvigia, Beiheft 123. Inauguration paper p. 1-12.
  • Elster, Josef and Josef Svoboda. 1996. Algal Diversity, Seasonality, and Abundance, in and along Glacial Stream in Sverdrup Pass, 79°N, Central Ellesmere Island, Canada. Mem. Inst. Polar Res., Spec. Issue. 51: 99-118. Tokyo, Japan.
  • Svoboda, J. and B. Freedman, (eds.) 1994. Ecology of Polar Oasis Alexandra Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Canada. Captus University Publications. Toronto. 268 pp. (includes 14 co-authored papers)
  • Svoboda, J. and G.H.R. Henry. 1987. Succession in marginal arctic environments. Arctic and Alpine Research 19 (4): 373-384.
  • Svoboda, J. 1986. Plants of the High arctic: How do they manage? Chapter in a book: S. Milligan and W. Kupsch (Eds.): Living Explorers of the Canadian Arctic. Outcrop Northern Publ. Yellowknife. 194-225.
  • Svoboda, J., E.A. Hutchison Benson and H.W. Taylor. 1986. Arctic cushion plants as fallout monitors. Journal of Environmental Radiation. 4:65 76.
  • Bliss, L.C., J. Svoboda and D.I. Bliss. 1984. Polar Deserts, their cover and plant production in the Canadian High Arctic. Holarctic Ecology 7:305 324.
  • Svoboda, J. 1977. Ecology and Primary production of raised beach communities, Truelove Lowland. p.185 216. In: Truelove Lowland, Devon Island, Canada. High Arctic Ecosystem. L.C. Bliss (ed.) University of Alberta Press. 714 pp.

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XXV. General Assembly of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic

The ceremonial part of the XXV. General Assembly of the Learned Society, at which the Medals of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic Societas Scientarium Bohemica Ad Laudem et Honorem and the awards of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic in the “Young Scientist” and “Grammar School Student” categories were presented, took place on Monday 20 May 2019 in the Great Hall of the Carolinum.


Bolzano lecture by prof. Kip S. Thorne

American physicist Kip S. Thorne, recipient of the Nobel Prize for 2017 for detection of gravitational waves, visited Prague at the invitation of he Learned Society. He held a series of “Bolzano lectures” and a lecture titled “Creating Gravitational-Wave Astronomy” for the Learned Society on 15 May 2019 in the Blue Auditorium of the Carolinum. The lecture was held with the support of the Karel Janeček Foundation and was received very enthusiastically.


XXV. General Assembly

The Czech Learned Society is holding its XXV. General Assembly on 20 and 21 May 2019. The Learned Society’s awards in the “Young Scientist” and “Grammar School Student” categories, Teaching Awards for pedagogic workers who promote interest in science and research at grammar schools and the Learned Society’s medals for meritorious contributions to the advance of science will be presented during a ceremony on 20 May at the Karolinum. Lectures by renowned scientists will also be presented. The second day will be reserved for the working part of the meeting, in the building of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.