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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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Reaction to the case of Tomáš Hudlický: Members of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic support the freedom of expression

„We believe that free exchange of ideas is a key condition for the pursuit of truth and that the honest opinions should be scrutinized, challenged or rebutted but not censored or suppressed,“ say 45 members of the Learned Society in a statement regarding the retracted opinion paper by Prof. Tomáš Hudlický.


The letter by Jan Konvalinka to the President and Vice-Chancellor of the Brock University regarding the retracted article of Prof. Tomáš Hudlický

Opinions could and should be challenged, questioned or refuted but never silenced. In order to be able to think, we have to have the right to inquire, question and even offend or be mistaken,” writes Assoc. Prof. Jan Konvalinka, a biochemist at the IOCB Prague and the Vice-Rector of the Charles University, to Gervan Fearon.


Prof Miroslav Bárta receives the Česká hlava National Government Award

Learned Society member, Prof. Mgr. Miroslav Bárta, Dr. (Charles University Faculty of Arts) received the Česká hlava (Czech Head) National Government Award on 25 November 2019. A renowned Czech Egyptologist and archaeologist, Professor Bárta researches the history of ancient civilisations, the human relationship to the natural environment, and also for many years the evolution of complex societies. He leads the Czech Institute of Egyptology for archaeological and environmental research in Egypt and Sudan. His principal research interest is the period of the pyramid builders of the Old Kingdom.