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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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Luboš Perek is celebrating his 100th year

Founding fellow of the Learned Society and its doyen, astronomer doc. RNDr. Luboš Perek, DrSc, is celebrating his 100th birthday on 26 July 2019. He is an indelible part of history as the person who helped define cosmic space, he was the first to point out the issue of cosmic waste and was also a teacher to the most important Czechoslovak astronomers. Let us express our respect and admiration of the extraordinary scientific career of a person who worked tirelessly and continues to work. The Learned Society wishes Mr Perek health, optimism and joy in the oncoming years.


The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has appealed to the Hungarian President to support academic freedom

On Friday 19 July the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Learned Society of the Czech Republic sent a letter to Hungarian President János Ánder, in which they state their concerns regarding the situation in respect to management and funding of scientific activities in Hungary. An act, according to which not the Academy of Sciences, but a thirteen-member political committee, will decide on research, funding of scientific activities and establishment or closure of scientific workplaces, will come into force on 1 September.


The loss of Learned Society Fellow prof. Josef Koutecký

We regret to inform that prof. Josef Koutecký, a fellow of the Learned Society, a renowned physician and the founder of paediatric oncology in this country, passed away on 5 July 2019 at the age of 88. He founded paediatric oncology here in 1964 and a separate paediatric oncology department was then established at the Faculty Hospital in Motol, Prague in 1978.