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Švestka Zdeněk

Doc., RNDr, DrSc
Born September 30, 1925 in Prague

  • Solar physics, specialization solar activity,
  • study of solar activity from satellites and space probes.
  • Honorary member of Learned Society since 1995

Educational and professional preparation:

  • 1945, Graduate (after forced labour), secondary school, Prague XII (Slovenská St.);
  • 1945-1949, student, astronomy and theoretical physics, Charles University (CU), Prague;
  • 1949, RNDr.;
  • 1953-1955, post-graduate student, Astronomical Institute, Czechoslovak Academy of sciences (CSAS); 1956, CSc.;
  • 1965, Assistant Professor of astronomy,
  • 1966, DrSc.

Employment and academic positions:

  • 1949-1952, State Observatory, Prague;
  • 1953-1970, Institute of Astronomy, CSAS in Ondřejov (from 1956, Head, Solar Department);
  • 1970-1972, Visiting Scientist; European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), Noordwijk (The Netherlands);
  • 1972-1974 Visiting Scientist, Fraunhofer Institut, Freiburg (FRG);
  • 1974-1977, American Science and Engineering, Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA);
  • 1977-1990, Principal Scientist, Laboratory for Space Research, Space Research Organization Netherlands (SRON), Utrecht (the Netherlands);
  • 1979-present, Research Scientist, Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, University of California at San Diego (USA); prior to 1990 and to present, parttime, non-salaried

Membership and positions in selected scientific bodies:

  • 1964-1970, President, Commission 10 (Solar activity), International Astronomical Union (IAU)
  • 1965-1970, Vice-chairman (in 1968 Substituting Chairman), the Collegium, CSAS for astronomy, geophysics, geodesy and meteorology
  • 1966-present, editor, Solar Physics (published in the Netherlands)
  • 1966-1978, Representative of IAU in Scientific Committee on Solar- Terrestrial Physics (SCOSTEP) organization
  • 1967-1970 Chairman of Czechoslovak Committees of Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), that was established by International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU, now IC for SU) and of CSAS’ Scientific Committee for Solar-Terrestrial Physics)
  • 1968, Chairman, Program Committee for Symposium “Solar Flares and Space Research” in Tokyo
  • 1975-1985, organizer of four workshops of “Flare Build-up Study” project in USA: (1975 Falmouth; 1977 Boulder; 1983 Big Bear) 1983, National Solar Observatory, Sacramento Peak, California (USA)
  • 1981-1987, Representative of the Netherlands in SCOSTEP organization
  • 1990, Chairman, Program Committee for COSPAR Congress in the Hague
  • 1991, Chairman, Program Committee, I.A.U. Colloquim, “Eruptive Solar Flares” in Argentina
  • 1994-1997, Member, Evaluation Committee, Academy of Sciences of Czech Republic

Notable awards:

  • 1962, Czechoslovak State Award (head of a team)
  • 1968, The Guggenheim Award in Astronautics, New York
  • 1968, Corresponding and (in 1986) regular member, International Academy of Astronautics, Paris
  • 1991, Honorary Member of SCOSTEP, Vienna
  • 1995, Gold Medal of CSAS (for contributions to the development of the physical sciences)
  • 1998, Asteroid discovered at Kleť named “Švestka“.
  • 2002, František Nušl award, Czech Astronomical Society

Selected publications:

  • 230 scientific publications between 1948 and 2003, including:
  • Spectral Analysis of Solar Flares. Adv. Astron. Astrophys. 3, 119-239 (1965)
  • The Phase of Particle Acceleration in the Flare Development. Solar Phys. 13, 471-89 (1970)
  • Spectra of Solar Flares, Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 10, 1-25 (1972)
  • The Hα Flare as a Secondary Product of a Coronal Instability. Solar Phys. 31, 389-400 (1973)
  • Solar Flares, D. Reidel Publ. Co., Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 399 pages (1976)
  • Flare Observations, Chapter 2 in the book Solar Flare Magnetohydro-dynamics. Gordon and Breach, New York/London, pp. 47-137 (1980)
  • Revivals of a Coronal Arch. Solar Phys. 94, 171-192 (1984)
  • Multi-Thermal Observations of Newly Formed Loops in a Dynamic Flare (Švestka and 5 co-authors). Solar Phys. 108, 237-250 (1987)
  • Large-Scale Active Coronal Phenomena in Yohkoh SXT Images, IV. Solar Wind Streams from Flaring Active Regions. (Švestka, Fárník and Hick) Solar Phys. 182, 179-193 (1998)
  • Solar Activity, Chapter 13 in the book Dynamic Sun. Cambridge University Press, pp. 238-261 (2003)

Also the author of three books in Czech published by the Publishing House of CSAS:

  • Slunce a jeho vlivy na Zemi (The Sun and its Effects on the Earth), with F. Link (1953),
  • Hvězdné atmosféry (Stellar Atmospheres) (1954),
  • Mezihvězdná hmota (Interstellar Matter) with V. Vanýsek (1957)
  • Astronomický a astronautický slovník (Astronomical and Astrophysical Dictionary) with J. Kleczek, Orbis Publishing House

Editor of four Proceedings of international symposia and colloquia

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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.