Dějiny věd a techniky, No. 2, Vol. XLVII (2014)


DVT 141, 75
Věda a vědci v zrcadle denních (důvěrných) záznamů Bohumila Němce
Jan Janko

Science and scientists mirrored in daily (intimate) notes of Bohumil Němec.
From 1945 nearly till his death Bohumil Němec, probably the greatest Czech biologist of the 20th century, recorded comments and remarks about his experiences, meetings and dates, family events, weather and nature. The author selected interesting documents from the notes, preserved in the Archives of the Academy of Sciences CR, informing how B. Němec saw some events and personalities of his time.

Keywords: biology ● plant physiology ● 1950s and 1960s ● Czechoslovakia ● Bohumil Němec ● daily notes

Summary: Bohumil Němec remained „a magnate of science“ only as of tradition in 1950s and 1960s, but he was all the time the same as before and his Daily records demonstrate it in great and expressive style. Beside his Memories (issued by the ASCR Archives in 2002), written for publication, Němec was often inspired by the particular daily event to recall its genesis, to put down an entry of the delicate character about some personage that he did not wish to blazon. He viewed his life career skeptically though it was quite exceptionally fulfilled by his all­round creative energy as at very few other researchers of his period, and he was helped only by his conviction about transpersonal mission of knowledge, of science and their enduring trace in the history of mankind.

DVT 141, 91
Alchymista Petr Hlavsa ve službách Viléma z Rožmberka – pracovní postupy a technické vybavení laboratoria
Magda Dostálová

Alchemist Petr Hlavsa in services of Wilhelm von Rosenberg (Vilém z Rožmberka) – operational processes and technical equipment of laboratory.
The main theme of the study is alchemy developed at the court of Wilhelm von Rosenberg (1535–1592). It should give certain idea of reality in Rosenbergs laboratories. There is analysis of the correspondence of Petr Hlavsa, the alchemist and manager of Wilhelm von Rosenberg. Hlavsa was supposed to oversee all of the works in laboratories in Prague and Třeboň and to inform Wilhelm about achieved progress. Letters provide perspectives on alchemical operations, especially on transmutation techniques, and describe relationships between alchemists in Rosenbergs laboratories.

Keywords: alchemy ● early modern science ● mining and metallurgy ● Wilhelm von Rosenberg ● Petr Hlavsa of Liboslav ● Bavor Rodovský of Hustiřany ● Václav Březan

Summary: Letters analyzed in the article inform about everyday life in Rosenbergs laboratories during the years 1575–1576. Their writer, Petr Hlavsa, was hired by Wilhelm von Rosenberg to oversee all of the work in laboratories. The alchemical processes are not described in detail, yet we can get much information from the letters. It is evident that alchemical works were not always successful. Hlavsa used for example calcination, one of methods usually used to purify ores, as a method of transmutation. Connection between alchemy and metallurgy is interesting, too. Methods used by alchemists were applied to the separation of metals from ores, various assaying techniques examining the content of metals in ores or fineness of bullion were applied in the mines and in the laboratory. Chemicals used in laboratory were very important. Mercury and antimony were crucial of them. These chemicals were commonly used in the laboratories throughout europe, and significant european alchemists such as Michael Sendivogius or Roger Bacon wrote in their treatises how to employ them. Letters of Petr Hlavsa are very valuable sources for historians and research workers, and they help to gain an insight into everydayness of the early­modern alchemical laboratories in the Czech lands.


DVT 141, 111
Prosazování Newtonovy teorie ve Francii osmnáctého století a pokusy o její zpochybnění
Jiřina Krausová

Entomological history of Prague and research of the Prague entomofauna. The third part.
Assertion of Newton’s theory in France in 18th century and attempts to question it. Newton’s ideas didn’t prevail over Carthesianism quickly or easily and there was a long dispute between the supporters of both sides, motivated not only scientifically, but nationally and emotionally as well. French Newtonianism was not identical to Newton’s own ideas and had many specific attributes. It often overstepped the purview of science and became a part of popular culture. The essay concludes with an assessment of the particular contribution of French enlightenment researchers to the application of Newton’s theory.

Keywords: enlightenment ● France ● Newton ● Newtonianism ● 18th century ● Carthesianism ● history of science ● history of physics

Summary: The acceptation of Newton’s gravitational theory in eighteenth­century France was a long and gradual process. French Newtonianism showed many specific attributes. The most important testings of the law of gravity were disputes over the shape of the earth, lunar motion and the prediction of the return of Halley comet in 1758. In each of these cases the theory proved to be correct, even if some of the participants accepted it only after a very long time. especially after 1728 the terms of Newtonianism and Cartesianism were exactly defined and the argument between their defenders was transferred onto the academic ground. Pure Newtonianism or Cartesianism were rare, though, and most scientists were influenced by both movements. They often tried to include some of Newton’s opinions into Cartesian thinking and to reinterpret them. This was usual, for example, for some Newtonian popularizers in France, where his theory became a symbol of modernity and progress and was transferred into a general faith in a mechanistic world­view. A late attempt to falsify Newton’s theory was the long dispute over the so­called Coultaud’s experiment from 1769. French Newtonians contributed to the expansion of Newton’s theory into other fields of science and to the shift from geometrical toward analytic calculus.

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