Společnost pro dějiny věd a techniky
Society for the History of Sciences and Technology

Abstracts of Papers

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Dějiny věd a techniky, No. 4, Vol. LI (2018)


DVT 184, 241
Zoologický ústav Německé univerzity v Praze mezi válkami
Petr Hampl

The Institute of Zoology of the German University in Prague During the Interwar Era.
This study follows the history of the Institute of Zoology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the German University in Prague between the world wars. It starts with its foundation (1855) and early years, describes its staff, main research directions, and the most important scientific results achieved by its staff. The author also describes the technical facilities and equipment both of this institute and affiliated research stations.

Keywords: History of zoology ● German University of Prague ● Carl I. Cori

This study traces the history of the Institute of Zoology of the Faculty of Natural Science of the German University in Prague. It maps its transformation from Friedrich von Stein’s cabinet of natural sciences into a separate institute at the recently divided Charles-Ferdinand University and later German University in Prague. Special attention is paid to the institute’s personnel composition in the course of its existence and to its scientific orientation, which significantly differed from zoology practiced at the Czech part of the university. German zoologists at the Prague university tended to focus on marine invertebrates, thus following in the footsteps of the most important representatives of German-speaking zoology, such as Ernst Haeckel and Carl Claus. Important personages of the Institute of Zoology included their students, such as Berthold Hatschek, Carl Isidor Cori, and Franz von Wagner-Kremsthal. After the First World War, a new generation of researchers added to developmental morphology and embryology, traditionally studied at the institute, also protistology and biophysical experimentation. Affiliated research stations also tended to focus on marine biology, protistology, eventually also pond-management. The institute ceased to exist with the Second World War. Part of its staff had to leave for political or racial reasons and the rump version of the institute was dissolved at the end of the war together with the German University in Prague. Most of its original staff continued in their careers outside the borders of liberated Czechoslovakia.

Author’s address:
Katedra filosofie a dějin přírodních věd PřF UK
Viničná 7
CZ-128 44 Praha 2

DVT 184, 263
Geografický ústav Německé univerzity v Praze
Jiří Martínek

The Institute of Geography of the German University in Prague.
This institute was one of the research centres of geography in Prague in late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth century. Although relatively small, employing mostly just one professor and one assistant, it left a mark on the history of geography in the Czech Lands.

Keywords: History of geography ● German University of Prague ● Fritz Machatschek ● Bernhard Brandt

The Institute of Geography of the German University in Prague came into existence when Dionis Grün, professor of geography, upon the split of the Charles-Ferdinand University (1882) chose to join the German university. His successors included Oskar Lenz, Alfred Grund, Fritz Machatschek, Bernhard Brandt, and Hans Spreitzer (who headed the institute during the Second World War). The institute resided in the Buquoy Palace (next to the historic Carolinum). Its only full-time employees were one professor and one assistant, and since the 1930s, also some Privatdozenten (assistant professors). This contribution describes the main turning points in the history of the institute, including changes brought about by political changes in the Czech Lands in the twentieth century, and the most important personalities of the institute.

Author’s address:
Historický ústav AV ČR, v. v. i.
Prosecká 76
190 00 Praha 9

DVT 184, 276
Počátky elektrifikace železniční dopravy na území České republiky
Radim Ječný

The Beginnings of Electrification of Railways in the Czech Republic.
The subject of this study is a historical analysis of the beginnings of electrical traction on Czech railways. The prevailing opinion in the up to date literature is that the electrification started only after the 1945 under the so-called socialistic development and all the preceding electrified railways were isolated projects only. The research in archive documents nevertheless shows that the electrification of the Prague junction in 1926–1928 was meant as the first step in construction of subsequent tracks. The realization of this project however could not proceed due to the economic and later international political crisis in the 1930s. The follow-up works started after the Munich agreement and the abandonment of the border area. This study pays detailed attention to contemporary discussions over suitable power supply system including international experience comparison.

Key words: History of railways ● Czechoslovak State Railways ● history of electrification ● direct current ● alternating current ● electric traction locomotive

After the electrification of Prague junction in 1928 the follow-up plans concerned at first the implementation of electric traction at Prague – Beroun – Zdice railway line. For needs of this new electric conveyance the Czechoslovak State Railways started to build a brand new railway yard (depot) at Libeň horní nádraží. Its planned capacity was already in 1928 up to 400 electric traction locomotives. Even though the economic crisis set up new priorities to the railway rationalization i.e. motorization, the activities of the Czechoslovak electro- technical industry continued.
After the signing of the Munich agreement these activities intensified including the discussions over the power supply systems. While in 1926 the direct current (voltage 1,5 kV) was chosen for the Prague junction, in 1938 the whole railway network was electrified under the direct current – voltage 3kV. This solution is still functional in parts of the railway network today. Should we compare international approach to the same problem, Czech railways managed to choose the best possible technological solution. Newly projected line Brno – Německý/Havlíčkův Brod was constructed already fully electrified and without facilities for steam engines. During the WWII period the electric traction spread even in Prague for the needs of cargo transportation.
The decision over the power supply solution, voltage 3 kV direct current, was – supported by evidence – taken already in 1938, even though its actual realization took place later in 1945.

Author’s address:
Katedra hospodářských dějin
Národohospodářská fakulta VŠE v Praze
Nám. W. Churchilla 1938/4
130 67 Praha 3-Žižkov

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