DVT 201–2, 3 Editorial
DVT 201–2, 5
Ultra Columnas Herculis: Čtyři století od vydání Baconova Instauratio magna ● Jan Čížek
Ultra Columnas Herculis: Four centuries since the publication of the Instauratio magna by Francis Bacon.
Four hundred years ago, in 1620, Francis Bacon published his monumentally laid out (but never completed) work entitled Instauratio magna. From the point of view of the history of science, his original emphasis on the experimental and collaborative nature of (the emerging) science turned out to be the most lasting legacy of his work.
Keywords: Francis Bacon • Instauratio magna • natural philosophy • modern science • induction
Four hundred years ago, in 1620, Francis Bacon published his monumentally laid out (but never completed) work entitled Instauratio magna. As its frontispiece suggests, Bacon understood his treatise as a means to breach the symbolical Pillars of Hercules hampering, so far, the advancement of learning: analogically to a galleon on the engraving that represents the successful discoveries of the new world. Bacon’s idea of the advancement of learning cannot, nevertheless, be linked to the modern idea of scientific progress: for Bacon believed that the instauratio would ultimately result in the restoration of the perfect knowledge which Adam, the first man, had at the beginning of the Creation. Bacon was able to complete (although not entirely) only the second part of its Instauratio magna, Novum organum, which presents a new method for natural philosophy known as the eliminative induction. From the point of view of the history of science, however, his original emphasis on the experimental and collaborative nature of (the emerging) science turned out to be the most lasting legacy of his work.
Katedra filozofie Filozofická fakulta Ostravské univerzity
Reální 5, 701 03 Ostrava
DVT 201–2, 14
Poučení z korona-krizového vývoje ● Stanislav Komárek
Lessons from the Coronavirus Crisis.
In his typically essayistic style, the author analyses the state of society immediately before the outbreak of crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, during the crisis, and its impact, from the perspective of social psychology and culture criticism with numerous excursions into other interesting subjects and politics.
Keywords: COVID-19 • coronavirus crisis • history of the epidemic
This essay was written in the spring of 2020 during the coronacrisis, at a time of state-declared state of emergency and its gradual relaxation. The essay offers an immediate reflection on current events linked to thoughts on longer-term trends and impact. In the first part of considerations upon the state of society immediately prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the author takes his earlier book, Europe at a Crossroads (2015), as his starting point and discusses the trends that characterised our consumerist society in the past five years. He notes the clinging to life that lacks any foundation in values, unbounded consumerism, and extreme oversensitivity to artificially created problems. The arrival and course of the crisis is then described as a global sociological experiment grafted onto a relatively weak worldwide epidemic, an experiment one can view as a remarkable but also dangerous result of a synergy between the media and bureaucracy. He remarks on some specific features of social and governmental reaction in the Czech Republic (a messianic and dogmatic perception of the important of wearing face masks, etc.). He views the course of the crisis and its impact from the perspective of social psychology and culture criticism, with numerous asides into other subjects and politics. What he finds especially unsettling is the increasing and ever deeper real isolation of people that goes hand in hand with digitalisation on all fronts. The essay is formulated as a response to one fundamental question: which parts of our coronavirus history will persist in general awareness and which particular measures are likely to remain in place for an extended period of time?
Katedra filosofie a dějin přírodních věd
Přírodovědecká fakulta, Univerzita Karlova
Viničná 7, 128 44 Praha 2
DVT 201–2, 31
Alchymie v českých zemích I. První známky znalostí a rozšíření ve středověku ● Ivo Purš – Vladimír Karpenko
Alchemy in the Czech lands I. The first signs of knowledge and its further spread during the Middle Ages.
This work follows the acceptance of alchemy in the late medieval Czech lands where alchemy emerged approximately 100 years later than in Western Europe. The biggest progress of alchemy comes under the rule of Charles IV when new terms for alchemy and alchemist appear. Further development of alchemy was interrupted during the rule of Wenceslaus IV and the Hussite wars with the first Czech work on alchem being published no earlier than 1457.
Keywords: history of alchemy • Czech medieval science • Johannes Ticinensis • Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit
The advent of alchemy in the Czech lands during the Middle Ages is traced. The first signs appeared about a hundred years later than in western Europe, where it had been introduced by Arabic mediation by mid-12th century. In the Czech lands only indirect traces of alchemy can be detected for the earliest period, as demonstrated for example by signs of awareness of the works of Vincent of Beauvais and Aristotle. This new field of science was obviously not unknown to some of Bohemian kings of the period. For the rest of the 13th century there are no convincing proofs of alchemy being practiced in the Czech lands. It changed in the following century, chiefly during the reign of the emperor Charles IV (1316–1378), who donated alchemical manuscripts to the university he had founded 1348. Further spread of alchemy is documented in the works of Magister Claretus (? 1320–1370), a lexicographer, who included Czech terms for alchemy and alchemists into his dictionaries. King Wenceslaus IV, Charles IV’s son, knew alchemy, as judged from mentions recorded by his personal physician Albík of Uničov (? 1360–1426). Simultaneously the origin of alchemical iconography appeared. Prague archbishop Konrad of Vechta (1364–1431) was accused as “a sorcerer and alchemist” during the 1415 council at Constanz. At the same place Franciscan Ullmannus compiled an important, but not fully comprehensible Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit. At the beginning of the 15th century, several alchemical treatises, one in verse, appeared under the name Johannes Ticinensis, obviously a cleric. Hussite wars interrupted further development for several decades, but in 1457 the first Czech alchemical treatise Cesta spravedlivá (A Rightful Journey) appeared, attributed to Johann of Laz, who authored further works as well. The popularity of alchemy in aristocratic circles is confirmed by the prince Wenceslaus II of Opava, who possessed alchemical laboratorium in Prague, and Hynek of Poděbrady (1452–1492). This son of King Georg of Poděbrady ran a laboratory in Kutná Hora and two recipes of his ownership survived in a copy from the 18th century. They not only confirm his interest in alchemy, but also contacts with European noblemen exchanging information about alchemical processes.
Prof. RNDr. Vladimír Karpenko, CSc.
Katedra filosofie a dějin přírodních věd
Přírodovědecká fakulta UK
Viničná 7, 128 44 Praha 2
Mgr. Ivo Purš, Ph.D.
Ústav dějin umění AV ČR, v. v. i.
Husova 4, 110 00 Praha 1
DVT 201–2, 62
Fyzika v českých zemích mezi vědeckou revolucí a počátky osvícenství (1620–1750) ● Josef Smolka
Physics in the Czech lands between the scientific revolution and the beginnings of the enlightenment (1620–1750).
The article provides a succinct overview of the history of physics in the Czech lands in the period delimited by the events following the defeat of the Bohemian Revolt on one end and the start of the epoch of the Enlightenment on the other. After the counter-reformation, the period is marked by the dominance of the scholars of the Jesuit order. The author identifies the personalities of this time as well as the context of the research in natural philosophy, mechanics, optics, magnetism, and the vacuum.
Keywords: history of physics • Comenius • Jesuit physicist • Jan Marcus Marci • Balthasar Conrad • Theodor Moretus • Valerian Magni
The article written by the historian of the physical and exact sciences of the early modern era Josef Smolka (1929-2020) provides a succinct overview of the history of physics in the Czech lands from 1620 to 1750. This period is delimited by the events following the death of the Emperor Rudolf II (1612) and the defeat of the Bohemian Revolt on one side and the start of the epoch o the Enlightenment on the other. In the process of the „scientific revolution“ in the beginning of the 17th century, however, new physics was constituted as the last one, after mathematics and astronomy. The situation in the Czech lands was also heavily influenced by the radical recatholisation. Nobody followed up on the work Johannes Kepler did in Prague and the first treatise in physics was thus Physicae synopsis (Overview of physics, 1633) by the scholar in exile Jan Amos Comenius (1592–1670), published in Leipzig. Also in his further treatises, Comenius, in accord with his efforts to refom teaching and due to his protestant natural philosophy, combining noetics and the truth of the Bible, dealt with the composition of matter, movement, the problem of perpetuum mobile, or polemics with the philosophy of Descartes. Due to the influence of the Jesuits, though, his influence on physics in the Czech lands was hardly visible. Towards the end of the 1630s, physics began to flourish also in the Czech lands. In 1639, two treatises on physics were published: in Prague, Jan Marek Marci (1595–1667) published his treatise De proportione motus, seu regula sphygmica (On proportions in motion or the rule of the sphygm), in which he drew on the explorations of Galilei and predicted Newton’s Second Law of Motion, and in Olomouc, the Jesuit Balthasar Conrad (1599–1660) published the first treatise on optics, in which he dealt with the spectral colours of the rainbow. In the Jesuit order, optics belonged to the popular disciplines and the problem of the rainbow stimulated a discussion, which was revived later, and it was also a point of contention between Conrad and Marek, whose difficult work Thaumantias, Book on the Heavenly Bow (1648) plays an extraordinary role. Marek also further influenced several areas of physics and became a renowned scholar. The initiatives of Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) also had a significant influence on the Czech Jezuit cholars, especially after he organised an extensive international activity at the end of the 1630s, whose purpose was to find out the magnetic declination of the individual locations. Theodor Moretus (1602-1667), one of the best physicists in the Czech lands of that time, stood out among his many collaborators. Following the example of Kircher, Conrad also addressed European scholars with an open letter and invited them to co-operate on the improvement of the telescope. The problem of the origin of sources was also one of the key problems of mechanics of the time, because it was mainly considered a hydro-static problem. The first treatise devoted to the topic was written by Moretus. The Prague Capuchin Valerian Magni (1586–1661) stiumulated discussions of his experiments with the vacuum, although the question of its origin has not been resolved to this day. The described treatises and events are accumulated around mid-17th century and in its second half, the second post-Rudolphone generation withered away. Treatises on physics from this time, in contrast to the treatises on mathematics, from the end of the 17th centrury and the first half of the 18th centruy do not exist. One of the reasons lies in the fact that the official ideology of the Jesuit order was Aristotelianism, whose study was compulsory in all Jesuit colleges, although the results of the new experiments in physics rendered it unsustainable. In this posthumously published article, edited by the journal, the author not only summed up his knowledge from the point of view of a scholar, but also drew attention to the questions that are not yet resolved and offer opportunities fo further research.
History of Sciences and Technology – editorial office
Faculty of Science,
Viničná 7, 128 44 Praha 2
DVT 201–2, 84
Práce historika exaktních věd Josefa Smolky (1929–2020). Podíl na formování oboru a komentovaná bibliografie ● Tomáš Hermann
Práce historika exaktních věd Josefa Smolky (1929–2020). Podíl na formování oboru a komentovaná bibliografie.
Příspěvek se zabývá odborným působením a přínosem historika fyzikálních věd v českých zemích a jednoho ze zakladatelů časopisu Dějiny věd a techniky Josefa Smolky. První část shrnuje zejména Smolkův podíl na profesionalizaci oboru dějin věd v Československu v 50. a 60. letech 20. století. Druhá část přináší úplnou komentovanou autorskou bibliografii.
Keywords: Josef Smolka • bibliography • history of physics • historiography of science
Historik raně novověké fyziky, matematiky a techniky Josef Smolka (9. 10. 1929 – 14. 6. 2020) patřil k silné generaci tvůrců samostatného oboru dějin přírodních a exaktních věd v poválečném Československu. Smolkovo mnohaleté působení se přitom dělí do dvou period oddělených zhruba dvacetiletou cézurou v době tzv. normalizace, kdy musel vynuceně opustit vědeckou práci. Vědecky se profiloval doktorskou disertací o počátcích nauky o elektřině v českých zemích (1961), v jejímž středu stála osobnost Prokopa Diviše, svůj výzkum pak rozšiřoval k dalším tématům fyzikálních věd 17.–18. století, založených na novém studiu pramenů a zaměřených převážně k dobovým korespondenčním vazbám. Významné byly též Smolkovy organizační aktivity spojené se založením Společnosti pro dějiny věd a techniky a jejího časopisu, nebo s organizací mezinárodního sympozia věnovaného 300. výročí narození Jana Marka Marci, které se konalo v Praze v září 1967. Po sovětské okupaci v srpnu 1968 a navazujících prověrkách v roce 1970 byl propuštěn z Československé akademie věd. Po rehabilitaci po roce 1989 se postupně vrátil ke své badatelské práci, která od roku 2000 získala na nové intenzitě a přinášela nové původní výsledky. První část studie shrnuje zejména Smolkův podíl na profesionalizaci oboru dějin vědy v Československu v 50. a 60. letech 20. století v širším kontextu. Druhá část přináší úplnou komentovanou autorskou bibliografii Josefa Smolky.
Katedra filosofie a dějin přírodních věd Přírodovědecká fakulta UK
Viničná 7, 128 44 Praha 2