Czech Science


Czech Republic to support research in nanotechnology. Czech high-school students succeed in international science competitions. "St Wenceslas" mushroom kills fir trees. Bat populations increasing in Sumava Mountains.

Czech Republic to support research in nanotechnology

The government is going to discuss a new scientific programme on Wednesday called "Nanotechnologies for Society". The programme should secure financing for research in this hot new field that works with matter at the level of atoms and molecules. According to the president of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Vaclav Paces, the programme should also help coordinate research in different institutes and enable them to invest in joint projects. The Academy will earmark almost two billion crowns for the programme in the next seven years. Last year, scientists at the Technical University in Liberec developed a breakthrough technology enabling commercial production of nanofibres that can be used to produce filters, protective garments, wound dressings and breathing masks among other things.

Czech high-school students succeed in international science competitions

Although interest in studying science may be declining among young people in the Czech Republic, Czech students continue to achieve outstanding results in international competitions, such as the four Czech high-school students who took part in the 37th International Chemistry Olympiad in Taipei, Taiwan. Eva Pluharova from the western town of Ostrov nad Ohri ranked sixth among the 225 participants which qualified her for a gold medal. Two of the four Czechs got a silver and one a bronze medal. Earlier this year Czech high-school student Zuzana Tvaruzkova came first in the botanic category at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona and Jan Svab from Prague placed fourth and was awarded a special mention in the competition for his technical project.

"St Wenceslas" mushroom kills fir trees

Experts from the Forestry Research Institute have discovered the source of problems plaguing fir trees in the forests of the Moravian district of Vsetin. The main reason why the trees are withering is the popular edible mushroom Vaclavka, a form of honey fungus (Armillariella mellea). It lives in dead and decaying roots but its underground parts can invade also new roots of living trees - which was the case in the Vsetin district. The affected firs were then attacked by swarms of silver fir bark beetles which completed the work of destruction. The dry trees will have to be felled and removed from the forest as soon as possible. In Czech, vaclavka means the St Wenceslas mushroom, because they are usually ready for picking around St Wenceslas day on the 28th of September.

Bat populations increasing in Sumava Mountains

The Sumava Mountains National Park is inviting the public for bat watching nights. According to the park management, around 15 different bat species have been monitored in the Sumava Mountains, including some rare types such as Bechstein's bat or Leisler's bat. Bat populations are slightly increasing in the region also thanks to a reduction in the use of chemicals. Using a special detector visitors to the park will be able to listen to the bats' ultrasound signals during the bat watching nights.