Czech Academy of Sciences

The Czech Academy of Sciences

The Czech Academy of Sciences was founded in 1890 as the Czech Academy of Sciences and Arts (Ceská Akademie Veda Umeni). However there were several important earlier Societies which may be considered as predecessors of this Society. Most important was the Royal Czech Learned Society which was founded in 1784, making it the oldest learned society in the Austrian Empire. Before that there had existed the Private Society in the Czech Lands for the Development of Mathematics, History of the Homeland and Natural Sciences which had been founded in 1770.

In 1890 Emperor Franz Joseph issued a decree founding the Emperor Franz Joseph Czech Academy of Sciences, Letters and Arts. Following World War I, a declaration favouring political union of the Czechs and Slovaks was issued in 1918 and a democratic constitution was adopted on 29 February 1920. After difficult years during which much was ceded to Germany in the run up to World War II and through the war itself, a provisional government controlled the country until 1948 when the Communists took control. Czechoslovakia was forced to adopt the Soviet model of government. The Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences was founded in 1952. The Mathematical Institute of the Czech Academy of the Sciences and Arts had been established in 1947 and in 1950 it was reorganized to form the Central Mathematical Institute. After the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences was founded in 1952 the Mathematical Institute was incorporated into the Academy, which happened in 1953. Despite political pressure on the Academy, it still produced high quality work over this time.

In January 1977 a group of intellectuals signed a petition known as Charter 77 setting out their grievances against the government. Most were arrested but the protest gathered pace and a popular uprising, the Velvet Revolution, ended communist rule of Czechoslovakia in the autumn of 1989:-

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the Academy was the first scientific and research institution in the Czech Republic to separate its decision-making, control and executive functions ...

In 1992 the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic was established and at midnight on 31 December of that year Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. The Academy was given three divisions of which one is the Division of Mathematics, Physics, and Earth Sciences. It is based in Prague, as are 40 of its 60 research institutes:-

The Academy formulates its own scientific policy, advises the state on major issues of its research and development policy, administers national as well as international research programs, and promotes cooperation with both applied research and industry to foster technology transfer and exploitation of scientific knowledge.

The Mathematical Institute became one of the Institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 1993.

The Mathematical Institute publishes the leading mathematical journal Mathematica Bohemica. This has been published since 1872, first as Casopis pro pestovani matematiky a fyziky (Journal for Cultivation of Mathematics and Physics) from 1872 to 1950, and then as Casopis pro pestovani matematiky by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences from 1951 to 1990. From 1991 it was published as Mathematica Bohemica by the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, becoming a publication of the Czech Academy of Sciences in 1993.

The work of the present Mathematical Institute:-

... is devoted to basic research in mathematics, the relationship of mathematical disciplines to other fields of science and to applications. The Institute is concerned mainly with mathematical analysis (differential equations, numerical analysis, functional analysis, theory of functions, mathematical physics), probability theory and mathematical statistics, mathematical logic, theoretical computer science and graph theory, numerical algebra, topology (general and algebraic) and theory of teaching mathematics.

In addition to Mathematica Bohemica, the Mathematical Institute publishes the Czechoslovak Mathematical Journal which was founded in 1951 and Applications of Mathematics which was founded as Aplikace matematiky in 1956.


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JOC/EFR August 2004 School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland
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