101 well-wishers took part in the seminar celebrating the 100th birthday of the physicist Martin Černohorský

This year, an exceptional seminar full of physics, memories and congratulations took place on the 100th birthday of Martin Černohorský, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Masaryk University’s (MU) Faculty of Science and Emeritus Rector of the University of Silesia in Opava. The seminar was jointly organised by the Brno branch association of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists and departments of physics of the MU Faculty of Science. Symbolically, 101 guests accepted the invitation to come to the hall at Kotlářská, where the celebratory meeting took place.

19 Sep 2023 Leoš Verner Kevin Francis Roche

Photo: Anežka Winklerová

Among the guests who came to personally greet the professor were the Senate Chairman of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, former student Prof. Černohorský and former high school physics teacher Miloš Vystrčil. The meeting was also attended by the Rector of Masaryk University, Martin Bareš, and Vice-Rector of the University of Silesia in Opava, Gabriel Török, along with representatives of the MU Faculty of Science and the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists. Physicists Jiří Grygar and Jana Musilová and the historians Tomáš Pavlíček and Paul Burnett also joined online from California. Most of the special guests were able to wish the professor well personally.

Martin Černohorský, the celebrant himself, gave the closing speech of the seminar. In his short speech, which he addressed to all present, he recalled both pleasant and less pleasant memories from his childhood and adolescence. “I am grateful for these experiences; they basically enriched me. Even as a child, I wondered what was happening and why”. He went on to briefly summarise the years of his youth and the following decades. "It was one stream of life. There were days full of light and favour, and days that weren’t; but I certainly can’t complain”. As he went on to note, it would be hard to choose one single thing that he would attach particular importance to in his 100 years. “There would certainly be a number of such things, as each of us certainly has our own memories of what we have experienced and what happened in such a way that it cannot be forgotten”, he added.

Professor Martin Černohorský with Marie Fojtíková and Jiří Grygar. Photo: Leoš Verner

I would like to wish you all, each individually and all together, that you may prosper in your personal life and that you may be successful in dealing with those difficult situations that, of course, must sometimes arise; that you may spend your life in good health until its long end, which is certainly not yet in sight. May you all be well. Vivat Academia, Vivant Profesores”, Professor Černohorský greeted all present in his typically humorous way at the end.

Professor Černohorský devoted himself to educational and scientific activities for three quarters of a century. In addition to his teaching work, he was also instrumental in the establishment and subsequent development of the University of Silesia in Opava, which he led as the first rector from 1992 to 1998. He was also instrumental in establishing the Czech Conference of Rectors, a platform that followed the Club of Rectors of Czech and Slovak Universities, of which the professor was chancellor.

Professor Černohorský later devoted himself to the promotion of physics. In 2005, he was involved in the organisation of a symposium, and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, in honour of the important theoretical physicist and Brno native, Georg Placzek. Subsequently, with the help of the Placzek Family Foundation in California, this resulted in the founding of the ‘Georg Placzek Scholarship for promising young physicists’, for high school graduates of the Czech Republic. There is even a planet that bears his name - Planet Cernohorsky (5268)!

Thanks to the financial donation that the professor gave to the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists, the ‘Martin Černohorský Award for Contributions to Physics Education’ has been established. Candidates for the award can either be nominated by other people, or they can submit a nomination on their own behalf, by 31 December 2023. More information here.


Photo: Anežka Winklerová

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