Research Areas

Research Areas

I. Mathematics, Physics and Earth Sciences

1. Section of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science

Research in physics covers a broad spectrum of problems ranging from the basic constituents of matter and fundamental laws of nature to the detection and processing of experimental data from large accelerators. It also includes high-pressure, low-temperature, plasma and condensed matter physics, non-linear optics, and nuclear physics of low and medium energies. Astrophysical research is primarily concerned with solar physics, solar flares, dynamics of solar system bodies and the formation of stars and galaxies.

The realm of mathematics and computer science covers highly abstract disciplines, such as logic and topology, differential equations and their numerical solutions and statistical methods. Even the purely theoretical investigation of neural networks, optimization and numerical modelling is frequently motivated by concrete problems of the natural sciences with applicable results.

The section is comprised of six institutes having a total of 1,270 employees, of whom 690 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Astronomical Institute of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Physics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Mathematics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Computer Science of the CAS, v. v. i.
Nuclear Physics Institute of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Information Theory and Automation of the CAS, v. v. i.

2. Section of Applied Physics

In this section, the investigation of macroscopic properties and new structures of solid, liquid and plasma bodies is based on basic laws of physics. Detailed investigation of microstructures and microprocesses helps to solve problems of material science, such as the mechanics and dynamics of defects, composites, and structures and biomechanics. Modelling of spatially highly structurized flows of various fluids, investigation of hydrodynamics of the biosphere, and plasma processing is also often target-oriented. High-temperature plasma research mainly includes pulsed power systems and problems of confinement and heating of a plasma in tokamaks.

Research in applied physics is often interdisciplinary and finds application in various science and technology areas. For example, synthesis of highly natural and intelligible Czech speech is an important goal of digital signals processing. Unique techniques are used also in the spectroscopy and electron microscopy of living objects.

The section is comprised of seven institutes having a total of 790 employees, of whom 410 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Institute of Photonics and Electronics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Physics of Materials of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Plasma Physics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Hydrodynamics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Scientific Instruments of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Thermomechanics of the CAS, v. v. i.

3. Section of Earth Sciences

Research in the earth sciences is concentrated in two main areas: global-continental and local-regional. Global-continental research focuses on geophysical and geological problems of the composition, structure and evolution of the terrestrial body itself, including its envelopes. Local-regional research is centered on features of the inner structure of the territory of the Czech Republic, which represents a geological formation unique in Europe.

The history of the Bohemian and Moravian terranes, oscillations in climate, and environmental changes in the most recent geological past are of increasing interest, as well as paleomagnetism, paleontology, and processes in the rock massifs induced by anthropogenic activities. The causes of induced seismic waves are studied, contamination of soils and sediments mapped, and suitable locations for possible radioactive waste depositories are sought and investigated.

The transient and upper layers of the atmosphere along with the Earth's closer surroundings are investigated chiefly in connection with the physics of the Earth's gaseous envelope. Forecasts of climate and long-term changes in atmospheric circulation focus primarily on the region of Central Europe.

The section is comprised of five institutes having a total of 480 employees, of whom 250 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Institute of Geophysics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Geology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Geonics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics of the CAS, v. v. i.

II. Life and Chemical Sciences

4. Section of Chemical Sciences

Chemical research continues in the tradition of such distinguished Czech chemists as Rudolf Brdicka, Jaroslav Heyrovsky, Frantisek Sorm and Otto Wichterle. In physical chemistry, theoretical as well as experimental, research is oriented toward the selected fields of chemical physics, electrochemistry, and catalysis. Inorganic chemistry is directed at the preparation and characterization of new compounds and materials, such as boranes. Research in organic chemistry and biochemistry focuses on medicine, biology and ecology, seeking to synthesize new potential medicaments, especially anti-virals. Macromolecular chemistry involves developing, preparing and characterizing new polymers for use in biomedicine, such as those for contact lenses and the separation of compounds. Analytical chemistry is also directed at separation techniques, but on a microscale in capillaries and in spectral methods. Thermodynamics and phase behaviour of fluids, dynamics of multiple phase reacting systems, homo- and heterogeneous catalysis, and modern separation methods are studied in the domain of chemical engineering science.

The section is comprised of six institutes having a total of 970 employees, of whom 550 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Institute of Analytical Chemistry of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals of the CAS, v. v. i.
J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS, v. v. i.

5. Section of Biological and Medical Sciences

The aim of research in this section is to increase knowledge about processes in living organisms, from the molecular and cellular levels to the whole organism. Biophysical research is oriented toward studies of DNA - protein interaction and the effect of environmental factors on organisms. In molecular genetics and cell biology, signalling pathways which trigger target reactions and the responses of the target genes to these signals are investigated; special attention is paid to cell mechanisms of immune responses. Studies of microbial genomes and processes lead to modern technologies for preparing metabolites with defined biological effects. Research in mammalian and human physiology and pathophysiology is centered on cardiovascular physiology, neurosciences, physiology of reproduction and embryology, aimed at creating theoretical bases of preventive medicine. In entomology, insects are studied both as common pests, but also as model objects, as in the case of the silk moth. Research in experimental botany is oriented toward genetics, physiology and pathophysiology, as well as modern plant biotechnologies.

The section is comprised of seven institutes having a total of 1195 employees, of whom 580 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Institute of Biophysics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Biotechnology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Physiology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Experimental Botany of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Experimental Medicine of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Molecular Genetics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics of the CAS, v. v. i.

6. Section of Bio-Ecological Sciences

Research in this section is concentrated on interactions between organisms and environment, and also between organisms. Studies involve earth ecosystems, water ecosystems and parasite-host systems. Investigations are carried out mostly on the territory of the Czech Republic, and contribute to the bio-ecological mapping of the country. Long-term observations focus on typical ecosystems in selected localities studied from the point of view of geobotany, hydrobiology, soil biology, chemistry and microbiology, and on the eutrophization of selected lakes and dams. Taxonomy of higher and lower plants, especially of algae, is investigated and the information is used by conservationists. The Institute of Botany oversees the care of Pruhonice Park, an important part of Czech natural and cultural heritage.

The section is comprised of four institutes having a total of 595 employees, of whom 280 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Biology Centre of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Botany of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Global Change Research Institute of the CAS, v. v. i.

III. Humanities and Social Sciences

7. Section of Social and Economic Sciences

Since 1989 Czech society has been undergoing a profound and diverse transformation. Besides carrying out basic research, a topical project pursued by the Institutes which form this Section is to analyse this ongoing societal process. Evaluation of the results of changes taking place in the country´s economy, research into opened problems of the further economic development, study of the transformation of the social structure of the Czech Republic, theoretical bases of the new legal system, significant questions of the psychology of personality and social psychology - these are the main issues investigated in the framework of the social sciences and discussed extensively with the whole society of the Czech Republic. Many of these subjects are studied using a method of comparison with other countries of Central Europe where analogous societal changes are taking place. Necessary prerequisites and possible consequences of the Czech Republic´s entry into the European Union are also studied. The restored Masaryk Institute is primarily engaged in critical editing and publishing the collected works of this country´s first President, Professor T. G. Masaryk. Also included in this Section is the Main Library of the Academy, the third largest library in the Czech Republic, which contains 960.000 volumes and serves a large professional public.

The Section is comprised of four institutes having approximately 260 employees of whom about 150 are graduate research scientists.

Institutes:

Main Library of the CAS, v. v. i.
Economics Institute of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Psychology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Sociology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of State and Law of the CAS, v. v. i.

8. Section of Historical Sciences

The main purpose of these institutes is to study Czech history within a broader international context. Two Archaeological Institutes (one in Prague and the other in the Moravian city of Brno) are engaged in research of the primeval and medieval history of Bohemia and Moravia and in the study of the central parts of the Danube region from the Palaeolithic age to the era of Great Moravia. Besides applying traditional methods and salvage field research, this section has also been developing the branch of research known as spatial archaeology. Historical research, also represented by two institutes, is focused on selected eras of Czech history since the early Middle Ages. A comprehensive large-scale research project to prepare a "Biographic Dictionary of the Czech Lands" is now underway. A critical edition of previously inaccessible historical records and sources is of great importance for the study of the country's modern history, notably mapping the key events of the years 1938-1945, 1948 and 1968. Art history research has been devoted to completing the multi-volume "History of the Czech Fine Arts" and "Topography of Art History Monuments". A research project tracing Czech musical culture is making a sizeable contribution to learning and protecting Czech cultural heritage. The history of science, scientific institutions and leading scientists continue to be a focus of study within the framework of the Archive of the Academy of Sciences.

The section is comprised of six institutes having a total of 410 employees, of whom 240 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Institute of Archaeology of the CAS, Brno, v. v. i.
Institute of Archaeology of the CAS, Prague, v. v. i.
Institute of History of the CAS, v. v. i.
Masaryk Institute and Archives of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Art History of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Contemporary History of the CAS, v. v. i.

9. Section of Humanities and Philology

Research projects carried out by the institutes of this section are also of considerable importance for the preservation and advancement of culture and education throughout the nation. In literary science, researchers have been taking a new look at the post-war period of Czech literature, including the samizdat and exile literature. Classical studies, on the other hand, are focused on Latin literature, analysing the available lists of old literary documents in our country to the year 1800. Linguistics converges on research on the national language and its historical development. Philosophy has been involved in the study of the twentieth century philosophical schools - phenomenology and existential philosophy as well as analytical philosophy and the theory of science. The Institute of Philosophy is also evaluating the heritage of such great Czech thinkers as Jan Amos Komensky (Comenius) and Jan Patocka. Oriental studies, a branch which has enjoyed a long tradition in our country, have been dealing with Oriental languages and the history and culture of the Near East, India, China and the broader Arab world. Apart from the traditional subjects concerning material and spiritual folk culture, ethnography and folklore studies have tackled issues concerning different ethnic groups and their emigration, re-emigration and adaptation into the Czech milieu.

The section is comprised of six institutes having a total of 360 employees, of whom 250 are graduate research workers.

Institutes:

Institute of Ethnology of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Philosophy of the CAS, v. v. i.
Oriental Institute of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Slavonic Studies of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of Czech Literature of the CAS, v. v. i.
Institute of the Czech Language of the CAS, v. v. i.