The Ernst Mach Honorary Medal for Merit in the Physical Sciences


The Ernst Mach Honorary Medal
for Merit in the Physical Sciences

presented by the Czech Academy of Sciences


This medal was established on December 12, 1995 to recognise outstanding scientific results achieved in the field of physics.

Ernst Mach (1838–1916) ranks among the most eminent personalities in science at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. His research interests included primarily experimental research in optics, mechanics and wave dynamics. However, he also made important contributions to the physiology of sensation and perception, the philosophy of nature and science, as well as to other areas of science. In 1867, he became Professor at Charles University in Prague, being the leading personality of experimental physics there for the next 28 years. He is considered to be the founder of modern physics in Bohemia. It was the most productive research period in his life. He developed optical and photographic techniques used to study sound waves propagation. He established the principles of supersonics. The number which characterises motion of body through media and a cone of the shock wave were named after E. Mach. His criticism of Newton mechanics prepared the way for the Einstein’s theory of relativity.

E. Mach’s principal scientific works concerning the field of physics are published in several volumes, as follows: “Die Geschichte und die Wurzel des Satzes von der Erhaltung der Arbeit,” “Optisch-akustische Versuche,” “Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwicklung historisch-kritisch dargestellt,” “Die Prinzipien der Wärmelehre,” “Die Prinzipien der physikalischen Optik,” and “Arbeiten über Erscheinungen an fliegenden Projektilen.”

The portrait side of the medal was designed by academic sculptor Prof. Jiří Harcuba and the reverse side by academic sculptor Jaroslav Veselák.

List of awarded medals