This Wednesday saw a conference in Prague called I, Robot, (Já, robot) bringing together researchers in both the public and private spheres to debate advances in robotics and artificial intelligence. One of the participants was Olga Afanasyeva, the COO of the Prague-based start-up GoodAI, which has been profiled by publications like The Economist, Forbes and also Radio Prague. Much of the discussion focussed on the future “just around the corner” or already here.
Karina Movsesjan, a high school student from the Czech Republic, received one of the first three prizes in the EU Contest for Young Scientists established by the European Commission. Karina won the award for her research project “The role of RAD51 mutations in cancer development” for which she has already picked up prizes in the Czech Republic and the United States.
In the debate about climate change, climate is often seen as the given – the main factor that is impacting nature and, of course, people. But, it’s a two way street with scientists increasingly aware of how local and regional changes are dramatically changing local environmental conditions and plants and animals as well. And that was the main theme as a host of Czech experts were brought together by the Czech Academy of Science in Prague this week.
A team of scientists from Brno University of Technology is getting ready for an upcoming expedition to monitor and record a total solar eclipse which will be visible across the continental United States on August 21. The team is particularly interested in studying the sun’s magnetic field and the distribution of ions in the solar corona.
Czech scientist Antonín Holý, who played an important role in creating drugs to treat HIV and AIDS, died five years ago this week -on July 17, 2012. Among his biggest achievements was the drug Tenofovir used to treat HIV sufferers that has helped millions of people the world over. In developing the drug Holý worked closely with the Belgian virologist Erik De Clercq. Prof. De Clercq gave Czech Radio’s correspondent in Brussels Filip Nerad an interview recalling his collaboration and personal friendship with Antonín Holý.
There are a handful of Czechs who are part of the booming hi-tech new economy on the US West coast and more specifically in Silicon Valley. But few could boast a career that over the last decade has been littered with the names of so many of the large multinational US companies in the forefront of technology and its applications as Zlín native David Pavlík. His career has jumped from Microsoft, to Amazon, multinational pay for film company Netflix, and currently the private company at the cutting edge of the new space race, SpaceX.
The Czech Republic has appointed its second diplomat tasked with boosting Czech innovation and research. The country’s second appointee is Luděk Moravec, and he will be posted to the United States. Mr Moravec, who is 37, has until now worked in the security, research and education department of the Interior Ministry. He is scheduled to start in his new job by the end of July. I asked Mr Moravec what he sees as the main priorities of his job: