Professor Rudolf Zahradník October, 20th 1928 till October, 31st 2020
It is with great sorrow to share with you the sad news that last Saturday, October, 31st, Prof. Ing. Rudolf Zahradník, DrSc passed away. Prof. Zahradník has worked at our Institute since 1961 and was elected to be the first director of the J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry after the velvet revolution in 1990. From 1993 till 2001 he served the Czech Academy of Sciences as its president. After that he returned to our Institute and was a senior scientist in the Department of Theoretical Chemistry.
His scientific creativity and management skills were outstanding and thus it impossible to fully express his contributions and value for the J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry during the 60 years when he was a part of it. There is no doubt that he was one of the dominating scientists forming our Institute by pushing forward the frontiers of quantum chemistry. His scientific results as well as his ability to foster talented young scientists considerably contributed to the high international reputation of the Prague School of Quantum Chemistry. His scientific achievements were recognized by the international community of theoretical chemists by electing him the member of prestigious International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences (1982) and World Association of Theoretically Oriented Chemists (1986).
Serving as the Institute’s director, Prof. Zahradník succeeded after the velvet revolution to transform the J. Heyrovsky Institute into modern research institution. He gave full support to the best researchers in the Institute, attracted excellent scientist from outside and helped many talented students to start their successful carrier. He set the course for a continuous growth of innovative science. I am fully aware that the high international recognition of the Institute stems greatly from his achievements and personality.
It is apparent that Prof. Zahradník meant more for our Institute and for Czech Science than described by my words. It is, however, even more difficult to capture his outstanding character. I would like to cite the former rector of the Technical University Dresden Prof. Achim Mehlhorn. On the occasion of the 90th birthday of Prof. Zahradník two years ago, he expressed the personality of Prof.Zahradnik by the following nice words : “Prof. Zahradník’s life was governed by values like decency and tolerance. He had a wonderfully balanced mixture of being modest and putting visions into reality. His strength was based on the deep humanistic understanding of life. Prof. Zahradník serves us as an example of a person who remained firm against tempting but misleading modern trends”.
The J. Heyrovsky Institute will miss him!