front cover
  • ISSN 0010-0765 printed
  • ISSN 1212-6950 electronic


CCCC will be published under the name ChemPlusChem by Wiley.

Prague School of Polarography - Foreword

Two years ago we celebrated 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize award for Chemistry to Professor Jaroslav Heyrovský for his invention of polarography. Collection of Czechoslovak Chemical Communications (CCCC) brought his work to attention of the international community. This year we have a great pleasure to honor in this journal his students and followers, members of the esteemed Prague School of Polarography. Prof. Robert Kalvoda, Prof. Petr Zuman, and Doc. Jiří Volke celebrated their 85th birthday anniversaries in 2011. Two younger scientists Doc. Lubomír Pospíšil and Prof. Karel Štulík celebrated their 70th birthday in the same year. Dr. Michael Heyrovský, son of the inventor, will celebrate his 80th birthday in 2012. This special issue is published in their honor and includes 19 contributions from all over the world. Unfortunately, Prof. Kalvoda and Doc. Volke passed away before this issue took its final form. They are both greatly missed by the electrochemistry community and their legacy continues in the present generation of Czech electrochemists.

RNDr. PhMr. Robert Kalvoda, DrSc. (*28. 3. 1926 - †2. 8. 2011) or Bob as he was known to his close friends, belonged to the most famous group of students, close co-workers and very successful followers of Prof. Jaroslav Heyrovský. He studied pharmacy and chemistry at the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague. He ranked very soon among the colleagues of Professor Jaroslav Heyrovský on one side and at the same time he joined the analytical and pharmaceutical group around Professor Jaroslav Zýka. This determined his lifelong career, which combined admirably the teaching activities at the Faculty of Science and the research at the Academy of Sciences. This close collaboration of Charles University and of Academy of Sciences was typical for him: cooperation and friendship between these two institutions. He was author of more than hundred scientific papers in impacted journals, books and monographies, which are frequently cited even after his passing away. In collaboration with Prof. Heyrovský, he created oscillographic polarography and thus significantly contributed to the introduction and to the development of transient electrochemical methods and impedance techniques. He succeeded in the implementation of the adsorptive stripping voltammetry in the pharmaceutical laboratories. It must be noted that he contributed substantially to the introduction of modular instrumentation and of the operational amplifiers in electrochemical measurements in the former Czechoslovakia (nowadays the Czech and Slovak Republic, respectively).

Activities of Prof. Kalvoda in the pedagogical field were consistent and very pronounced: he lectured, led practices, MSc and PhD theses and trained doctoral students, not only in our country but also abroad. He was an active and tireless participant and organizer of seminars and conferences, both domestic and international. For many years he worked in UNESCO Laboratory of Environmental Electrochemistry and in the bodies of international chemical organizations such as IUPAC and FECS.

Prof. Kalvoda was a man with a deep interest in the world and the people in it. He loved traveling, talking to people and penetrated into the habits and interests of their country and life in them. Simultaneously, he spread the glory, applicability, and usefulness of polarography (here we can mention his book "With polarography around the world"). Last but not least, we want to underline that he was not only many times awarded famous scientist, pronounced teacher, writer, but he was a reliable co-worker and good friend, who helped anytime and anywhere.

When a man goes through countryside, looks for prominent points in the landscape for orientation: noticeable tree, firm castle, characteristic rock, summit of a mountain, gate of a town or a tower pointing upwards. Doc. RNDr. PhMr. Jiří Volke, DrSc. (*24.2.1926 - †17.10.2011) was for many of us such a spreading tree rich in his knowledge, firm castle protecting his people, summit of the mountain giving the others an outlook and new horizons, gate of the town called Organic electrochemistry and a tower pointing upwards and teaching us fidelity, modesty and humility.

His career reminds us how important interdisciplinarity and broad education is in fundamental research. After the WWII he graduated first in pharmacy at the Charles University and continued in physical chemistry and polarography under guidance of prof. Heyrovský in the Polarographic Institute. He belonged thus to the first generation of pupils of prof. J. Heyrovský and to the co-founders of the J. Heyrovský Institute. His research field involved namely electrochemistry of drugs, pharmaceuticals and other biologically significant compounds and their models, his work was focused mainly to mechanistic aspects and analytical applications. More than 25 years headed the Organic electrochemistry group in the J. Heyrovský Institute (after prof. Zuman) and supervised many MSc and PhD theses. He published more than 200 original papers dealing often with the structure-reactivity relationship. Up to now, no specialized monograph in organic or pharmaceutical electrochemistry can get along his references. Besides his work in the Academy of Sciences, he lectured in Pharmaceutical faculty in Hradec Králové (Czech Republic) as well as in abroad, in Frankfurt am Main (Germany).

His fidelity manifested itself in his personal life as well as in the more than fifty years long service as the editor of the journal Chemické Listy.

All his students and friends will remember his delicate sense of humor, his broad knowledge from languages and linguistics, through history and literature up to kinology. And all his pupils and colleagues are grateful to him for being a "reference point" in the electrochemical landscape.

Professor RNDr. Petr Zuman, DrSc. (born 13. 1. 1926, Prague) as a distinguished research scientist, teacher and colleague in the field of organic electrochemistry, but simultaneously former good basket-ball player and international referee, knows well what are personal properties like endurance, tenacity, fair play, hope to the better future, patience or diligence. Due to these qualities he became a famous researcher, but also was able to overcome difficult periods in his life, recently in 2010 one-year lasting immobility. Now, however, we can meet him again in his laboratory at Clarkson University working and teaching, we can meet him again at congresses lecturing and discussing, we could meet him last year again in Prague visiting our laboratory and enjoying the city.

His career started in 1948 after studies at the Charles University in Prague as an assistant of Professors Heyrovský and Brdička. Since 1950 he worked in the newly founded Polarographic Institute in the group of Organic electrochemistry with professor Heyrovský and lectured at the Charles University. In 1966 he got a research fellowship in Birmingham. After 1968 he did not return back to Prague, but he accepted the offer given by Prof. Lou Meites and in 1970 moved to Potsdam at the Clarkson College (now University) in the Northern part of the New York state. After nearly thirty years in full service, he retired, but as a Distinguished Emeritus Research Professor he keeps working up to now. He published more than 440 research papers, 13 books and two fundamental compendia of electrochemical properties of organic and inorganic compounds (together 14 volumes). It is difficult to count up all his students, pupils, colleagues and post-docs as well as all his lectures at international conferences and personal awards. Without doubts, he is one of founders and pillars of organic electrochemistry in the world.

Besides his beloved polarography, he likes sports, theatre, music and literature, namely in Czech language. Since 1992 he regularly visits every year Prague for several weeks, namely "his" Organic electrochemistry group in the frame of research cooperation, but during these stays he finds always time for visiting friends and new cultural events.

Selected articles in this Special issue of CCCC are dedicated to Prof. Karel Štulík, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Charles University in Prague on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Karel received his degree from Faculty of Technical and Nuclear Physics of the Czech Technical University in Prague in 1963 and in the same year he joined the Polarographic Institute of J. Heyrovský, where he received his PhD in 1967. Since 1967 he is at the Department of Analytical chemistry at Charles University in Prague. His research interests over his distinguished academic carrier have spanned electroanalytical chemistry, separation methods, and environmental analytical chemistry. He is the author of over 300 scientific papers and has authored five monographs devoted to biamperometric titrations, stripping voltammetry, electroanalytical measurements in the flowing liquids etc. which were translated into many languages. Thanks to his exceptional organizational abilities he has successfully served as the head of the Department of Analytical Chemistry, dean of the Faculty of Science of the Charles University in Prague and also as the President of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic. Last but not least, he is an excellent teacher, tutor, supervisor, and colleague, who is always willing to use his exceptional scientific, language and organizational skills to help his students and co-workers.

Many articles in this Special issue are dedicated to Doc. Lubomír Pospíšil on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Luboš received his degree from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Charles University in Prague in 1963 (Diploma of Chemistry) and in 1967 he obtained RNDr. title to be followed by receiving CSc. degree (PhD equivalent) in Physical chemistry in 1968. He joined the Polarographic Institute of J. Heyrovský in 1963, where he still works until present days. He is an author of over 150 publications and recipient of several prestigious awards (the Heyrovský Memorial Medal for the development of polarography and Miloš Hudlický reward of the Czech Chemical Society, 2009). His renaissance views are well documented in his many activities ranging from alpinism and mountaineering to music. Nepal Mountaineering Association confirmed his successful ascent to Mera peak (6476 m), which he completed in 2007 at the age of 66. He plays organ every Friday in his hometown church of Slaný and he is a member of the Kladno amateur symphony orchestra, where he plays the contrabass. His research interest includes studies of electron transfer kinetics and mechanisms in a broad sense, adsorption phenomena, nucleation-growth effects and electron transfer reactions of host-guest complexes. An important part of his research deals with catalytic processes, oscillatory phenomena and deterministic chaos. His main scientific contributions to electrochemistry are without a doubt in the implementation of fast and alternating current methods and in the measurements of the rates of electron transfer including stability problems. He implemented modern impedance methods in the former Czechoslovakia including full digitization of the measurements. He served together with Prof. Kalvoda in many committees on modular instrumentation and on the use of operational amplifiers in the electrochemical research.

This special issue of CCCC, devoted to distinguished members of Professor Heyrovsky's polarographic school in the year of its ninetieth anniversary, would not be complete without the name of Dr. Michael Heyrovský, a renowned electrochemist and dignified continuator of his father's work. Dr. Heyrovský was born on May 29, 1932, in Prague. He studied chemistry at the Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, where he obtained his MSc degree in 1957. His diploma work, "Depolarization effects of Al(III) ions", was created at the Polarographic Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences in Prague. He has remained devoted to polarography till present days. In 1966, he successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "The electrochemical photoeffect" at the Department of Physical Chemistry, Cambridge University, England. In 1967 and 1968, he worked at Bamberg University in Germany as a Humboldt scholarship holder. His research interests are focused on elementary electrochemical and photochemical reactions and interfacial interactions. He has published more than 100 papers on these topics in renowned journals and several book chapters. He is an excellent representative of the Prague polarographic school, a dedicated and rigorous researcher, tireless propagator of polarography. Above all, Dr. Heyrovský is a nice person and excellent collaborator, pleasant companion and welcome and active participant in many polarographic scientific conferences and seminars all over the world.

Finally, the authors would like to convey warm greetings on behalf of the entire Czech electrochemical community to our distinguished colleagues Michael Heyrovský, Lubomír Pospíšil, Karel Štulík and Petr Zuman. We wish them good health and many more scientific achievements.

Jiří Barek, Magdaléna Hromadová, Jiří Ludvík and Tomáš Navrátil