History

A word on the history of the department


The current comprehensive graduate studies of all the chemical disciplines and environmental chemistry at the Faculty of Science of the Palacky University in Olomouc evolved from rather modest origins.

After the Faculty of Education at the renewed Olomouc university was opened in 1946, an Institute of Chemistry was formally established  and its management delegated to Mečislav Kuraš. First of all it was essential to set up chemical laboratories. This is where the Baťa company in Zlín proved very helpful by donating a whole established lab of its former Research Institute to the university. In 1947, the institute was joined by E. Ružička who was put in charge of teaching chemistry at the Faculty of Eduction. The institute was located at Křížkovského street. Alongside the Palacky University, a separate Pedagogical University was formed in Olomouc in 1953, consisting of two faculties: Faculty of Natural Sciences and Faculty of Social Sciences. In 1955, the Faculty of Education was closed down and in 1958, the Pedagogical University was merged with Palacky University and transformed into the Faculty of Science. Four-year study programs turned into five-year ones. At the Pedagogical University, a single Department of Chemistry was established in 1954. Since then, the number of staff at the department had been gradually increasing and educational and research activities started to expand.

In 1960, the single Department of Chemistry split into the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Chemistry Methodology and the Department of Organic, Analytical and Physical Chemistry. The former, led by Professor RNDr. M. Kuraš, resided at Křížkovského street 10 while the latter, with Professor RNDr. Eduard Ružička appointed as the department's head, was placed in a building at Tř. Svobody 8 (at that time Lidická and later Leninova třída). Both departments provided education of future teachers of mathematics-chemistry, physics-chemistry and biology-chemistry subject combinations.

In 1963, a study program of analytical chemistry with emphasis on organic analysis was introduced. It was the first specialized study program of chemistry at the Palacky University in Olomouc. Merits for this achievement can be credited to Professor Ružička who was then the chairman of the specialization board at the Ministry of Education in Prague. The department had been already staffed well enough so that the employees were able to provide the specialized education, advise students working on diploma theses and carry out research and publish the results thereof in international journals. Since this time, thanks to the expertise of its staff, the department has been able to participate on solving both nation-wide and field-specific research tasks and to defend successfully the outputs of such research.

The "normalization" period in the beginning of 1970s affected the department seriously. Several reorganizations of the department and personal changes were forced and bans on travels abroad and professional growth of people opposing the communist regime were put in place. In 1972, Department of Analytical and Organic Chemistry was established. The department existed until 1996 when it was divided into Department of Analytical Chemistry, Department of Organic Chemistry and Department of Biochemistry.

Today, the Department of Analytical Chemistry is authorized to provide education in a bachelor study program (and award the bachelor degree, Bc.), follow-up master studies of analytical chemistry and environmental chemistry (Mgr. degree; equivalent to M.Sc.) and doctoral studies of analytical chemistry (Ph.D. degree). At the department, it is possible to defend rigorous and habilitation theses in order to earn the Rerum Naturalium Doctor (RNDr.) and Associate Professor (Doc.) degrees, respectively, and run the proceedings of promoting associate professors to full professors. Since 1995, members of the department have been involved in research projects of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports as well as in educational work development projects of the Ministry. The department is also engaged in projects funded by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, internal grants of the Palacky University and foreign sources. The department members extensively publish both in Czech and international scientific journals.

Currently, the department has two professors, three emeritus professors , five associate professors, seven assistant professors, two research scientists and 17 Ph.D. students. Between 1966 and 2009, the department produced 400 graduates, many of which later attained a considerable social status. In terms of instrumentation, the department is well equipped for research work based on chromatographic, electromigration, electroanalytical and spectral (both optical and mass) techniques.

From 1975 to 1981, a number of international students from Vietnam, Morocco, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Nigeria and Mongolia graduated from the Palacky University, completing the five-year studies of analytical chemistry at the Department of Analytical and Organic chemistry.

Since 1997, the department members organize international conferences in Olomouc , bringing together scientists working in the field of chromatographic and electromigration separations. The title of the conference  evolved from the original "CHIRANAL" into current "Advances in Chromatography and Electrophoresis & CHIRANAL".

An important event for the department occured in 2009. A new building of Faculty of Science at Tř. 17. listopadu was finished. The entire department moved from the original location at Tř. Svobody 8 to the new building where it occupies second floor of the southern wing.

The development of chemistry disciplines at Palacky University since 1946 and scientific and educational activities related to analytical chemistry at the university are described in two comprehensive publications that are placed at the secretariat and in the reading room of the Department of Analytical Chemistry.

Succesfully defended reports on research carried out under the terms of research plans of the 1960 - 1990 period are deposited in the archive of Palacky University (led by PhDr. Pavel Urbášek).

References: 
1. Ružička E., Březina F.: Rozvoj chemie na Přírodovědecké fakultě Univerzity Palackého v Olomouci.  Acta  UPOL  53, (Chemica XVI), 211 (1977). 
2. Stužka V.: 30 let Katedry analytické a organické chemie na Přírodovědecké fakultě Univerzity Palackého v Olomouci.  Acta  UPOL 102, (Chemica XXX), 7 (1991).

This summary was assembled and written down in March 2010 by

Prof. RNDr. Václav Stužka, CSc.,
Professor Emeritus