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Did you know that…
- The word “robot” is of a Czech origin? It was coined by a Czech writer and playwright Karel Čapek in his science fiction play R.U.R. which premiered in 1921, becoming very popular and therefore by 1923 translated into 30 languages.
- The man who invented flexible contact lenses was Czech? His name was Otto Wichterle. He developed his theory at home in 1961 after the official Communist structures did not allow him to continue his experiments at the Czech Academy of Science. He used parts of his childrens’ building set combined with a dynamo to make his first soft contact lenses. After successful testing and patenting of this invention a contract with the American National Patent Development Corporation was signed. As a result of this the company Bausch & Lomb has been producing flexible contact lenses since 1966. Sadly Wichterle himself continued having a problematic relationship with the Communist State Authority and therefore his scientific achievements were not properly recognized until 1989. He died in 1998.
- Czechs are number one in beer drinking? Based on statistical research every Czech person drinks 160 litres of beer per year, in Germany (in second place) it is only 110 litres. Czech beer is renowned to be of very high quality and you will have a great opportunity to taste it for yourselves soon.
- Engineering is the leading industrial branch of Czech economy (has been since around 1850) and that local car industry has a huge share in the Czech export market (19% in 2011).
- The first agreement between Czechs and Slovaks confirming their unification in one independent state was signed by American Czechs and Slovaks in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) on May 31 of 1918 and was known as Pittsburgh Agreement. It was written by Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, the first Czechoslovak President, during his American exile.
- The first sugar cube came from a sugar refinery in Dacice (South Bohemia). It was patented in 1843. What prompted this invention was an injury of the wife of the sugar refinery owner. She cut herself badly as she was trying to cut a small piece of sugar from a sugar loaf and made her husband develop something more practical for everyday use.
- Charles University in Prague founded in 1348 is the oldest university in Central Europe.
- The company Petrof in Hradec Králové, East Bohemia, is the biggest European producer of pianos. It is a family business with an almost 150 year old tradition.
- The world famous Beer Barrel Polka (“Roll Out the Barrel”) which became very popular especially at the time of WWII and which was sung by armies on both sides of the front was composed by a Czech, Jaromir Vejvoda in 1927. The original Czech name is “Skoda lasky”.
- One of the most efficient and accessible drugs to treat AIDS called Viread was developed by a Czech professor Antonin Holy (1936-2012) and his team. His antiviral drug discovery has won him international recognition. The Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry where professor Holy was active most of his life receives 1 billion Czech crowns per year for licence fees.
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