International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications
to the conference
Brno is the 2nd largest town in the Czech Republic with over 400 000 inhabitants and the capital of the South Moravian Region.
Holding a strategic geographic position within Central Europe with excellent transport accessibility, including an international airport Brno is located only two hours from the international airports of Prague and Vienna.
The city of Brno has a long-year tradition in science and technology, it is connected to prominent scientists and thinkers. Gregor Johann Mendel, Augustinian friar and the founder of modern genetics, conducted his pea plant experiments at St Thomas's Abbey in Old Brno, which is now hosting Mendel Museum. Ernst Mach, physicist and philosopher, was born in Chrlice, a suburb and nowadays a part of Brno. He is recognized for his research in hydrodynamics, inspiration for Albert Einsten’s work on the theory of relativity, and giving his name to a brand of razor blades. Brno is also a birthplace of Kurt Gödel, one of the most significant logicians in history. Gödel made an immense impact upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century. His most prominent work consists of two incompleteness theorems. He contributed to physics and puzzled Albert Einstein with an original solution to Einstein’s equations, known as Gödel metrics. He also elaborated Anselm of Canterbury's ontological proof of God's existence, now known as Gödel's ontological proof. Memorial plaques of Mach and Gödel are installed at their birth-houses at Ernsta Macha and Pekařská streets. The list of distinguished scientists who were born, lived, or worked in Brno include ellipsometry pioneer Antonín Vašíček, leading scientist of Project Manhattan Georg Placzek, and mathematician Otakar Borůvka known for his work in graph theory.
For a few decades Brno has been a place of research institutes and companies involved in development and production of electron microscopes. At present it hosts companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific (FEI), TESCAN, and Delong Instruments, all of them being engaged in the business of electron microscopy and relevant nanotechnology tools and methods. It is known as a student town having more than 80 000 students in 6 universities. It also hosts several research institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences and quite recently has become the seat of the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC), one of the two principle co-organizers of this conference.
The Czech Republic is a rather small but charming country situated in the heart of Europe. Since medieval times it has been a crossroad of intellectual, artistic and business influences but also a centre of conflicts.
Despite the small land area, the Czech landscape is highly diverse - from mountains creating natural borders in all directions to the fertile scenic lowlands in South Moravia. The Czech Republic has a moderate continental climate, with warm summers and cold and snowy winters. The temperature between seasons differs highly due to the landlocked geographical position.
The official language is Czech. It is very similar to Slovak and Polish. They all belong to the group of West Slavic languages. Czech is a particularly difficult language to learn since the endings of words change due to many different grammar rules.
The long and rich history of Bohemia and Moravia can be traced through Samo´s Empire, the Great Moravia, the reign of the Přemyslid, the Luxemburg and Habsburg dynasties, the Catholic expansion leading to the Thirty Year’s War. The decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire led to the birth of the Czechoslovakia. After surviving the German occupation during the Second World War and forty years of communism, the totalitarian regime symbolically ended in one day - by Velvet Revolution in November 1989. After years of being persecuted, the writer and philosopher Vaclav Havel became president with a democratic vision. The Czech Republic and Slovakia have parted ways peacefully on January 1, 1993. As one of many historical paradoxes, the process of convergence with the European Community started soon after and culminated in joining the European Union on May 1, 2004.
Many Czech personalities have become famous throughout the world - Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV has played a significant role in European history. Masterpieces of composers Bedrich Smetana, Antonin Dvorak and Leos Janacek are still played worldwide. Novels written by the mysterious Franz Kafka and innovative Karel Capek are timeless. Voice of opera singer Emmy Destinn is still impressive. The Czech Republic is also a producer of globally famous athletes such as football player Petr Cech, ice hockey star Jaromir Jagr and Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova along with Olympic medalist speed skater Martina Sablikova.
Commercially, the Czech Republic has grown significantly since the Velvet Revolution and throughout the 90´s it has built its reputation as a sophisticated congress destination. It is also a country where historical monuments and entire towns have been marked as world heritage sites. Of course, when discussing tourism in the Czech Republic, one cannot overlook the overwhelmingly popular tourist destination of Prague (located just 2 hours from Brno – the ICN+T hosting city). Prague is generally considered to be one of the most beautiful world capitals with an exquisitely preserved historical center.
Many towns and historical monuments are registered as UNESCO world cultural landmarks: Brno, Kutna Hora, Cesky Krumlov just to name a few. Terezin is also often explored by tourists, but unfortunately its history is stained by war. Once a fort town from the end of the 18th century, it was transformed by Nazis into a concentration camp during the war. Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) and Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) are glowing assets of the Czech Republic due to the existence of curative mineral spring spas. Jachymov, another town in the countryside, is well known for its rare radioactive springs.
Czech official currency is “Koruna”, often translated as “Crown”. Although the country has not transferred to Euro yet (unlike many other countries of the European Union) it is possible to use it as a payment method in most restaurants and shops. Payment by credit card is an equally widely spread option and most of the hospitality spots enable this kind of payment. ATM machines are accessible on every corner; however, we recommend checking the bank fees beforehand. In case you decide to exchange money in one of the exchange offices in Prague, we would suggest checking the rates and commissions carefully, as they may differ by company. The recommended exchange office with reliable rates is one called “Exchange”. Rates suggested by the national bank of Czech Republic are listed here.
No rules apply to tipping and the most common way to tip is to round the amount up. In more expensive restaurants, a 10% tip is suggested but is not obligatory.