zdeněk kopal - conference of stars and men


Unusual sculpture will remind of Kopal

In April of the next year, ninety years will have passed since the birth of an outstanding Czech astronomer, Litomyšl patriot, Zdeněk Kopal. We can say without exaggeration that Kopal in astronomy is the same as Havel in politics or Smetana in music. This is documented by the first place in the recent poll for the most significant Czech astronomer of the 20th century.

In relation to this important anniversary the Czech Astronomical Society, in cooperation with other Czech astronomical institutions and the City of Litomyšl, are preparing a series of events for the year 2004. Litomyšl will welcome participants of the International Scientific Conference, there will be a regular congress of the Czech Astronomical Society and a number of popular lectures dedicated to the work of Professor Kopal. A sculpture will be uncovered, which should symbolize Kopal´s central theme: two drop-like stars, which rotate around a common weight point and viewed from a certain point they cover one another partially or fully. The City of Litomyšl announced a sculptor's competition for the sculpture and there are practically two winners. Members of the jury addressed Federico Diaz and Marián Karel to join their two proposals and finalise the design. The jury consisting of Josef Pleskot, Jiří Grygar, Zdeňka Vydrová, Jan Hendrych, Jiří Věneček, Martin Šolc, Jan Janeček and Miroslav Brýdl was literally electrified by the result and they all marked this joint design as "by far the best". At the same time, the jury recommended the City of Litomyšl to commission the implementation of this work to the authors.

The surface of the sculpture reflects the moving text. The movement of the text thus emphasises the place of birth, the theory, the science and the flow of energy between stars. The text can be funny, according to the authors, reminding of Zdeněk Kopal´s good-humoured nature. An integral part of the work of art is the landscaping of the place that approximately copies the place where Kopal´s native house was situated. This landscape is designed by architect Josef Pleskot, author of the Komenského housing estate revitalisation design. The landscape will affect, for example, the access road to the housing estate, the location of dustbins and existing foliage around the block of flats no. 1044. This is all in compliance with the previously approved design by architect Pleskot for the revitalisation of the Komenský housing estate.

The City of Litomyšl council agreed with this plan at their last meeting and approved a budget of CZK 400,000 for the modifications to commence this autumn. The City of Litomyšl, in cooperation with astronomers, will seek further funds to cover the whole project. One possibility is to open an account for a public fundraising.

Ing. Michaela Severová
Spokesperson of the Litomyšl City

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