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History of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists

Jednota českých matematiků a fyziků (JČMF) - the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists is one of the oldest extant learned societies in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1862 as the Verein fur freie Vortrage aus der Mathematik und Physik (Club for Free Lectures in Mathematics and Physics) in 1869 and renamed Jednota českých mathematiků (Union of Czech Mathematicians).

From the very beginning the Union aimed at the improvement of physics and mathematics education at all school levels and types, and support for the development of these sciences. The Union expanded in 1912, and together with the new statutes adopted the present name Jednota českých matematiků a fyziků (In the years from 1921 to 1939 and from 1945 to 1993 used the name Jednota československých matematiků a fyziků - Union of Czechoslovak Mathematicians and Physicists). Among its members were associated many of the teachers of secondary schools, but also university professors and scientists.

Throughout its history, the Union devoted great care and attention to the publication of professional literature. Already in its 10th anniversary (1872) began issuing Časopis pro pěstování matematiky a fysiky (Journal for Cultivation of Mathematics and Physics), probably the first of its kind in Austro-Hungarian monarchy. A year later, the Union started publishing textbooks and scientific monographs. After the establishment of independent Czechoslovakia it became de facto the only qualified publisher of textbooks, professional books and journals in the fields of mathematics and physics. In 1922 it issued the magazine Rozhledy matematicko-fyzikální (Perspectives of Mathematics and Physics), which was established as an addendum to the Časopis pro pěstování matematiky a fysiky.

At the beginning of the 50s the Unity had to transfer assets in favor of the newly established Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, and became a learned society at the Academy. The mathematical part of its library became the basis of the library of the Mathematical Institute of the Academy. Journal published by the Union was replaced by two titles - Časopis pro pěstování matematiky (Journal for Cultivation of Mathematics, since 1991 Mathematica Bohemica) a Československý časopis pro fyziku (Czechoslovak Journal of Physics). Since 1956 the Union publishes also the journal Pokroky matematiky, fyziky a astronomie (Advances in Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy), which became the member magazine.

The support of and interest in the education in mathematics and physics led to the foundation of the journal Matematika a fysika ve škole (Mathematics and Physics at School) in 1948; succeeded in 1991 by the magazine Matematika – Fyzika – Informatika (Mathematics - Physics - Computer Science). JČMF also initiated the Mathematical Olympiad (in 1951) and Physics Olympiad (in 1959) in the Czech Republic.

Fyzikální vědecká sekce (Physical scientific section) of the JČMF, established in 1968, became a collective member of the European Physical Society. Analogously, the Matematické vědecké sekce (Mathematical scientific section) was a founding member of the European Mathematical Society.

In 1995, the publisher Prometheus, spol. s r. o., has been founded with the participation of JČMF. This publisher focuses on math and physics textbooks for all types of schools.

English written literature on the history of JČMF

[1] L. Pátý, J. Veselý (eds.): Union of Czechoslovak Mathematicians and Physicists, JČSMF, Praha, 1984.
[2] L. Pick: The Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists, EMS Newsletter, March 2002, pp. 20–21.
[3] M. Bečvářová: Czech Mathematicians and Their Role in the Development of National Mathematics in the Balkans, in M. Bečvářová, Ch. Binder (eds.): Mathematics in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Proceedings of a Symposium held in Budapest on August 1, 2009 during the XXIII ICHST, edition Dějiny matematiky, volume 41, Matfyzpress, Prague, 2010, pp. 9–31.
[4] M. Bečvářová: Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists, Notices from the International Society for Mathematical Sciences, Scientiae Mathematicae Japonicae, January 2011, pp. 1–9.
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