It is now increasingly recognized that the technological ascendancy of Western Europe during the Middle Ages owes much to the Ag-Pb mines in Central Europe. Due to highly varied geology and geographical position at the crossroads of many different cultures, the territory of today's Czech Republic witnessed also a relatively early development of geological sciences. No wonder that the first organized groups taking interest in Earth sciences date back to the early 19th century.
In 1923, the Czechoslovak Society for Mineralogy and Geology, the predecessor of today's Czech Geological Society (CGS), was established in Prague.
Czech Geological Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the
geosciences. It provides access to elements that are essential to the
professional growth of earth scientists at all levels of expertise and
from all sectors: academic, government, business, and industry. Through
CGS, geoscientists are offered an opportunity to interface with public
policy makers, and to take an active role in hightening societal
awareness of the importance of the geosciences to environmental
challenges. Academics and professionals in the fields of mineralogy,
paleontology, petrology, volcanology, sedimentology, applied geology,
and geochemistry are all welcome to become members of the Czech
Geological Society. An outreach program is targeted also at non-professionals
who take interest in any of these disciplines. CGS is a member of the
Czech Council of Scientific Societies and the Association of European
Geological Societies (AEGS). Through the Czech National Geological
Committee, CGS is also linked to the International Union of Geological
Sciences. CGS takes an active role in various programs of international
professional associations, such as IAGOD and IGCP.
The Czech Geological Society has currently 670 members. Apart from individual membership, collective and honorary membership may also be granted. CGS members may become involved in the activities of one of its regional branches, or in the work of specialized groups.
The Society's primary activities are organizing scientific meetings and lecture series, publishing scientific literature and organizing field excursions open to general public. Over the past years, CGS co-sponsored the following international conferences: MAEGS-10 (10th Meeting of the Association of European Geological Societies; 1997), Tourmaline (1997), and Granite Pegmatites - Mineralogy, Petrology & Geochemistry (1998). Twice a year, all members of the Society receive a Bulletin with up-to-date information on seminars, exhibitions, excursions and mineral shows to take place both in the country and and elsewhere in Central Europe, new books and films, and a social chronicle. Detailed information on the forthcoming events can be obtained also from the CGS web site www.geologickaspolecnost.cz (in Czech).
The Journal of the Czech Geological Society (JCGS) is the flagship of Society's publishing activities. Its contents are abstracted in international bibliographical databases (e.g., GeoAbstracts by Elsevier). Started in 1955, JCGS enlarged its format and changed graphical lay-out as of 1993. In recent years, there is a tendency to publish exclusively English-written papers, very often as two double issues per year. In addition to regular issues, Special Issues of JCGS are published, containing Proceedings of selected international symposia, such as Evolution of Variscan and Comparable Palaeozoic Fold Belts, Prague 1994; Thermal and Mechanical Interactions in Deep Seated Rocks, Prague 1995; MAEGS 10 - Challenges to Chemical Geology, Karlovy Vary 1997; (UN)COUPLED, Amsterdam 2000. Of the single-topic issues, the one dedicated to the 200th birthday anniversary of Joachim Barande (Vol. 44, 1-2, 1999) and the mineralogical & geochemical issue dedicated to Pavel Povondra (Vol. 45, 1-2, 2000) were hugely successful. Noted members of the international paleontological community contributed to the Havlíček Issue (Vol. 46, 2001). In February 2001, the Czech National Geological Committee analyzed the present status of individual geoscience journals in the country where only the Geophysical journal (dopln spravne jmeno prosim) has a measurable impact factor, and arrived at the conclusion that in case of JCGS there is a strong potential for achieving inclusion into the SCI rankings as well. Recently, we have initiated negotiations with our partner institutions aimed at a merger of suitable Czech geoscience journals.
The new Executive Committee of CGS wishes to continue to act as a catalyst in organizing lecture series, seminars and international conferences. Our members are not only accomplished professionals, we would be happy to address also young people interested in any one of the truly wide spectrum of earth sciences. Apart from specialized activities, one of our primary goals is to assist educators in increasing the awarenes of the most recent developments in such exciting fields of research as plate tectonics, cosmogeochemistry, environmental geology and global change, by general public. Therefore, we have initiated a lecture series tailored for audiences with no special background in geosciences. Similarly, our regular field excursions are sought after by non-specialists, because all explanations are put in a broader context, and that is something they can enjoy. At the same time, overly specialized topics are to find a platform within the individual working groups of CGS.
The current fast development of many geological disciplines calls for narrower specialization, but, on the other hand, it becomes imperative for research workers to follow new findings in related fields and keep track of the general re-focussing in earth sciences at large. Therefore CGS has started a graduate-level course on The Frontiers of Modern Geoscience, co-sponsored by Charles University, Prague. We plan to publish full-length texts of these lectures on our web site. We are about to renew the traditional format of discussion panels where two experts holding opposing views of a particular issue in earth sciences would have an opportunity to formulate their arguments face-to-face. These meetings, again, will be open to general public.