Monday , August 15 2022

The universe is incredibly beautiful, says former Olympic champion professor


… and observation can begin. Svetlorar Štefeček in front of the observer.

Photo: Svetozár Štefeček's archive

Astronomy has a great tradition in Sobotista near Senica. In the '70s of the last century, Ladislav Košinár, the director of the elementary elementary school, deserved his development. Thanks, the school is a Slovak rarity – it has been an observer for 46 years. It does not work until today, Svetozár Štefeček, former student of Ladislav Košinár. Once he helped the teacher work with young enthusiastic astronomers, he later took over the scepter. The astronomical circle has been around for over 28 years, and children from a wide range of children come to it. For years, there is the same term – starting on Friday for the fifth. The most successful student, Janka Švrčková, has recently won international prestigious olympics in China.

Astronomy, sounds nice, but are actually calculations and meals or not?

Yes, it belongs to this fact.

How do you motivate your children to make interesting tables and calculations?

Well, at first it must be an observation. It is completely different when the children look up to the sky and see a meteor star or observe it on a planet: Jupiter, Saturn or Monday … They see what is in the universe around us and then they naturally learn more, as much as possible, why and so on. Well, then the others are added to this.

Many parents struggle today with the comfort of their children, they are particularly interested in technology and commerce, find something easy to find at home on the Internet, yes, but deeper and more systematic work for most is not … There are other people in the neighborhood your?

Children now have much better options than we do. Just because of this technique. Until I learned, for example, about a comet 30 years ago that it flew and was visible, it was only two weeks ago when it disappeared for a long time. Today, such copies of information, if they wish, can search for it in advance, can track it and then be ready to follow, for example, a comet directly. It's the interest and the curiosity that I can change.

So your kids are interested?

Yes. Those who come to us try. Now that Janka Švrčková has been successful in the international Olympic Games, and more. It's a huge motivation for them. They see an icon in it. And even parents, thanks to Janke, I see that if children try, they can do it away, see the world. So they try to guide them.

The most successful student of Svetozar Štefeček, winner of the international Olympics Janka Švrčková.

Photo: Svetozár Štefeček's archive

Chodieva Janka still on the rings?

Now, when she started studying in Prague, she has less time, but she'll help me before. Right now, when can.

Is this your most successful student?

Yes. It was an exceptional and very persistent circumvention. He had an extraordinary interest. There are differences between children that until some have surrendered after a certain initial failure, on the contrary, they have begun and moved further. He just wanted to learn more and more.

What does it intend to do next?

He studied general physics at Charles University in Prague. The first two years are common, then they can specialize. They will see again.

How did you personally get to astronomy and later what do you do?

Through my professor Ladislav Košinár. Thanks to him we have an observer and he was the one who brought the astronomy. I helped him in the astronomical ring. Initially I studied chemistry and physics, I wanted to do something else, but I liked working with kids, so I got here. In 1987 I began to lead an astronomical ring. Mr Košinár was also retired for us and astronomy. Practically, to the end. He died two years ago, and at the beginning of next year he would have lived 90. He has already introduced that the ring is fifth on Friday. So we have it today, Friday, fifth.

How does astronomy attract you?

It's probably because she realizes her tiny size in the gigantic universe. Not only the spatial dimension but also the time dimension, the duration of our lives is amazingly amazing. Well, this science has its aesthetic value – all cosmic structures, be it planets, comets, stars or nebulae and galaxies, are incredibly beautiful and photogenic.

How many children are going to the ring?

We have about 20 children, from old people to high school students. They come to us from a wide range, from Senice, but also from Gbelov, Radošoviec, Podbranča …

Sobotista School can boast with what no other own observer.

Photo: Svetozár Štefeček's archive

What are the possibilities to further develop this hobby? Perspectives for the development of astronomy in our country are not big – we are not a rich state with a space program, scientists pay miserably … Astronomy is enough to the edge …

Well, none of my students are professional in astronomy. It is true that the possibilities are limited here – Astronomical Institute at SAS, Hvězdáreň in Hurbanov, in Tatra. A student has studied astronomy, but he does not like it. Applied in the field of informatics. But at the recreational level in astronomy, most of the students are left, dedicating their children to what is good.

We hope future astronomers.

Photo: Svetozár Štefeček's archive

What do you get used to doing on the rings? Explore something new or already check things already known?

We need a different budget for new projects. So, yes, we check what somebody saw before. But it does not hurt. On the contrary, it is beneficial if children learn to work on such issues, acquire procedures. And then, when they get to the better job, to a better technique, they can easily adapt.

How do you feel about money? The observer's operations are apparently no cost, even if the binocular needs maintenance or not?

Yes, binoculars need service. They are mirrored, so they have to recover the reflective surfaces in time by squeezing the metal layer. Besides the ring we also set up a civil association of astronomers, so we get something from two per cent of the taxes, something from a member, some of the subsidies, something thanks to the sponsors … We support this.

How did he change his astronomy and possibilities over the years of your beginnings?

It is far ahead. We know more. While today we only know a limited number of planets or moons, today there are exoplanets and other new bodies, gravitational waves and, to date, unknown cosmic structures. And we can discover these findings almost in real time.

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