100 Years with Amos: Lectures, Discussions, and Exhibitions

Comenius University is celebrating its 100th anniversary in true style. There is Sajfa’s well-known Level Lama show in the Auditorium, discussions with famous guests and successful graduates, presentations by interesting students, lectures which are instructive and entertaining, sports tournaments, and an open day at some faculties. What is it like to go to the South Pole? All of this is what the “100 Years with Amos” event is about.

28. 03. 2019 15.56 hod.
By: CU Public Relations Office

The exhibition of insignia is something quite unique which does not happen often. The current and past maces of rectors and deans as well as various other regalia of rectors, vice-rectors, deans, and chairmen of the Academic Senate were all on display for the first time in one place. Comenius University rector Marek Števček opened the exhibition, having earlier in the day opened a sports tournament in Mlynská dolina. “What is fantastic about this university, and why I love it so much, is that it has so many facets, and here we are looking at its more serious and historical side,” he said. The exhibition, only lasting from 27 to 28 March, was prepared by the Comenius University Archive, which is headed by Mária Grófová: “Insignia are an incredible area and deserve our attention and truly silent admiration. Silent admiration for the master craftsmen who made these objects,” she said.

A discussion in the Auditorium

If you sometimes follow what is going on the Slovak YouTube scene, you will have registered Sajfa’s show Level Lama. Today a special show was shot in the university’s Auditorium. Sajfa invited Adela Vinczeová, a well-known and popular TV personality, to talk about her memories of university while they played a game; both Sajfa and Adela are graduates of Comenius University. They worked out the meaning of the phrase “alma mater” and heard some very useful advice from former students to current ones: decency was a dominant theme.

Adela gave up her place on the leather armchair to Comenius University rector Marek Števček. The audience learned how the current rector got to be where he is today and what the university can offer students: "At the very least, it challenges a young person’s set of values and way of thinking,” he said. The audience heard answers to many questions, such as whether there will ever be tuition fees, whether a rector needs to have a sense of humour, and what the use is for the punching bag in the rector's office.

StartitUP is a community portal that is a starting line for many young people. Daniel Hevier (a writer and graduate of Comenius University), Michal “Ego” Straka (a rapper, lawyer, and graduate of Comenius University), and Marek Šándor (a co-founder of StartitUP) came to talk about motivation. All three acknowledged that money was an important motivation, as they were able to provide for their family with it, but they also said that if you enjoy what you do, money will come in any event. For Ego, demotivating factors included passivity and critical attitudes, Daniel Hevier rejected the idea of “new challenges”, and stagnation was the biggest demotivation for Marek Šándor.

The founder of the Bubo travel agency, Ľubo Fellner, also a Comenius University graduate, spoke about his expeditionary adventures to the South Pole and about how his own travel career began. He studied medicine, but his dream was to discover the world. He was inspired by his great-grandfather, who had travelled around the world in the 19th century. In 1993 Fellner founded Bubo, now one of Slovakia's best-known travel agencies, which also translates as “eagle-owl”. He admitted that the agency’s beginnings were not easy, but he added that if you do something well, the results will come through in the end. He stressed that you need to work with good people when starting a business, and you have to work on yourself all the time. For Fellner, there are simply no excuses.

Juraj Porubský, the founder of Forbes, a magazine about successful people, businesses, new ideas, and start-ups, defined the difference between ordinary people and successful entrepreneurs. A successful entrepreneur will take the extra step and overcome obstacles. The secret guest of “30 under 30” was Tomáš Brngál, a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine, who developed Virtual Medicine, an application about the human body in virtual reality. He talked about his experiences with the investment market in Boston, where he spent one month. “I have always been interested in technology,” said the young entrepreneur, although he admitted that sometimes he had a longing for surgery.

The Faculty of Medicine was represented by another young start-up innovator, Martin Pekarčík, who alongside a team of students from the Slovak University of Technology, developed the S-Case medical technological device. This is a device the size of a mobile phone which is capable of measuring several human physiological functions at the same time without the need for medical personnel. Martin thinks that medical students needed good education and good mentors to avoid leaving Slovakia for good; money is not the first motivation to depart. The stand-up comedian Nasi Mothlagh from Iran, who studies at the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, talked about why she came to Slovakia. Having lived here for eight years, she likes Slovakia and joked about the Alien Police.

The goal of the Build up Your Language Habit workshop with Matúš Kopálek and Michal Scibior was to encourage everyone to learn foreign languages. Michal himself is a polyglot who speaks nine languages, including Slovak, as he is Polish, as well as Italian, Dutch, Spanish, and Russian. “The most important thing is our expectations of language. It is okay not to know everything in a language but just what we need,” said Michal, adding that we can develop key language competencies based on our expectations: “Use travel as an opportunity to listen and read, or talk and write,” he added. The message of the presentation was that foreign languages are not only a source of success, but also of happiness and expressing emotions, building relationships, and forming bridges between nations and cultures.

Former Slovak ice hockey player Miroslav Šatan and Slovak Ice Hockey Federation president Martin Kohút came to talk about the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championship. Both agreed that putting the Slovak team in Košice was a good move, not only for increasing the capacity of the championships but also in terms of marketing and for connecting Bratislava and Košice. They know that Slovakia will be under a lot of scrutiny because it is the host of this year's tournament, but at the same time they hope that the promotion of the country will be as good as possible and of course that the Slovak team will do well and get a medal. They also highlighted the fact that sport is very important to young people.

Erik Baláž, a well-known activist from the We Are the Forest civic initiative, prepared a presentation about environmental protection about how he progressed from the protection of endangered species to the protection of the forest itself. “Living organisms are always connected to the environment in which they live, which is why changes in the environment are what is most harmful to them,” he said. In this context, he explained the circumstances of the successful blockade of logging operations in the Tichá dolina valley in 2007, which he organized. One of the main reasons why environmental protection in Slovakia was not effective was that this issue has never been dealt with in a comprehensive manner. The ideal approach in this respect is the Bavarian Forest, a German national park which combines nature conservation with a successful business model, allowing the park to benefit the wider region.

Light-hearted lectures

A series of light-hearted lectures in the Auditorium was started by Professor Karol Jesenák from the Faculty of Natural Sciences, who spoke on a very current topic, “The impact of Bioresonance, a Balanced Diet, and Ying Energy on the Level of Lecturing of a Refurbished University Teacher”. At the outset, he admitted that he was extremely proud of the title of the lecture, even though he had no idea what it should be: “Of course, I have no problem with it, because the quality of a university teacher depends on how he can talk about things about which he knows nothing.” With this attitude, he embarked on an expert analysis of the balanced diet, which, according to his research, had already been mentioned by ancient Slavs at the end of the Tertiary Period when they discovered that sliced pork was much tastier than a whole pig, but he also paused to talk about the neglected issue of drinking, which many university teachers do not cover. “A university teacher should be balanced in worldviews as well as in issues of urination,” said Jesenák, who organizes popular imaginary science seminars.

Viktor Bielik from the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport talked about how both experts and ordinary people were inundated with nutrition trends and can lose their bearings and about the fact that Maslow left movement out of his hierarchy of basic human needs. At the same time, he practically answered the question of how sport, movement, and healthy nutrition help one live a healthy and enjoyable life and how our 24-hour day should ideally look.

“What should we do with an electrical current so that it does not hurt us?" was a question posed by František Kundracik from the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics. His practical lecture was supplemented by examples of a Van der Graaff generator and Tesla transformer. The audience could also experience the freezing properties of liquid nitrogen, which has a temperature of 200 degrees below zero. The secrets of superconductivity were also revealed.

Andrej Mentel from the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences talked about how we choose partners and why we are often unfaithful to them. When choosing a partner, men pay particular attention to a woman's age, signs of fertility, and physical traits such as distinctive cheekbones, large eyes, or a wide smile. The body's natural smell is also important. “It is true that opposites attract. Fire and water, beauty and the beast, we complement each other; she goes to galleries, he plays football.” The greater the differences between men and women, the more attractive they are to each other. Research shows that women perceive emotional infidelity more negatively, whereas men focus on sexual infidelity.

A superstition is the belief that some phenomena and events are manifestations of supernatural forces or signs of the future. Pavol Sulo from the Faculty of Natural Sciences refuted the idea that the body could become “too acidic”, the supposed benefits of detoxification, myths concerning mucus, and the “memory” of water. “Myths must be eradicated. Up to 60 percent of people in Australia think that milk caused mucus, which is just not true. Milk is the ideal food for nourishment for the most vulnerable young mammals,” he said.

The Rector's Cup, Marek Števček, was awarded to the Faculty od Physical Education and Sport of Comenius University.

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A short summary from the event