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Václav Smil

Datum narození: 9. prosinec 1943

Václav Smil je kanadský vědec českého původu, emeritní profesor University of Manitoba.

Narodil se v Plzni během druhé světové války. V roce 1965 získal doktorát z přírodních věd na Karlově univerzitě v Praze. V roce 1969 z Československa emigroval. Studoval pak na Pensylvánské státní univerzitě ve Filadelfii, kde v roce 1972 získal titul Ph.D.

Vystudoval přírodní vědy, ale není specialistou v žádném konkrétním oboru. Věnuje se interdisciplinárnímu výzkumu v oblastech energetiky, životního prostředí, vývoje obyvatelstva, produkce potravin a technických inovací. Miloš Čermák jej ve svém komentáři pro server iHNed označil za mezioborového akademika, renesančního člověka.

Do roku 2011 působil jako vysokoškolský profesor na Fakultě životního prostředí a geografie University of Manitoba ve Winnipegu, kde vyučoval předměty zabývající se energií, atmosférickou změnou, Čínou, populačním a ekonomickým vývojem.

Je členem Královské vědecké společnosti. Obdržel cenu Americké asociace pro vědecký pokrok za popularizaci vědy a techniky. Časopis Foreign Policy jej v roce 2010 zařadil mezi stovku nejvlivnějších lidí světa a Bill Gates ho označuje za jednoho z nejinspirativnějších a nejzajímavějších intelektuálů současnosti.

Dosud napsal necelé čtyři desítky knih , řadu z nich o energetice a životním prostředí. Žádná z nich však dosud nevyšla v češtině.

Je ženatý, manželka Eva je lékařka a jejich syn David je chemik v oboru organické a syntetické chemie.


„Základní věc je číst, číst a číst. Protože když čtete, přemýšlíte.
A když přemýšlíte, dostáváte nové nápady. Čtení aktivuje části mozku, které žádná jiná činnost aktivovat neumí.
Také probouzí představivost. Když se podíváte na fotku Benátek, moc o ní nepřemýšlíte. Ale když o tom čtete, musíte zapojit i představivost. Čtení je něco, co z nás dělá lidi.“

„the world now consumes in one year nearly as much steel as it did during the first post-World War II decade, and (even more incredibly) more cement than it consumed during the first half of the twentieth century.“ Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization


„The last time such a loss occurred was during the 1930s, and what makes it such a concern this time is that the dismal job creation statistic has been accompanied by huge and rising budget deficits, large and persistent trade deficits, enormous indebtedness, a low saving rate, a worsening state of indispensable modern infrastructure, poor achievements in education for the masses, worrisome public health (marked by a historically unprecedented incidence of obesity)—and a grossly dysfunctional government to run it all. When seen from this perspective, the state of US manufacturing is a clear cause for concern.“ Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing

„Life’s great dichotomy is between autotrophs, organisms that can nourish themselves, and heterotrophs, or life forms that must feed on other organisms.“ Harvesting the Biosphere: What We Have Taken from Nature

„A useful analogy is to see traditional societies as relying on instantaneous (or minimally delayed) and constantly replenished solar income, while modern civilization is withdrawing accumulated solar capital at rates that will exhaust it in a tiny fraction of the time that was needed to create it.“ Energy

„China’s ruling party, as firmly in control of the government as ever, attracts foreign companies and enormous direct investment by guaranteeing the stability of a police state and by supplying a docile workforce that labors with minimum rights, commonly for extended hours under severe discipline, and is housed in substandard conditions.“ Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing

„A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: “Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?” Despite“ Energy

„despite the decline in consumer spending brought on by the greatest economic downturn since World War II, the difference between jobs in manufacturing and in retail had reached nearly three million workers, a depressing reality of a failing economy where most new opportunities were low-paid, part-time positions to sell Chinese apparel and electronics bought on credit.“ Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing


„we create the modern world's material wealth with no more than a quarter of all energy we use.“ Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization

„Later studies estimated that at least 6.4 Mt of plastic litter enters the oceans every year; that some 8 million pieces are discarded every day; that the floating plastic debris averages more than 13 000 pieces per km2 of ocean surface; and that some 60% of all marine litter stems from shoreline activities“ Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization

„Energy will do anything that can be done in the world. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832)“ Energy: A Beginner's Guide

„I wrote this book because I wanted to narrate the great, and a truly nation-building, story of US manufacturing—and because I believe that without the preservation and reinvigoration of manufacturing, the United States has little chance to extricate itself from its current economic problems, meet the challenges posed by other large and globally more competitive nations, and remain a dynamic and innovative society for generations to come.“ Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing


„material for the records. The rubber was soon replaced by shellac, and that material was used“ Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing

„Romania was the greatest exception with GDP up strongly by about 55% but with the country's material consumption expanding 2.5 times during the decade, a clear case of rising inefficiency of material use and increasing dependence of economic growth on higher material inputs.“ Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization

„Peter Menzel's Material World: A Global Family Portrait“ Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization

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