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Techniques & Tools Gas Chromatography, Technology, Thin Layer Chromatography

The Separation of Science

Today, we often take for granted the free exchange of scientific ideas. With instant online communication through a multitude of channels, scientists are more connected than ever before. What would become of science, if those freedoms were curtailed?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union-imposed ‘Iron Curtain’ restricted the ability of Eastern Bloc citizens to travel, trade or communicate with the wider world. Many of the participants of the upcoming International Symposium on Separation Sciences (ISSS 2017) in Vienna have ties to Eastern Europe. We asked some of them to share their experiences of analytical research before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

The results make for interesting reading. All describe challenges in obtaining supplies, sharing their findings and collaborating with Western institutions. Nevertheless, separation science in Eastern Europe survived, and even thrived, during this period – testament to the resourcefulness of researchers but also confirmation that science will always “find a way.”

Science Finds a Way

Simple instruments and great enthusiasm allowed chromatography to flourish in Czechoslovakia – despite all the challenges.

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About the Author

Eva Smolkova-Keulemansova

Eva Smolková-Keulemansová, is a Retired Professor of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Born on April 27 1927 in Prague, in March 1943 she was taken to the ghetto Theresienstadt and from there to Auschwitz, Hamburg and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. She returned to Prague in November 1945 and continued her studies in chemistry, including diploma work in the field of polarography, a PhD focused on gas chromatography and a DrSc dealing with inclusion compounds in chromatography. From the early 1950s she started to build a team devoted to modern analytical separation methods (GC, HPLC and electromigration). She has authored or coauthored 140 original papers, and a number of reviews, book chapters and books i.e. Analysis of Substances in Gaseous Phase (Elsevier).

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