Chemistry International
Vol. 22, No.3, May 2000

2000, Vol. 22
No. 3 (May)
..Chemistry in Slovenia
..News from IUPAC
..Reports from Symposia
..New Projects
..New Books
..Letter to the Editor
..Reports from Commissions
..Provisional Recommendations
..Conference Announcements


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Chemistry International
Vol. 22, No. 3
May 2000


Chemistry in Solvenia Reflects Rich History and Advances in Both Industry and Education

This article was contributed by Prof. Venceslav Kaucic (National Institute of Chemistry and University of Lujbljana, P.O. Box 3430, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia; E-mail: [email protected]), President of the Slovenian Chemical Society, together with Dr. Roman Gabrovsek (National Institute of Chemistry, P.O. Box 3430, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia; E-mail: roman.gabrovsek@, Research Associate, and Dr. Edvard Kobal (Slovenian Science Foundation, Stefanova 15, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia; E-mail: edvard.kobal@, Director of the Slovenian Science Foundation.

Chemistry in Pre-20th Century Slovenia
Early 20 th Century Slovenian Chemistry
Postwar Chemistry in Slovenia
University Study
Research Work–Its Development, Importance, and Achievements
Establishment, Role, and Status of the Slovenian Chemical Society
Slovenian Chemical Days

University Study

Chemical education, particularly at the university level, also felt the aftermath of World War II. There were only ten professors, four assistant professors, and eight assistants for chemistry teaching after the war ended. The governmental initiative in 1953—1954 reorganized all faculties back into one unit under the management of the University of Ljubljana. The situation then remained unchanged until the beginning of the 1960s with the same curriculum–ten semesters of study and an aver-age of 240 students per year.

At the beginning of the 1960s, two new initiatives were launched that significantly changed the organization and scope of chemical education. First, the government passed a law establishing a three-level higher education system consisting of two-year education, full undergraduate education (four-year study), and post-graduate education (additional two-year study). Second, the university itself proposed a plan for combining science and technology as closely as possible. The result of the latter initiative was the establishment of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology, within which the chemistry department consisted of four divisions: chemistry, chemical technology, textile technology, and pharmacy.

School reform at the beginning of the 1970s considerably changed the dynamics and curriculum of university studies. Organized study of chemical sciences (chemistry and chemical technology) lasted for four years, and students could benefit from another full "student- status" year. In the third year of study, students could decide on signing up for courses in either chemical technology or chemical and process engineering. The four-year curriculum also incorporated specialized study of chemical education, intended primarily for future high school teachers.

At the beginning of the 1990s, as a direct consequence of the implementation of the matura (secondary school graduation) exams, the Ministry of Education and Sport divided university studies into two significantly different parts. Options now included a four-year period of study leading to a university degree (B.S.), as well as a three-year curriculum leading to a specialized vocational degree. In 1991, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology split into several independent faculties, among them a newly established Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology.

With the recent intention of Slovenia to join the European Union, the European Credit and Transfer System (ECTS) was adopted. The ECTS enables the free flow of post-second-year students in any of the European universities that have signed mutual bilateral agreements.

The Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Maribor was established in 1995 under the Act that reorganized the University of Maribor, although the study of chemistry had its roots already back in 1959 with the Technical High School. Through the years, chemical education expanded and reorganized several times, and today the study of chemical technology forms the main course taught at the Faculty. There is also the Institute for Chemical Research, which comprises eight laboratories.

The Faculty of Environmental Sciences was established in Nova Gorica in 1995 by its cofounders, the Jozef Stefan Institute of Ljubljana and the city and community of Nova Gorica. The institution was reorganized and renamed Polytechnic of Nova Gorica in 1998. Post-graduate studies of interdisciplinary environmental sciences and economy engineering, along with the school of applied natural sciences, form the backbone of comprehensive studies supported by research laboratories, libraries, and the Technology Park of the Primorska region.

Research Work–Its Development, Importance, and Achievements

The pharmaceutical company Krka, located amid the green scenery of the Dolenjska region, near the beautiful Krka River.

After the University was founded in Ljubljana in 1919, its first well-known chemistry professors were Maks Samec and his colleague Marius Rebek.

During his long academic career in the chemical sciences, Maks Samec, the founder of modern chemical science and the university study of chemistry in Slovenia, initiated the establishment of the Chemical Laboratory under the auspices of the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1946. Later on, the Chemical Laboratory was transformed into the Institute of Chemistry, which quickly became the central institution for chemical research in Slovenia. Samec also assisted in the establishment of the Slovenian Chemical Society, for which he was a leading force. He was recognized worldwide in the chemical profession for his achievements in the colloid chemistry of starch and cellulose.

Frederik Pregl (1869-1930),
the only Slovenian scientist
to have received a Nobel prize
in chemistry.

The only Slovenian scientist ever to have received a Nobel prize in chemistry was Frederik Pregl (1869-1930). A physician by profession, he became head of the Medical-Chemical Institute in Graz, Austria in 1913. A year later, he received Liebig’s prize in recognition of his development of methods in organic microanalysis. He further developed and popularized these methods, which brought him the Nobel prize in 1923.

Two nonprofit institutions, the Jozef Stefan Institute and the National Institute of Chemistry (both located in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia) also per-form leading research in chemistry. Besides basic and applied research, both institutes also perform target-oriented specialized research and development studies, mostly as projects stemming from collaboration with Slovenian industry. An important function of the institutes is their approach to the education of graduate and postgraduate students. Both institutes are internationally recognized and maintain extensive contact and collaboration with universities and other institutes worldwide.

Establishment, Role, and Status of the Slovenian Chemical Society

The Slovenian Chemical Society was established in Ljubljana in 1951. It unites specialists in all fields of chemistry, chemical technology, and chemical engineering, and its goals are as follows:

• to enhance progress in all fields of chemistry, exchange experience, and popularize achievements;

• to enhance professional knowledge of its members;

• to connect its members via organized activities; and

• to establish contacts with other organizations that are active in the field of chemistry.

Maks Samec, well-known teacher and scientist, founder of modern chemical science in Slovenia, and driving force for establishment of the Slovenian Chemical Society.

Today the Slovenian Chemical Society has 1300 members. It is managed by a Board that is elected for a four-year term at the annual meeting. The executive body of the Board is the Executive Committee, which consists of the president, two vice presidents, two secretaries, and the treasurer.

The Society encompasses a Division of Chemistry and a Division of Chemical Engineering and Technology. Two branch offices of the Society are active in the Dolenjska region and in Maribor. These units are man-aged by committees whose presidents are also members of the Society’s Board.

Supervision of the work of the Society’s bodies is performed by the Supervisory Committee. The Code of Ethics Committee is called in to act in cases of violation of the Professional Code of Ethics.

The Slovenian Chemical Society publishes its own quarterly periodical, Acta Chimica Slovenica, which contains original scientific papers; survey papers on the activities of research groups; reports on investments and industrial achievements; Society news; book reviews; reports on B.S. degrees, M.S. theses, and Ph.D. dissertations from both Slovenian universities; and agendas of scientific and specialized events at home and abroad. Acta Chimica Slovenica is edited by an International Editorial Board, and all published papers have been internationally refereed. The publication has been indexed in Chemical Abstracts, Current Contents, and Science Citation Index.

The Society cooperates with national and foreign institutions, aside from being a member of the Federation of European Chemical Societies (FECS), IUPAC, the European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFCE), and others.

Activities of the Society are carried out via ten sections, two committees, and two regional branches. Membership in the Society is open to any person with a professional qualification in the chemical sciences at all levels of education, to practitioners in the chemical sciences, and to students. Conditions of membership include membership dues and agreement to abide by the Statutes of the Society and to adhere to the Professional Code of Ethics.

The Slovenian Chemical Society can nominate Honorary or Distinguished Service members in recognition of their outstanding contributions made to the promotion of the Society.

Primary tasks of the Committee for Chemical Terminology and Nomenclature are to monitor the development of Slovenian chemical terminology and nomenclature, and to cooperate with the Technical Committee of the Section for Terminology Dictionaries at the Institute for Slovenian Language (Fran Ramovs) of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in preparing the third edition of the General Technical Dictionary. The aim of the Committee is to establish a terminology bulletin board where researchers from different fields of science would participate with suggestions for new Slovenian terms from their disciplines. This bulletin board would also enable researchers from other disciplines to contribute their own suggestions and comments with a view toward introducing and disseminating Slovenian chemical terminology.

Slovenian Chemical Days

Slovenian Chemical Days is the annual convention of chemists and chemical engineers that has taken place in Maribor every September since 1995. This convention is the meeting place for practitioners, users, and allied professionals from all areas of the chemical and process industries. Scientists from other countries also participate in this traditional event.


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