Dr. Karol Pieta: Scientist must be an authority and a personality at the same time
PhDr. Karol PIETA, DrSc. currently works as the deputy director of the Archeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra and his scientific specialisation is the Archeology of the Central European Iron Age, Roman Empire, Migration Period, Early Middle Ages (Celts, Germans, Slavs), experimental archeology and the origins of Christianity. He is the author of 235 publications, of which nine are major monographs. The Award for Science and Technology in the category Lifelong Achievements in Science and Technology receives for many extraordinary discoveries in archeology and lifelong scientific work that has significantly contributed to the better understanding of history.
The first impulse for Dr. Karol Pieta, which aroused his interest for history, was popular literature about prehistoric hunters, and also the book of doyen of Slovak archelogy – Štefan Janšák about how the traces of the presence of ancient inhabitants of Slovakia can be found in the fields – fragments of clay pots. As early as a fourteen years old student, he began collecting these findings and bring them to the Archeological Institute, which was located at the Nitra Castle back then. The oldest materialised history interested him so much that after finishing a secondary school, he decided to study archeology in Bratislava and he was not discouraged by the shocking reality that despite successfully passing the admission tests, he was not admitted for studies for political reasons, because his father was a civil servant. After a year of physical work on excavations, he passed the admissions to the Masaryk University in Brno. As he says, he is grateful for ‘prudent’ Communist politicians, because of whom he had, in the end, an opportunity to study in Brno and its outstanding professors.
According to Dr. Pieta, as in the past, today, a success in science is not possible without responsibility and perseverance in work and a decent amount of ingenuity coupled also with a bit of luck. Czechoslovak and Slovak archeology have long belonged to internationally recognised scientific discipline and it successfully develops this good tradition further. Significant progress has been made in the technology of research, in the use of new technical capabilities such as GIS, 3D or aerial scanning LIDAR and in ever closer collaboration with other scientific disciplines. The use of DNA and in particular isotopic analysis brings previously unimagined possibilities and findings, which help identify the origin of the discovered individual, as well as its method of nutrition.
Karol Pieta belongs to researchers with a broader range of scientific interest and our territory with a particularly rich and important history allows him to study numerous remarkable civilisations in parallel. He is equally interested in the Celts as well as the dramatic Migration Period or the Great Moravia. The stone palaces of Celtic kings at the Bratislava Castle, the chamber tomb of a Germanic leader from Poprad, or Slavic power centre in Bojná, undoubtedly belong to the monuments of European significance. As he says, in today’s world, it is necessary that the scientific wok is effective, internationally comparable and based on collaboration and generational continuity. Its positive results have to be made available to other experts as soon as possible, as well as published for public and to structures responsible for the co-financing of science. Active approach in this regard, based of course on exclusive scholastic results may significantly affect the funding of science, as well as the status and equipment of a given workplace. Awarding of the demanding scientific work often positively affects the activity of research scientist and his community involvement.
Karol Pieta devotes a lot of energy to the working group, which for already ten years explores the Great Moravian power centre in Bojná that became known for spectacular discoveries related to the beginnings of our statehood and the oldest documents of Christianity. At the same time, he coordinates an international project dedicated to the preservation and evaluation of the well-known tomb of a Germanic leader from Poprad and the long-term research of the Early-Christianity settlement in Kuwait. The priority is given to the successful conclusion of these challenging scientific projects.
According to this exceptional researcher, author and a pedagogue, scientist must be an authority and a personality at the same time. S/he should select and surround himself/herself with capable young people, who will eventually be better than himself/herself. If they will proudly avow to their teacher and adviser, then s/he did a good job.
For enthusiastic researchers, work and private life often blend together and they devote a lot of free time to research. This also applies to Karol Pieta. Nevertheless, he does not escape the everyday worries about family and home, but there also remains time for culture, traveling and a bit of sports – bike and skiing.
The Award for Science and Technology has been awarded since 2014, replacing the Award of the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic. The objective of this transformation is to increase the social prestige of the awards for science and technology.
Please visit the event's website Week of Science and Technology in Slovakia (only Slovak version) to find the list of all awarded in the individual categories, or see the e-newspapers Scientific kaleidoscope.
The main organiser of the Week of Science and Technology in Slovakia is the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic in cooperation with the Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information and the National Centre for the Popularisation of Science and Technology in Society. The general partner of the event is Huawei.
Information provided by: PhDr. Karol PIETA, DrSc.
Edited by: Barbora Hrvolová, NCP S&T within the SCSTI
Intro photo: from the archive of Dr. Karol Pieta
Photo: Ján Laštinec, NCP S&T within the SCSTI
Published by: ZVČ
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