The 6-Minute Challenge, Vol 16 – Student Special

Thu, MARCH 28, 2024, at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall in Manhattan

Since 2015, SVU NY’s signature program The 6-Minute Challenge invites scholars, scientists, artists, and professionals of Czech or Slovak descent and challenges them to introduce their talent, the subject of their work, project, research, or studies in a short presentation limited to six minutes.

This special edition will feature students of Czech and Slovak descent at Columbia University, New York University, and The New School for Social Research: Jáchym Harwood (CU – Biology and Environmental Science), Jennifer Helinek (CU – Eastern European Studies), Maxwell Lurken-Tvrdik (CU – Sociology), Natalie Plavec (NYU – Applied Psychology), Nicole Plavec (NYU – Applied Psychology and Anthropology), Karolina Poliakova (CU -Science Communication), Eben Rose (New School – Crisis and Environmental Economics), Karel Andres Ruiz (CU – Comparative Literature) and René Strezenicky Franko (CU – Biology and Russian)


Moderated by Christopher Harwood, PhD

Free. Suggested donation $10
Limited seating.


A Brief Foray into the Alchemy of Stem Cell Research

HYNEKThursday, APRIL 18, 2024 at 7 pm
Bohemian National Hall in NYC

A talk by Dr. Hynek Wichterle, Columbia University Medical Center

Join us for a fascinating journey into Professor Hynek Wichterle’s stem cell research at Columbia University Medical Center. He developed groundbreaking methods for producing spinal cord neurons from pluripotent embryonic stem cells in a culture dish. The goal of his work is to unlock the mysteries of brain development and discover new treatments that promote motor neuron survival in patients affected by ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Fun fact: Hynek Wichterle is a proud grandson of Otto Wichterle, the Czech scientist who invented hydrogels and soft contact lenses.

Limited seating. RSVP via Eventbrite link
Free. Suggested donation $10.

HYNEK WICHTERLE is a professor holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Pathology & Cell Biology and Neuroscience (in Neurology) at Columbia University Medical Center. He received his M.S. degree from Charles University in Prague and his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University. He trained at Columbia University, where he was appointed assistant professor in 2004 and a Jerry and Emily Spiegel professor in 2021. He serves as a co-director of the Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease and as a Vice-Chief of the Division of Regenerative Medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.

Photo Paul Ort, Painting of Otto Wichterle Hana Shannon


Sunday, FEBRUARY 11 @ 3 pm
Theater for the New City
155 First Ave @ 10th Street, NYC

Join our group when we attend the matinee show of The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the First World War, a unique production of the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater (CAMT) based on a Czech iconic satirical 1921 antiwar novel by Jaroslav Hasek. SVU NY board member and CAMT’s artistic director, Vit Horejs, has worked his magic to bring this rich and hilarious text to life through a unique combination of marionettes and actors! After the show, we will go for drinks and/or dinner at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant and chat with the director and cast members. (The restaurant sends a portion of the sales to support Ukraine.)

Please REGISTER FOR THE AFTER-SHOW MEET-UP at the RESTAURANT HERE by Thursday, February 8. Include your name, email, and number of people coming. SEATING is LIMITED – the maximum size of our group is 20 people.

Buy the SHOW TICKETS HERE: $18; seniors and students $15.


The AMAZING BREUER: Czech-American Pioneer of Science Fiction in the USA (1889 –1945)

A talk by Jaroslav Olša, Jr.


Sunday, February 25, at 4 pm (EST)

Mr. Olsa discussed the life and work of a Czech American writer who stood at the birth of science fiction literature in the USA.

When the American editor Hugo Gernsback started in 1926 the first science fiction monthly magazine, Amazing Stories, he was soon faced with a shortage of authors. In 1927, a new contributor, Miles J. Breuer, a physician of Czech origin in Nebraska, joined the magazine with his story “The Man with the Strange Head.” Later, Breuer published two novels, thirty-six shorter stories, and several other items for science fiction magazines.
While Miles J. Breuer made a mark in US science fiction, his Czech alter ego, Miloslav J. Breuer, was only discovered in 2020. Until recently, experts thought Breuer was a literary newcomer at that time. But Mr. Olsa’s recent research discovered that Breuer was a prolific writer since 1909 and numerous Czech-American publications published his stories written originally in Czech.

Jaroslav Olša, Jr. is a Czech career diplomat with more than 30 years of experience, including posts as Ambassador to Zimbabwe (2000-2006), South Korea (2008-2014), and the Philippines (2014-2018). Since 2020, he has served as Consul General in Los Angeles. Mr. Olša is also a writer with a passion for science fiction. He published many articles and edited over a dozen Czech and international science fiction anthologies. He also authored books on culture and the relations between the Czech Lands, Asia, and Africa. His most recent books are Czech Painters of California (2023) and Miloslav (Miles) J. Breuer: Cesko-americký spisovatel u zrodu moderní science fiction (2023).

The Amazing Breuer in Czech
The Amazing Breuer in English to download


Stepping into the Future: The Art and Science of Shoe Design


A talk by Oldrich Voyta
Friday, January 26 at 7 pm


The award-winning Czech footwear designer and technology researcher, Oldrich Voyta discussed the relationship between art, beauty, craftsmanship, modern technology, aesthetics, and comfort in designing shoes. He finds inspiration in the lines of the human body and the biomechanical principles of movement. He was invited to produce shoes for the new Czech First Lady of the Czech Republic, Eva Pavel, to be worn at the presidential inauguration in March 2023 in Prague.

Oldrich Voyta holds his MA in Footwear Design at Tomas Bata University in Zlin (TBU) and is currently pursuing a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Technology at TBU, focusing on the Technology of Macromolecular Compounds. His research centers on women’s high-heeled shoes with a 3D cushioning membrane. With a rich background that includes working as a leading designer in Beijing and receiving the 1st Red Dot Award in 2018 for his contributions to the Air Purifier by ATMPBLUE project, Oldrich’s work has been showcased at renowned events like Beijing Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Milano Design Week, and the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Photos from the event on FaceBook