The quiet witness to the rich history of the Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics, v.v.i., is a large complex of the institute buildings located Na Rokosce (Prague 8 – Libeň). Its basic outlines are almost unchanged and have been preserved until now protected as a national heritage.
The academy history of the Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic can be dated to 1. January 1958, the date when the Mining Institute of CSAS was founded (1958-1997) as the basic research centre for mining sciences.
However, its development can be followed back to 1927, when the Institute for Scientific Research of Coal was founded and the researchers were concerned mostly with chemistry of coal and chemical processes of solid fuel. The founder and the first director of the institute was the co-author of the famous Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of liquid fuel from coal.
The institute occupied buildings of the former Vydra´s Foodstuffs Factory in Prague – Libeň, bought and adapted gradually for its research actions. Original owner of the factory was a manufacturer and researcher Mr. František Vydra (*1869 - † 1921).
In 1895 he founded a factory to produce chicory. After a failure due to a production error he followed Kathrein´s recipe for malt coffee being the first in this country to produce and introduce ray coffee.
In 1898 he moved his plant to Prague into a building of an old sugar refinery in Libeň and his production was gradually extended and included foodstuffs and various delicacies like fizzy candies, than various soup tins, fruit juice, wafers, baking powder, children flour, mustard etc.
In the years of 1909 – 1912 the factory was completely rebuilt and considerably enlarged. During the World War One and in the following years he experimented with caramelization of malt to exclude astringent and bitter substances in the production of dark bier. The outcome of his effort was malt preparation named Maltovin which proved to be successful in practical tests in several breweries.
After 1948 the institute that resided in the buildings of the Vydra´s factory in Prague-Libeň was renamed as State Institute of Fuel.
In 1958 when the Mining Institute of CSAS was constituted, it consisted of several sections originally active at the State Institute of Fuel (processing, chemistry of kaustobiolites, briquetting, and analytic chemistry). Newly established sections were set for geomechanics, mine ventilation, hydraulics of underground waters and radioisotopes.
The Mining Institute solved relevant individual problems in the area of geosciences and chemistry of mined raw-materials, namely of coal by a multidisciplinary approach and synthesis of results. Thanks to this institute for the first time in that time of Czechoslovakia, mining sciences developed to reach a world level. One of the significant personalities of that time was, for example, František Špetl, an internationally recognized expert in the branch of processing.
In the 1970´s the Mining Institute went through fundamental reorganizations. Regarding to great mine catastrophes in Ostrava - Karviná coal field, as well as due to the needs of mining industry, a branch of the Mining Institute was founded in the town of Ostrava in 1978 which later transformed into the present Institute of Geonics AS CR, v.v.i. In 1979 the Mining Institute and the Geological Institute CSAS merged under a new name: the Institute of Geology and Geotechnics CSAS (1979-1989). Experts did not see this merger as contributive, and following the political changes in 1989, the institute split in 1990 again to two independent institutes, while the Institute of Geotechnics CSAS became the successor to the Mining Institute (1989-1992).
The 1990´s called forth extensive and complex changes linked also with the sphere of mining and processing of raw-materials. This resulted in gradual changes in research, stressed and newly orientated to protection of environment. In 1992 when the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic was constituted, the Institute of Geotechnics CSAS was renamed as the Institute of Rock Structure and Mechanics AS CR, v.v.i.
Today, it represents a modern scientific institute. Problems relating mainly to development of new methodical procedures are solved in five scientific sections. They are oriented to research concerning both natural rocks and rock environment of earth crust, as well as of artificially prepared geomaterials:
Department of Geochemistry
Department of Composites and Carbon Materials
Department of Materials Structure and Properties
Department of Neotectonics and Thermochronology
Department of Engineering Geology
Department of Seismotectonics
The institute participates in training post gradual students and supervising of their thesis in the fields of applied geology, physics and geophysics, energetic and chemical fuel processing, as well as chemistry and technology of inorganic materials. There is editing of the magazine named Acta Geodynamica et Geomaterialia, previously published under the name Acta Montana and in the past "Proceedings - Zprávy Hornického Ústavu".