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How can Croatian science help Croatia to overcome the crisis?
By Marijan Ožanić | Published  05/16/2013 | Science , People , Education , Community , Business | Unrated
Reindustrialization – a topic which is particularly important for the future of Croatia


Mr. Marijan Ožanić on the left with Zvonko Benčić and Igor Čatić, retired professors of the University of Zagreb,
in the studio of the Croatian Catholic Radio in Zagreb


The Arguments radio show on Croatian Catholic Radio, directed by Marijan Ožanić,  discussed to what extent science in Croatia is connected with economy and whether science can help Croatia to overcome economic crisis. Zvonko Benčić and Igor Čatić (on the photo), professors at the University of Zagreb, were invited as competent experts from the field of engineering sciences, who can tell us a lot about it because they have spent their entire working life connected with economy.



Professor Igor Čatić

Professor Zvonko Benčić during the presentation of a monograph about William Feller,
distinguished Croatian-American mathematician

 
Koliko hrvatska znanost može doprinijeti izlasku Hrvatske iz krize

U utorak, 16.travnja 2013. u emisiji ARGUMENTI na Hrvatskom katoličkom radiju razgovarali smo o tome koliko je naša znanost danas povezana s gospodarstvom i može li znanost doprinijeti izlasku Hrvatske iz krize. Zato sam u goste pozvao dva ugledna sveučilišna profesora, s područja tehničkih znanosti koji nam o tome mogu mnogo toga reći, jer su kroz cijeli svoj radni vijek bili povezani s gospodarstvom.
Moji gosti u studiju bili su prof. dr. Igor Čatić, umirovljeni profesor s Fakulteta strojarstva i brodogradnje  u Zagrebu   i prof. dr. Zvonko Benčić,  umirovljeni profesor s FER-a, Fakulteta elektrotehnike i računarstva u Zagrebu. (Od 1956. do 1995. Fakultet je djelovao pod nazivom  ETF, Elektrotehnički fakultet, u Zagrebu.)

Zašto sam pozvao dva sveučilišna profesora u emisiju koja je prvenstveno bave poduzetništvom? Kakve veze oni imaju s poduzetništvom?

Poduzetnici, da bi uspjeli u poslovnom životu moraju imati poduzetničke sposobnosti i mnogo znanja. Gdje mogu dobiti znanje? Naravno, dijelom kroz rad, ali najviše kroz školovanje. Koliko je naš obrazovni sustav, a posebno visokoškolski sustav prilagođen tim zahtjevima? Nažalost, ja mislim da je sve manje sposoban pripremati mlade ljude za poslovni život u realnom svijetu.

Kada razgovaramo o toj temi, profesori Čatić i Benčić su kompetentni sugovornici, jer su veliki dio svog radnog vijeka proveli u gospodarstvu. Profesor Benčić je radio 30 godina u KONČARU (velikom proizvođaču električnih strojeva, generatora, transformatora, motora i lokomotiva, u Zagrebu), radio je i na razvoju tiristorske lokomotive (koja je u ono vrijeme bila najbolja lokomotiva na svijetu), a  sada je vrhunski znanstvenik i profesor na području energetske elektronike. Profesor Čatić je iz obrtničke obitelji prvih alatničara u Zagrebu. Usporedo s pohađanjem gimnazije, izučio je alatničarski zanat. Tijekom studija radio je kao konstruktor kalupa i strojeva za preradbu plastike u alatničarskoj radionici. Poslije je radio u tvornici MEGA (Tvornica patent zatvarača, osnovana 1947. u Zagrebu), zatim u TOZ-u (TOZ- tvornica olovaka i pisaćeg pribora, osnovana je u Zagrebu 1937. godine), a od 1965. do umirovljenja 2006. radio je na Fakultetu strojarstva i brodogradnje u Zagrebu. Zanimljivo je spomenuti da je pred desetak godina uveo  koncept kulturologijskog vrednovanja proizvoda koji osim tehničkih kriterija uzima u obzir i kriterije duhovne kulture. Treba istaknuti i njegove izvorne doprinose hrvatskom jeziku i filozofiji, a nekada je na radiju vodio i emisije o jazzu.

Profesori Čatić i Benčić su pravi intelektualci širokog obrazovanja, ne samo tehničkog već i humanističkog. Autori su mnogih znanstvenih radova, knjiga, članaka, i dobili su mnogobrojna priznanja za svoj rad. Za razliku od mnogih današnjih mladih profesora, oni su i jako društveno aktivni, pišu i reagiraju na pojave u društvu.

Nakon što su profesori na početku rekli nešto o sebi i o svom znanstvenom putu, prešli smo na temu našeg razgovora – Znanost i gospodarstvo.

Nekada, a to znači pred kojih 30-50 godina naša  znanost je bila jako povezana s gospodarstvom. Ja sam, na primjer,  diplomirao na Elektrotehničkom fakultetu u Zagrebu kod profesora prof.dr. Zvonimira Sirotića (profesor konstrukcije), a onda sam se zaposlio u poduzeću KONČAR  i prof. Sirotić mi je bio šef u Tehničkom uredu. Danas na fakultetima više nema ljudi koji su nekada radili u gospodarstvu. Veza znanosti i gospodarstva se prekinula i izgubila. Do 90-tih većina diplomskih radova i doktorata s tehničkih područja bila je vezana uz teme iz tvornica, nakon 90-tih gotovo ih više nema. To jako loše i štetno i za znanost i za gospodarstvo.

Kada je ta veza prekinuta, zašto se to dogodilo i kakvo je stanje sada?

Profesor Benčić svoj je odgovor započeo tako da je pročitao govor koji je Franjo Rački, (1828.–1894.), svećenik, hrvatski povjesničar, publicist, kulturni djelatnik, narodnjački političar,  održao na otvorenju Akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Zagrebu 1866. godine i govorio o ulozi znanosti u društvu.

Nakon toga smo prešli na temu kakvu znanost treba, a kakvu ne treba jedna mala zemlja kao Hrvatska. Profesor Benčić se usprotivio pojmu „mala zemlja“ i naveo veliki broj europskih zemalja koje su manje od Hrvatske i to ih ne sprečava da budu uspješne i razvijene.  Treba li se znanost više usmjeriti na fundamentalna istraživanja i objavljivanje u inozemnim časopisima (kao što je sada trend) ili se više usmjeriti na primijenjena istraživanja koja će se realizirati u našem gospodarstvu? Kakva je situacija sa znanstvenim časopisima? Prof. Čatić govorio je o današnjoj situaciji u Hrvatskoj u kojoj se časopisi na hrvatskom jeziku gase, a forsiraju se samo časopis na engleskom jeziku.

Razgovarali smo i o tome može li  hrvatska znanost doprinijeti izlasku Hrvatske iz krize.

Razgovarali smo i o reindustrijalizaciji, temi koja je jako važna za budućnost ove zemlje. Nova radna mjesta se neće ponovno otvarati u državnim i uvoznim poduzećima i državnoj administraciji, već jedino u poduzetništvu i industriji. Danas se više niti ne zna što je to industrija. U medijima i u javnosti dominiraju ljudi koji nisu nikada bili niti blizu proizvodnje i o tome nemaju pojma. Čak se pod industrijom stvara slika industrije XIX. stoljeća s velikim dimnjacima. I posprdno se govori: „Zar ćemo ponovo graditi Željezaru Sisak?“  Ja mislim na industriju znanja u kojoj imamo veliku tradiciju, od elektrostrojarstva, alatnih strojeva, softvera, elektronike  do kemijske tehnologije. A za tu industriju je potrebno veliko znanje koje smo nekada imali, a sada je velikim dijelom izgubljeno.

Tijekom razgovora napravili smo dvije stanke i odmorili se uz glazbu po izboru profesora. Profesor Čatić je izabrao jazz, orkestar Counta Basiea i  Fiestu in Blue. A profesor Benčić je izabrao orguljašku glazbu Franje Dugana (1874.-1948.), matematičara i fizičara,skladatelja i orguljaša.

Razgovor je bio zanimljiv,  sat vremena je brzo prošao i dosta tema smo morali ostaviti za neki drugi put.

Poslije emisije dobili smo dosta e-mail poruka slušatelja koji su pohvalili emisiju.

Marijan Ožanić

 
How can Croatian science help Croatia to overcome the crisis?

On Tuesday April 16th 2013, the topic of the Arguments radio show on Croatian Catholic Radio discussed to what extent science in Croatia is connected with economy and whether science can help Croatia to overcome economic crisis. That is why I invited two respectable university professors from the field of engineering sciences, who can tell us a lot about it because they have spent their entire working life connected with economy.

My guests in the studio were prof. Igor Čatić, PhD, a retired professor of Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Zagreb, and prof. Zvonko Benčić, PhD, a retired professor of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Zagreb. Why did I invite two college professors in the radio show whose primary interest is entrepreneurship? And in what way are they linked to entrepreneurship?
In order to achieve business success, entrepreneurs must have entrepreneurial skills and extensive knowledge. And where can they acquire knowledge? Through work of course, but mostly through education. How much is Croatian education system adapted to these requirements, especially at the college-level? Unfortunately, I think that it is becoming less and less able to prepare young people for the real world business life.

When discussing this topic, prof. Čatić and Benčić are competent collocutors because they have worked their entire life in economy. Prof. Benčić worked for thirty years in KONČAR Inc. (a leading Croatian manufacturer of electrical machines, generators, transformers, motors and locomotives). He also took part in the development of a thyristor control locomotive (which was the best locomotive in the world at that time), and nowadays, he is a top-notch scientist and professor in the field of power electronics.

Professor Čatić comes from a family of craftsmen who were the first toolmakers in Zagreb. During his high school years, he also learned a tool-making trade. Throughout his college years, he worked as a maker of moulds and plastic recasting machines in a tool-making workshop. Afterwards, he worked in MEGA Inc. (metal accessories and zip fasteners factory which was founded in 1947 in Zagreb) and later in Tvornica olovaka Zagreb (Zagreb Pencil Factory, founded in 1937). From 1965 until his retirement in 2006, he worked at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture. It is interesting to mention that about ten years ago, he introduced a term “cultural product evaluation” which, apart from technical criteria, takes into account the criteria of spiritual culture. We should also mention his contributions to philosophy and Croatian language, and he also used to run a radio show about jazz music.

Prof. Čatić and Prof. Benčić are true intellectuals with a broad education, not only in engineering, but in human sciences as well. They are authors of numerous scientific papers and books, and they have received countless awards and acknowledgments for their work. Unlike many young professors in Croatia today, Čatić and Benčić are also very socially active, reacting and writing comments on various social phenomena.

The professors first introduced themselves and their scientific development, and then we moved to our main topic of conversation - science and economy.
Once, about 30-50 years ago, Croatian science was closely connected with economy. For example, I graduated from Faculty of Electrical Engineering (my mentor was Professor Zvonimir Sirotić, PhD), and later I got a job at KONČAR Inc., where prof. Sirotić was my boss at Mechanical Design Office. Nowadays, there are no longer professors working at faculties who have a previous working experience in economy. The connection between economy and science has been broken and lost. Until 1990s, most of the diplomas and doctoral theses from the field of engineering sciences were related to various topics regarding factories. After 1990s, however, there are almost none. That is very harmful, for science and economy alike.

When has this connection been broken, why has that happened and what is the situation like now?

Prof. Benčić started his reply by reading a speech which Franjo Rački (Fužine, 1828 – Zagreb, 1894), a Croatian priest, historian and politician, held in 1866 at the opening of the Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb, talking about the role science has in a society.

Afterwards we talked about what type of science a small country like Croatia needs. Prof Benčić objected to this term “small country” and listed many European countries even smaller than Croatia, which doesn’t stop them from being successful and highly developed countries. Should science focus more on fundamental research and publishing in international scholarly periodicals (what seems to be the trend these days), or on applied research which would have an impact on Croatian economy? What is the situation regarding scholarly periodicals? Prof. Čatić talked about the current situation in Croatia where periodicals in Croatian language are being shut down, and only periodicals in English prevail.

We also discussed whether Croatian science can help Croatia to overcome the crisis.

Moreover, we talked about reindustrialization – a topic which is particularly important for the future of this country. There will be no new vacancies in state and foreign companies or government administration – only in entrepreneurship and industry. Today, however, nobody even knows what industry is any more. The media and the public are dominated by people who have never worked in industry and production, and know nothing about it. Furthermore, what is meant by “industry” is an image of the 19th industry with tall chimneys, added by a taunting remark: “Are we going to rebuild the Sisak Ironworks?” What I am referring to is the industry of knowledge, in which we have a long tradition, from electrical engineering, machine tools, software, electronics... and all the way to industrial chemistry. And that kind of industry requires excellent knowledge which we used to develop, but is now lost for the most part.

During the show we made two music breaks to rest. Prof. Čatić chose jazz music by The Count Basie Orchestra, whereas prof. Benčić chose organ music by Croatian composer, mathematician, physicist and organ player, Franjo Dugan Sr. (Krapinica, 1874 – Zagreb, 1948).

We had a very interesting conversation – an hour just slipped away, so we will have to discuss many topics some other time. We received numerous e-mails from the listeners who wrote they enjoyed the show.
 
Marijan Ožanić

Translated from Croatian by Ms. Martina Ožanić

Audio: [MP3], 1 hour


Prof.dr. Igor Čatić, fighter for production of the greenest material of the 21st century - for plastic.
Fighter for plastic bags - was is it all in vain?

Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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