Natural scientist, founder of genetics, discoverer of the basic laws of heredity.
The later famous scientist came from a poor peasant family, born in 1822 in Hynčice in Lower Silesia. After graduating from the grammar school in Opava, he enrolled at the Faculty of Arts of the Franciscan University in Olomouc, where he studied from 1840 to 1843. Here Mendel met Professor Johann Karl Nestler, an important researcher in the field of animal and plant breeding, and also attended lectures by Jan Helcelet on agriculture and natural history. Another Olomouc professor who influenced Mendel significantly was Friedrich Franz. Franz suggested that Mendel join the Augustinian monastery in Brno, as Mendel was struggling with serious financial problems. Mendel found the monastery an extremely favourable environment for the development of his talents, took the monastic name Gregor and became abbot of the monastery in 1868. In 1866, Mendel published his article Experiments with Plant Hybrids in the journal of the Natural History Society in Brno, in which he defined the three laws of heredity on the basis of his own research in the monastery garden. Although his work was not “discovered” until several decades after his death, he deservedly became the founder of genetics.
In Olomouc, Mendel’s stay is commemorated by a memorial plaque on the building of the Cyril and Methodius Theological Faculty of Palacký University (Univerzitní 22).