The Jožef Stefan Institute aims high

No idea is too crazy not to be worth trying, and no knowledge is so close to the truth that it cannot be denied

The Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), Slovenia's leading science and research centre, is marking 70 years.  The IJS is the largest research centre in the country which by far transcends the Slovenian borders in terms of science and culturally.

With some 990 employees, it covers a range of basic and applied research. Its main areas of research are physics and reactor technology, chemistry, materials, biochemistry and the environment, and ICT with robotics and automation.The IJS is currently taking part in some 150 projects within the Horizon 2020 programme, and cooperates with research centres and universities from Europe, the US, Japan and South Korea. It is one of the most desired partners in European projects. The IJS has always been more than just a centre of scientific research and technological development. It plays an important role in pioneering various national policies in nuclear energy, the environment, food and metrology

It emerged from the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts' institute for physics, which was set up in 1946. However, the year of its establishment is considered 1949, when the institute refocussed on nuclear energy research.
In 1969, it was renamed after physicist, mathematician and poet Jožef Stefan (1835-1893), the only Slovenian scientist to have discovered one of the basic natural laws. The IJS became part of the University of Ljubljana in 1971 and has been an independent public research institution since 1992.

Josef Stefan (24 March 1835 – 7 January 1893) was an ethnic Carinthian Slovene physicist and mathematician,. He was born in Austria however by the origin he was Slovene. Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Slovenia is among the best in science

Indeed, among the many of its breakthroughs, the IJS scientists synthetized a compound of xenon fluoride in the 1960s, which had been thought impossible until then. In the 1980s, they discovered the stefin enzyme and developed the first robots. They also launched the first internet connection and set up the first web site in Slovenia. An important discovery was also a micro laser as well as ferromagnetic fluid, which had been considered impossible to produce. Its researchers have taken part in proving the existence of the Higgs boson at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). Close collaboration with the University Medical Centre has resulted in the development of medical equipment (tomography, electrical stimulators and appliances), the provision of isotopes for clinical research and treatment of patients, and the introduction of new research techniques and diagnostic methods into clinical medicine. The IJS and the Valdoltra Orthopaedic Hospital founded the Research Institute Valdoltra, which is now an independent institution.

Being well aware of the international nature of science, the IJS has devoted considerable efforts to international co-operation. Today it co-operates with many leading scientific research institutions world-wide. In 2006 the IJS signed an agreement of collaboration with Joanneum Research, the leading Austrian techological institute. In 2007, an agreement of collaboration was also signed with the Korean Basic Science Institute.

Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Text by Tanja Glogovčan
Source: STA and