Sunday, 10 August 2008

Mendel Museum in Brno, Czech Republic

For a place with such huge significance, the Abbey of St Thomas in Brno, Czech Republic, is remarkably understated. It's arguably the birthplace of modern science.
The patch of grass outside once played host to the world’s most important greenhouse, while a small flower bed of red and white begonias demonstrates the scientific laws that were discovered there.
The man who put this loveable Augustinian abbey on the map was Gregor Mendel, the former abbot.
He was the monk who discovered the laws of genetic inheritance. So much has come as a result of this discovery – confirmation of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, many medical treatments, cloned sheep, the human genome project – that his name should be far better known.
The small museum by the begonia bed explores the importance of Mendel’s work, and tries to explain in layman’s terms how dominant and recessive alleles work.
It also goes into his life, and tells the extraordinary story of a monk from a European backwater who revolutionised the way we think about ourselves. His work was 99% drudgery – meticulously growing peas and logging their characteristics.
But from those humble garden peas came so much – and the Mendel Museum is a fascinating little diversion for any traveller visiting this part of Central Europe.

Getting to the Mendel Museum in Brno, Czech Republic

Nearest International Airport: Brno Turany airport receives a few international flights (usually the budget airlines such as Ryanair and Smart Wings), but most international visitors will fly into Prague then get the train. That said, Vienna (Austria) and Bratislava (Slovakia) are actually closer to Brno than Prague.
Using public transport: There are good train links to Brno from Prague, Bratislava and Vienna. Take tram number 1 from the central train station.

More information: Mendel Museum

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