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How things work

Ondřej Dvořáček; Main area(s) of research/activities: Advanced Manufacturing

  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I grew up in the historical town of Valtice in the Czech Republic. After moving through a few bigger cities, I landed in small town of Lucija. Now, I’m chilling in an apartment with a beautiful valley view. It’s a nice change from the city business!

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I studied Mechanical Engineering at Brno University of Technology because I was fascinated by how things work. Later, during my PhD at Graz University of Technology and BOKU Vienna, I focused on wood machining and bio-based materials. My motivation is a genuine passion for exploring how engineering can make things better. That’s what drew me to research – the chance to keep innovating and making a real impact.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

I’m a tech pioneer in the wood industry and forestry. My task involves developing prototypes and lab devices, and then putting them to the test to see if they could be the next big thing for wood manufacturing. It’s about looking into the future, working on technologies that might become the standard in the wood business 10+ years from now.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

My typical workday involves a combination of laboratory and office tasks, attending meetings, and enjoying a few coffees in varying strengths and order.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

When I take on new projects or deal with unfamiliar technologies, I get excited about my work. It feels like exploring the unknown, and the excitement grows as I solve problems. Turning uncertainties into clear solutions is what keeps me engaged.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

The biggest challenge at my work is staying current with the ever-evolving research in my field. The rapid pace of advancements requires constant attention to ensure I’m well-informed and able to integrate the latest insights into my projects.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

The novel “Tracy’s Tiger” by William Saroyan holds a special place in my heart. It’s a surrealistic masterpiece that shows a different approach to life.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

I just finished reading “A Little Life.” It’s a real emotional rollercoaster. The characters and their stories got me hooked. It’s all about resilience and human connections.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

It’s definitely the port of Izola. It always convinces me to slow down, have a coffee and enjoy the moment.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

When I see progress and meaning in things I do. It refuels my energy to continue.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

For me, wood’s charm is more than just its aesthetic appeal or useful material. It’s the sensory experience. The smell of wood evokes memories of distant places I can’t be in that very moment. For example, the smell of pine always reminds me of holidays on the Croatian coast. Furthermore, as I run my fingers along its surfaces, it brings me the cosy feeling of warmth of home.