Ivan Wilhelm received a master’s degree in 1964 from the Faculty of Technical and Nuclear Physics of Czech Technical University in Prague and became a lecturer in the faculty the same year. After conducting research in experimental neutron physics at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, he worked as a lecturer in the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics at Charles University in Prague, receiving a PhD-level equivalent in nuclear physics in 1972. Banned from teaching and travelling abroad for political reasons, he devoted himself to research in the van de Graff Ion Accelerator Laboratory at Charles University, publishing nearly 100 papers on nuclear and particle physics.
In 1990 he was appointed as a member of the Czech Governmental Committee for Coordination and Collaboration between the Czech Republic and JINR Dubna, and was a member of the corresponding committee for collaboration with CERN, Geneva. He has been a member of the Assembly of the Czech Academy of Sciences since 1994 and is a member of the Government Council for Research and Development in the Czech Republic. Since 2006 he has served as the governmental plenipotentiary for coordination of European R&D programmes in the Czech Republic.
He has served as Vice-Rector of Charles University for two terms, and for another two terms (2000 to 2006) he was Rector of the University. During the same period, he was Chair of the Czech Rector’s Conference and a member of the EUA Administrative Council. He is a member of the International Association of Universities. He is the recipient of numerous national and international awards and honours.