Huesca temática

Number 188. April-Juny of 2016 Spanish language Principal menu

Santiago Ramón y Cajal

A wise with a strong
aragonese experience

    He was born in Petilla de Aragón (Navarre) on May 1, 1852 and died in Madrid on October 17, 1934. Although born in Navarra, is included in this work because his childhood was fully spent in the province of Huesca, and by his strong rooting with the Upper Aragon.
     He was a physician and histologist extremely important in world history of medical science and scientific life of Spain. He was linked to Aragon for his race, his education, his character and his affection for this land, 'When an Aragonese is decided to be patient .. you throw Germans' said himself once. He was the son of 'Larresanos' (From Larrés village) (Justo Ramón Cajal Casaus and Antonia) and acquired his personality through the villages of Upper-Aragon. where his father worked as a doctor: Larrés, Luna, Valpalmas (1856-1860) and Ayerbe; in the latter he received the first and second education he received in the Piarist Fathers of Jaca and in the Huesca Institute.
     In his teens he tended to mischief (throwing stones in style and accuracy; he was expert in hoaxes to teachers etc ..), to the phenomena of nature (lightning, eclipses, forests, ...) , techniques (photography, railway, ...) and exaggerated love of reading and painting. Although he wanted to become a painter, his parents instilled in him the medicine. He became a doctor at the Faculty of Medicine of Zaragoza (1869-1873). His brave nature of student, gave way to what he called the three `hobbies': literary (and romantic verses and science fiction stories); gymnastics (culture muscular force) and philosophical (reading of philosophical works, to know about God, soul, substance, etc., ...). But ... the naughty student, was turned into investigator promise.
     In 1873, enters in wich they called `Age of Castelar ', joining the army, where he won a place second doctor of Health and after months of bloodless persecution of Carlist in Catalonia (1873-1874), is intended for army expedition to Cuba. He returned battered morally and physically ill in June 1875, resettling in Zaragoza, beginning serious preparation for access to the chair of anatomy. In 1875 he was appointed assistant Anatomy and 87 acting assistant professor, examining in Madrid doctorate subjects (one of them, Histology); there decided to devote himself to the histological investigation, seduced by micrographic preparations of the Professor Maestre de San Juán. He buys a microscope and a microtome and installs a modest laboratory. In 1878 his first opposition fails and suffers an outbreak of pulmonary tuberculosis, with intense hemoptysis, which is recovered in San Juán de la Peña and Panticosa.
     It is 1879 when gains by opposition the post of director of Anatomical Museum at the Faculty of Zaragoza, he married Silveria Fañanás and perfects his knowledge of anatomy and biology.
     Another failure occurs will the oppositions in 1880, victim of the despotism of the presiding judge. Meanwhile, he published his first scientific papers and he is trained on photographic plates.

     In 1883, finally, reached the chair of anatomy at the University of Valencia. Here, he will spend three years (1884-1887) dedicated to delivering his academic work and reaching high prestige as researcher; along with this, he is interested hypnotism, the role of the vírgula bacillus in the genesis of cholera (epidemically struck the peninsula in 1885 and was commissioned by the Council of Zaragoza); and the value of the vaccine given by Ferrán.
     In 1887 he moved to Barcelona as Professor of Normal Histology and Pathology, residing until 1892, the same year after opposition bright in Madrid occupies the vacancy (same subject) that Maestre de San Juán leaves by his death. The stay in Barcelona was fruitful; in his words, it was 'the peak year, of fortune'. Indeed, in 1888 he obtaineds the microphotographs preparations wich make evident, for the first time, the ratio of discontinuity of the nerve cell; therefore, he achieved acclaim in 1889 for his findings at a meeting of the German Anatomical Society..
      In `Memories of my life ', she says:`for extricating yourself from the gifts and entertainment of friends and admirers, we must have a heart of steel, elephant skin and vulture stomach'; these were the multiple appointments: Royal Academy of Sciences (1895); Royal Academy of Medicine, 1897; direction of the National Institute of Hygiene, 1900; Royal Spanish Academy, 1905; first president of the Board for Advanced Studies, 1907; dedication of streets and squares, statues discovery; publication of the 'Book in honor of Mr. Santiago Ramon y Cajal ', 1922; and events of all kinds, including the resolution of his differences with Rio-Hortega. But the life of Cajal, continues in Madrid with his dedication to the histological investigation and with it the school of researchers who knew raise: P. Ramon y Cajal, Achúcarro, Tello, Rio-Hortega, D. Sanchez Lorente Villaverde, F. de Castro, etc.,. .

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      ... 'In their hands it's and they know it, the future of the Spanish Histology' Cajal wrote in 1922, when he retired as professor.

 Manuel Tomé
**Manuel Tomé Bosqued

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