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History of Science in Spain: A preliminary survey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2009

Alberto Elena
Affiliation:
Departamento de Lógica y Lingüística, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.
Javier Ordóñez
Affiliation:
Departamento de Lógica y Lingüística, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

Extract

It can certainly be said that history of science has experienced a large growth in recent decades in Spain. This has occurred despite the generic term ‘history of science’ covering activities of a very varied nature and lacking an intimate relation between each other, in research as well as instruction. At present the number of publications which could fit into the frame of this branch of learning has increased remarkably and commercial publishing houses have opened their editorial lists to the publication of classics as well as to monographs on the history of science. Moreover, new specialized journals on these subjects have become popular and have joined the small number of journals which already had a certain tradition. The number of participants in the periodical congresses of the Sociedad Española de Historia de las Ciencias y de las Técnicas [SEHCYT] has risen and the number of congresses and symposia that have been held in Spain and have assembled Spanish as well as foreign historians has also increased. As another recent promising detail, we could quote the presence of history of science in the curricula of Spanish university programmes, a presence that tends to increase progressively.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Society for the History of Science 1990

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References

1 See E. y Camarero, E. García, La polémica de la Ciencia en España, Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1970.Google Scholar

2 It might be translated as ‘let them invent!’

3 Ibor, Juan José López, El español y su complejo de inferioridad, Madrid, Rialp, 1951.Google Scholar

4 Menéndez, M. y Pelayo, , La ciencia española, Santander, CSIC, 1953.Google Scholar

5 The study of this period of our recent past has born up to now remarkable fruit not only with respect to publications but also to international meetings. In Madrid an International Symposium was held in December 1987 under the title ‘La Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas. 80 años después’ and the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas as theoretical successor of the JAE financed the publication of the Actas edited by the co-ordinator of the symposium, Ron, José Manuel Sánchez, in 1988Google Scholar. On pp. 1–61 of these Actas there is an excellent panoramic view of the importance of the JAE in the present cultural history of Spain in the article by José Manuel Sánchez Ron bearing the same title as the Symposium.

6 The reports were published with surprising rapidity compared with the rhythm of other publications, under the title of Actas del IX Congreso Internacional de la Historia de las Ciencias, Barcelona–Madrid 1959. The major part of the burden of organization was borne by Barcelona, especially by the Universidad Central and the cultural region of Catalonia; from the list of Spanish participants one can see that only two lived out of Catalonia and that the only university in the ‘provinces’ which was represented was that of Santiago de Compostela. Moreover, the representative living in Madrid who was vice-president of the congress was not a university lecturer but an officer of the navy, Admiral Guillén Tato, who performed a relatively important part during the 1960s.

7 The study of Glick, ThomasGeorge Sarton and the Spanish Arabists’, Isis, (1985), 76, pp. 487499CrossRefGoogle Scholar stresses that the relation between Sarton and the Spanish Arabists had lasted almost forty years since 1916.

8 Its title was ‘Las primeras traducciones científicas de origen oriental hasta mediados del siglo XII’. [The First Scientific Translations of Oriental Origin up to the mid-XIIth Century.]

9 The first Actas (proceedings) were published under the title El Cientifico Español ante su Historia en España entre 1750–1850. Actas del I Congreso de la S.E.H.C. Madrid, 1979Google Scholar. The congresses have been irregular: three years elapsed between the first and second; between the second, third and fourth there were intervals of two years. The fifth was held in December 1989, returning to a three-year pattern.

10 See Hormigón, M. ‘La Historia de las Ciencias en el momento actual de España’ In Estudios sobre la Historia de la Ciencia y de la Técnica pp. 207220. Valladolid, Junta de Castilla y León, 1988.Google Scholar

11 Among the few scholars coming from philosophy were Antonio Ferraz, Carlos Solís, Diego Núnez and Francisco Jarauta.

12 Mariano Hormigón has played a part of enormous importance in the SEHCYT. His name was linked with this society from its very beginning through his participation in the first congress, as editor of the reports of the second congress of the SEHCYT and moreover as the person responsible for the fate of the journal Llull, official organ of the Society throughout this decade.

13 See note 9.

14 Hormigón, Mariano (ed.) Actas del II Congreso de la S.E.H.C. Jaca, 27 septiembre al 1 de octubre de 1982, Zaragoza, 1983.Google Scholar

15 Echeverría, Javier y de Mora, M. Sol (eds) Actas del III Congreso de la S.E.C.H. San Sebastián, 1 al 6 de octubre de 1984, San Sebastián, 1985.Google Scholar

16 See note 11.

17 Elena, Alberto and Martinez-Albertos, Ana (eds) Bibliografía Española de Historia de la Ciencia y de la Tecnología (1988) Madrid, Ediciones de la Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 1989Google Scholar. The publishers intend it to appear annually.

18 Llull is the SEHCYT's official review. It is edited by Mariano Hormigón and its address is Facultad de Matemáticas, Universidad de Zaragoza, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain.

19 Asclepio. Revista de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia. It is edited by Agustín Abarracín and published at the Centro de Estudios Históricos, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Duque de Medínaceli, 6, 28014 Madrid, Spain.

20 Dynamis. Acta Hispanica ad Medicinas Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam. It is edited and published at the Departamento de Historia de la Medicina, Universidad de Granada, 18012 Granada, Spain.

21 Sylva Clius appeared in 1987 and its present address is Oficina 210, Edificio Central, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain.

22 Particular reference should be made to the work done by Jaume Josa as the head of the Editorial Department of the CSIC, resulting in some of the best series of books in the history of science ever published in Spain.

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