Barcelona, ciutat de ciència
Tradició científica

Barcelona’s geographical and cultural situation has ensured the city has always been synonymous with progress and innovation. Since medieval times (1401) it has boasted an unprecedented healthcare centre, the Santa Creu Hospital, the second oldest in Europe. Centuries have passed and Barcelona continues to be a diverse city and reference, no longer solely in biomedicine but also in architecture, information technologies, engineering, economics and social sciences, as well as in countless other branches of knowledge that make culture a plural, cosmopolitan space. A beacon of welcome to men and women of science, Barcelona is a scientific metropolis of the first order. The people of Barcelona and others closely linked to the city have left their mark on our social imaginary and cultural heritage: the engineers Narcís Monturiol and Esteve Terradas; astronomers Comas i Solà and Antoni Romañà; surgeons Antoni de Gimbernat and Josep Trueta; doctors Francesc Salvà i Campillo, Emili Pi i Molist, Ignasi Barraguer and Josep Laporte; chemists Francesc Carbonell and Joan Oró; botanists Pius Font i Quer and Creu Casas i Sicart, among others. Moreover, in an area in which the presence of women has traditionally been little recognised, our city can boast names that fill us with pride: Rosa Sensat, in the field of education, and Dolors Alleu, the first female doctor in all of Spain, as the University of Barcelona was the first institution of its kind to admit women into its lecture halls. Scientists of both genders from other cities have encountered here an ideal place to conduct their experiments and studies. Perhaps the most outstanding case is that of the Nobel Prize winner Santiago Ramón y Cajal who, while at the University of Barcelona (1887-1892), developed the fundamental part of his neuronal theory with its detailed description of the nervous system, which would eventually make him worthy of the coveted award. The city’s scientific tradition is everywhere, with the presence of buildings bustling with intense scientific and cultural activity. A stroll around the Raval district, for example, reveals a huge number of scientific entities and associations – libraries and cultural installations – living in close harmony with the fervent social and commercial activity of the neighbourhood. Historic entities such as the Institute of Catalan Studies, the High Council of Scientific Research (CSIC), the Biblioteca de Catalunya, the Royal Academies of Medicine and of Pharmacy and the Royal Academy of Science and Arts of Barcelona, alongside others of a more innovative and modern slant, such as the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB), the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), the Ramon Llull University and the new installations of the University of Barcelona.  


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