The Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) has issued a statement of “institutional support” in which he asks that the name of the Spanish scientists be kept in the national research awards, among them that of Juan de la Cierva, to whom a report from the Secretary of State for Democratic Memory links to the Franco regime.
The rectors point out in that statement that “an advanced society, endowed with the essential scientific culture to recognize and incorporate the advances of science, needs first of all to have close references, historical and current figures able to act as models of ingenuity and effort for his fellow citizens. “
They also recall “the deplorable state, if not the demolition, of the family houses and in which some of the very few Spanish Nobel Laureates lived, which in other countries would have been museums for years, may seem like simple anecdotes, but they are the symptom of the indifference to the scientific heritage of our society “and add that “there is no institutional plan to preserve, dignify and exemplify the memory of those who made and make contributions to the collective scientific heritage, and decisions such as stripping the National Awards of the reference of great Spanish scientists do nothing more than confirm the helplessness of the perspective of science “.
The CRUE statement, which represents almost all Spanish universities, 50 public and 46 private, recalls Spain’s chronic lack of investment in science and the lack of scientific vocations and concludes that “History is there to analyze it, draw conclusions and take advantage of the best of it. If the result is not a new course in public and cultural policies, in which science is a central element, the future of our society will be delayed indefinitely. “
No notice or explanation
The Ministry of Science eliminated last March with an order in the BOE, without notice and without any explanation, the names of all illustrious scientists in each of the award categories: Ramón y Cajal for Biology, Gregorio Marañón for the of Medicine, Menéndez Pidal in Humanities … In addition, he cut the categories from ten to six although creating two prizes in each of them: one general and one for researchers under 40 years of age.
The change, advanced by Cadena SER, has come to light when another ministry, the Development Ministry, has vetoed Juan de la Cierva, who gives name to one of the National Awards, to give the Murcia airport because it would go against the Historical Memory Law. Science is also removing the name of the engineer from a research grant.
Nothing to do with the veto
A spokesperson for Pedro Duque’s department has assured that the change in the National Research Awards and in aid has nothing to do with that veto although they are “sensitive to the actions of the Secretary of State for Democratic Memory.” This spokesperson explains that the reform of the awards had been thinking for a long time, among other things, because there was no woman who gave her name to any of the awards and that it was decided to only leave the references to the areas of knowledge. The aid is part of the general reform that is being carried out to improve and promote them.
The Rectors’ complaint joins the request of the Citizens Parliamentary Group that yesterday present a non-legislative proposal in Congress to keep the names in the National Research Awards, increasing the categories to include women scientists.
The veto of Juan de la Cierva has also provoked the complaint of the Official College of Aeronautical Engineers of Spain (COIAE) that they have sent a letter to Minister Ábalos to reconsider his decision not to give the name of the inventor to the Murcia airport because it would go against the Historical Memory Law.
The letter says that “whatever reasons are invoked to prevent Murcia airport from bearing the name of Juan de la Cierva, they mean denying part of the history of Spanish engineering and, therefore, of world aeronautical engineering We do not believe that there is anyone in the world of aeronautics who deserves more to be distinguished by giving his name to the airport in the region where he was born. ” Aeronautical engineers request that “The importance of your figure is prioritized above any other consideration in global aeronautical engineering, and the benefit that their work and discoveries have brought to humanity. And that it be reconsidered if the real implication that it could have in the facts that are imputed to him is really worthy of a decision of this magnitude “.
One of the most admired
In a note, in which they explain the sending of the letter and their reasons, the engineers recall that “Juan de la Cierva was, and continues to be, one of the most admired people in the world aeronautical sector, of the level, and it is not an exaggeration , of the Wright brothers, since thanks to him the helicopter, autogyros and drones exist today and, even, thanks to his discoveries, the first controlled flight in the atmosphere of Mars has been possible “. Also that “he received in his lifetime many distinctions and recognitions in many parts of the world and, especially, Royal Aeronautical Society named him fellow and awarded him several honors for his discoveries in aeronautical science. For example, their discovery that the blades needed bending to generate the necessary lift is equivalent to that made by the Wright brothers when they discovered that to turn an aircraft it was necessary to flex the wingtips. “His name and figure follow being the object of study and tribute “at present, there are numerous universities and organizations around helicopters that carry out keynote conferences that bear his name in recognition of their great work and value.” The College of Engineers specifies that “it wants to make it clear that he is not moved by any political intention and that he manifests himself absolutely regardless of the possible political implications, a message that he has also transmitted to the minister. “