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The UA commemorates the 3rd centennial of the birth of Jorge Juan with a comprehensive cultural and scientific activity programme

Armando Alberola, Amparo Navarro, Manuel Palomar and Carles Cortés at a time of the press conference


 Alicante, 23rd January 2013

The goal is to rescue from oblivion this key figure of the Spanish Enlightenment and give his name, life history, and research works the popular recognition he deserves

Reformer of the Navy, soldier, traveler, engineer, spy, diplomat, promoter of scientific and literary circles, mathematician, naval officer, teaching reformer, administrator, manager, expert in fluid mechanics, strategist, shipbuilder, astronomer ... Jorge Juan Santacilia has gone through in history not only for outstanding scientific category but for his strong ownership and participation in the reform plans of enlightened governments for whom he was a real asset in the service of the state, something that turns out he was to become a true representative of the Enlightenment in Spain. The University of Alicante wants to lead the commemoration of the third anniversary of his birth, on the 5th of January in 1713 in Novelda (Alicante) with an ambitious programme of academic pursuits within the scientific and cultural fields to be developed throughout 2013.

The calendar was presented this morning at a press conference at the UA Venue in Alicante city, which was chaired by the University of Alicante's President. The aim of the institution is to engage and lead activities open to other institutions and to society at large to, "beyond ephemeral honour him, recover from oblivion this key figure of the Spanish Enlightenment and get his name, his life story, his works and his research achieve the popular recognition he deserves",  Palomar said.

During the ceremony, the UA President has counted on the Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation, Amparo Navarro and the Vice President for Culture, Sports and Language Policy, Carles Cortés, who have been those responsible for detailing the different scientific and cultural actions, respectively, that are going to be developed throughout this year. Manuel Palomar has introduced the members of the UA Organizing Committee in charge of the activities, who are academic and research staff from different branches of knowledge, based on the different profiles of Jorge Juan. Professor of Modern History at the UA, Armando Alberola, will chair the Committee, delegated by the UA President. In the press conference, the corporate image that will display to identify the events organized by the academic institution has been presented.


Cross-curricular connections

Looking at the several profiles of Jorge Juan, the activities organized have been designed with a cross-curricular approach, in which various colleges and universities have been involved. Among other activities, a Scientific Conference on the sea and navigation has been proposed, to be developed within the Faculty of Science in activities devoted  to its patron, St. Albert the Great, and will complement other more general ones that will be organized by the Faculty of Arts, in which his humanistic profile will be honoured. Also, a conference on Astronomical Observation (based on practice and observation) will be carried out  along with a a paper entitled "El cielo que acompañó a Jorge Juan en su gran viaje" (The sky accompanying Jorge Juan on his great journey), as well as  a summer course at the University Venue in Cocentaina, devoted to this topic.

A number of cultural activities, such as a biographical exhibition, another one on marine cartography and the other devoted to scientific research developed in Antarctica will take place in different parts of the campus and the city of Alicante. The programme will be completed with an International Conference to be held in October, and with the publication of a critical edition of the Breve Noticia de la vida del Excelentísimo Señor D. Jorge Juan Santacilia (Brief piece of news on the life of  Jorge Juan Santacilia), the first biography to be published about this famous sailor and scientist, by Armando Alberola and Rosario Die.

"We believe that this rescue of the memory of Jorge Juan is our responsibility as an institution that has as its main objectives to transmit knowledge and to keep alive the historical memory of those who contributed to the progress of science and the improvement of society in which they lived" ,  the UA President states, who took the chance to recall that "scientific progress and quality of life always go hand in hand because there is no progress without Science, because without knowledge and without education, we become more vulnerable and less free. These principles were already defended by Jorge Juan and the Illustrated and this event serves to restore this ideas".

Finally, Manuel Palomar said that "although is not a good time for big celebrations, the University could not be alien to a memorial from the academic and research side, counting on the support that certainly will  be provided by society, on this third centennial of the birth of illustrious marine scientist". 




Some of the members of the organizing committee for the commemoration of the third anniversary of the birth of Jorge Juan Santacilia. From left to right, Magdalena Martinez (Lecturer of History of Law of the UA), Cayetano Mas (Lecturer of Modern History at the UA), Jorge Olcina (Dean of the Faculty of Arts), Amparo Navarro (Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation), Manuel Palomar (UA President), Armando Alberola (Professor of Modern History at the UA), Guillermo Bernabeu (Professor of Physics. Astrophysics), Carles Cortés (Vice President for Culture, Sports and Language Policy) and Alfonso Ramos (Professor of Zoology at the UA)

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