The future of culture, by Adela Muñoz Páez

"I am not pessimistic. I am one of those who believe that science has great beauty. A sage in his laboratory is not just a technician; It is also like a child in the face of natural phenomena, which impress him like the little one in a fairy tale. Our mission is to find a way to externalize this feeling; we must not let it be believed that all scientific progress is reduced to machines and gears … which, on the other hand, also have their own beauty. "

This text corresponds to the conference he gave Maria Sk & lstrok; odowska-Curie in 1933, at the meeting of the International Commission for Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations, an organ founded after the First World War to try to maintain the fragile peace that emerged from the Treaty of Versailles. This meeting was dedicated to the 'Future of culture' and was held at the Student Residence in Madrid; She was attended by university professors, scientists, artists, writers and philosophers from several European and American countries, as well as Spaniards such as Salvador de Madariaga, Gregorio Marañón and Miguel de Unamuno and French as Paul Valéry and Paul Langevin. Its objective was to harmonize culture with technical developments, to encourage the development of a Spirits Society, expression devised by Paul Valéry to describe a utopian society that would be governed by reason and morals.

Having discovered the radioactivity and the chemical elements polonium and radiohave won two Nobel prizes, one of Physics with Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel, and another of Chemistry alone, and having created and directed the French Army Radiology Service during the First World War, Maria Sk & lstrok; odowska-Curie had not retired. He continued working at the Radio Institute in Paris and also collaborated with pacifist organizations such as the League of Nations.

Trips to Spain

In the numerous biographies published about it, there is hardly any information on the trips he made to Spain, although they are very interesting. In the first one, held in 1919, she attended the first National Congress of Medicine as a guest of honor and gave a conference on the medical applications of radio, which was then used in radiotherapy. On the second trip he kept some very fond memories, since he came as a guest of the Government of the newly established Second Republic, and during the same time he enjoyed the hopes that the new republican regime had awakened in the country. On the third trip she came as a defender of peace and of integration of science and humanities disciplines as the basis of culture.

The work in which we can find more information about these trips is the biography he wrote Maria Luz Morales, who developed her career as a cultural journalist and writer in Barcelona. He accompanied Maria Sk & lstrok; odowska-Curie during her second trip to Spain and wrote a biography about her published by Seix Barral in 1936. Among other things, María Luz was the first woman to run a newspaper in Spain, 'La Vanguardia', during the years 1936 and 1937; as punishment for having directed a newspaper in the republican zone during the war, he was purged and prohibited from continuing to practice journalism.

In his biography we can read the opinions of Maria Sk & lstrok; odowska-Curie regarding national identities, a subject to which he was very sensitive since as Poles, she and her family had suffered Russian oppression:

"We can also recognize that the dream of the future demands the synthesis of national cultures and subordination of divergences, which are mainly of a political nature, to a universal object and purpose, such as culture and civilization".

In his speech he expressed some wishes for the future that we can subscribe today:

"It is indispensable for the future of civilization that the magic of scientific conquests and the glory of technical realizations be reconciled in a harmonious whole, with the acceptance of a doctrine that institutes a regime of peace and friendship between men, under the universal supremacy of reason and of a moral worthy of such a name ".

The voices of these two women were silent soon, that of Maria Sk & lstrok; odowska-Curie because of the radius that caused her aplastic anemia, that of María Luz Morales because of a dictatorial government, but your messages are still alive in his works, from which we continue to make a call to 'the universal supremacy of reason'.

The author is part of the Network of Communicating Scientists of El Periódico.

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