Six Spanish scientists recreate the famous photograph from the 1927 Solvay Conference

It's been 95 years since Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons took place in 1927.

Six Spanish scientists recreate the famous photograph from the 1927 Solvay Conference

It's been 95 years since Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons took place in 1927. In that year, 29 of the most prominent scientific minds of the day, including Marie Curie and Albert Einstein, met at the Hotel Metropole to discuss and find solutions to the biggest challenges. The 17 Nobel Prize winners were depicted together in an iconic photograph that will be cherished for generations. This image was recreated in the same location this Monday by 34 top-level scientists from European chemistry and 21 PhD students, in celebration of the 50th anniversary CEFIC. Six of them are Spanish.

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6

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Antonio Echavarren

Catalan Institute of Chemical Research (ICIQ), leader of a research team

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Teresa Berdugo

Chalmers University (Sweden), Researcher in Energy Technology Group

3

Maria Escudero

Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley

University of Copenhagen (UCPH).

4

Javier Garcia Martinez

President and first Spanish member of International Union of Pure Chemistry.

Applied (IUPAC)

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Diego Pena

Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Santiago de Compostela

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Paul Serna

Predoctoral student at the Department of Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, Universidad Jaume I, Castellon

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6

2

4

One

3

One

Antonio Echavarren

Catalan Institute of Chemical Research (ICIQ), leader of a research team

2

Teresa Berdugo

Technology group Researcher

Chalmers University - Energy

(Sweden)

3

Maria Escudero

Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley

University of Copenhagen (UCPH).

4

Javier Garcia Martinez

The current president and the first Spanish member

of the International Union of Pure Chemistry

Applied (IUPAC)

5

Diego Pena

Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Toronto

Santiago de Compostela University

6

Paul Serna

Predoctoral student at the Department of

Inorganic and Organic Chemistry at the University

Jaume I from Castellon

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6

4

2

One

3

One

Antonio Echavarren

Head of a research group

The Catalan Research Institute

Chemistry (ICIQ).

2

Teresa Berdugo

Researchers in the group

Energy technology is the

Chalmers University (Sweden).

3

Maria Escudero

Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of California at Berkeley

University of Copenhagen (UCPH).

4

Javier Garcia Martinez

Current president and the first

Spanish member of Union

International of Pure Chemistry

Applied (IUPAC)

5

Diego Pena

Professor of Organic Chemistry

At the University of Santiago

Compostela

6

Paul Serna

The predoctoral student

Chemistry Department

Organic and Inorganic

Jaume I University of Castellon

"The purpose of having young researchers around was to build relationships and work together as well as to allow more experienced scientists to inspire us. Serna explains that they split us into work groups. Now we have a few more months to continue our collaboration and create articles with new solutions and proposals for some of the issues, like the circularity in chemistry, CO2 emission, or the energy of the future>>. It has been an inspiring experience for me and it has helped me realize that it is worthwhile. By appearing in the photo, I feel like I am part of scientific history. I'm glad that Spanish science is valued. She adds that even though we may not be from renowned universities like Oxford or Cambridge, it is evident that we do great things at smaller universities and have much to offer.

The new photo shows a stronger female presence in addition to the Spanish presence that was absent in the 1927 photograph. In the past, 29 of the 29 people depicted were men, and Marie Curie was the only woman. The 2022 snapshot shows 27 men and 18 ladies. "It is encouraging to see that women are being represented in research. The photo shows very clearly how the percentage of women in each generation in the image grows. It is approximately 50% for today's young researchers," Berdugo says. Berdugo was Spanish but attended the event because the young candidate suggested that she represent Sweden. It was an honor and a privilege to be invited to this event. It was a great opportunity to meet outstanding chemical industry managers and professors. It was a great opportunity to meet key people at an early stage in my research career. I also felt very lucky to be able ask them how they got there and what their future plans are for the chemical industry.

In 1911, Ernest Solvay, a Belgian industrialist, established the Solvay Lectures. They were regarded as a major turning point in science. These meetings, held in Brussels, were dedicated to addressing the most pressing questions in chemistry and physics.

The most well-known was the fifth, which took place in October 1927 and saw the participation of some of the world's leading physicists as well as chemists to discuss quantum theory. Albert Einstein and Niels Borhr were the main protagonists. 17 of the 29 participants were Nobel Prize winners. Marie Curie was the only woman and only one to win Nobel Prizes for Physics and Chemistry.

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