(Petilla de Aragón, Spain, 1852 - Madrid, 1934) Spanish historian. In 1869 his family moved to Zaragoza, where his father had won by opposition a physician of the provincial charity square and had been appointed, also acting Professor of dissection. In a familiar environment dominated by interest in medicine, graduated in this discipline in 1873. After sitting square in the military health (1874), he was sent to Cuba as a medical captain of the colonial troops. On his return to Spain, in 1875, he was appointed Acting Assistant of Anatomy of the school of Medicine of Zaragoza.
Santiago Ramón y Cajal
Santiago Ramón y Cajal
Two years later, in 1877, he received his doctorate from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid; at that time, master of San Juan initiated him into microscopic observation techniques. He was appointed director of the anatomical museum at the University of Zaragoza (1879) and later Professor of Anatomy of Valencia (1883), where he stood in the fight against the cholera epidemic that struck the city in 1885. He was Professor of histology at the University of Barcelona (1887) and histology and pathological anatomy in Madrid (1892).
From 1888 he devoted himself to the study of connections of nerve cells, for which developed own, exclusive staining methods for neurons and nerves, improving those created by Camillo Golgi. As a result he managed to prove that the neuron is the basic constituent of nervous tissue. In 1900 he was appointed director of the newly created National Institute of hygiene Alfonso XII. He also studied the structure of the brain and the cerebellum, spinal cord, medulla oblongata and various sensory centers of the body, such as the retina.
His worldwide fame, increased from attending a Conference in Berlin, thanks to the admiration that professed by his works of Professor Kölliker, was endorsed with the concession, in 1906, of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine for his discoveries about the structure of the nervous system and the role of the neuron, award shared with C. Golgi.
In 1907 took over the Presidency of the Junta para Ampliación de Estudios e Investigaciones Científicas. One year after presentation of the formalin-Uranus by Golgi technique, developed his technique of the oro-sublimado, the best results were obtained.
In 1920 he resigned from the leadership of the National Institute of hygiene and King Alfonso XIII authorized the founding of the Cajal Institute for biological research, which would be instituted two years later and that Cajal devote their efforts until his death, after leaving University teaching. Proof of the intense activity that unfolds in this period is the publication, in 1933, of the work entitled 'Neuronismo or reticulismo', in the scientific journal archives of Neurobiology, contribution which is considered his scientific Testament.
Ramón y Cajal was the creator, in addition, an important school, which are contributions in different fields of histology and pathology of the nervous system. Spanish disciples include J. F. Tello, D. Sánchez, F. Castro and R. Lorente de No. His work enjoyed widespread international recognition, which is not only confined to his time.