Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

La Geologia catalana, entre els estudis universitaris i l'Institut d'Estudis Catalans

Jordi Bohigas i Maynegre


The commemoration of the centennial of the founding of the Institut dEstudis
Catalans (Institute of Catalan Studies, IEC) might be a good moment to recall the
figure and the work of the multi-faceted Barcelona priest and geologist Norbert Font i
Sagué (1873-1910). He was a figure that bridges the apologetic geology of the Conciliar
Seminary, the official geology represented by his mentor, the mining engineer
Lluís M. Vidal, and the geology at university represented by professor Odón de Buen.
This article reviews some of the milestones of Catalan geology from the first decade
of the 20th century, during the years between the first Catalan University Congress
(1903) and the creation of the Sciences Section of the IEC (1911). It also rejects the cliché
of the absence of naturalists in the IECs first years. Thus, some of the most prestigious
Catalan geologists of the moment, such as Font i Sagué, Vidal and Manuel Cazurro,
would be placed in charge of directing the first archaeological excavations
carried out by the IEC and the Barcelona «Junta de Museus», at a moment in which the
Palaeolithic was still considered part of the field of the natural sciences. As of 1910,
the year Font i Sagué died, some crucial changes would begin to transform the panorama
of Catalan geology, as well as its relation with the Institute.

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