April 10: Day of the Researcher and the Scientific Researcher in Argentina

As a foreboding act many decades ago, Bernard Houssay He said: “I don’t want statues, plaques, awards, streets or institutes when I die. My wish is that none of this be done. My hopes are others. I wish that my country contributes to the scientific and cultural advancement of today’s world, that it has artists, thinkers and scientists who enrich our culture and whose work is beneficial for our country, our compatriots and the human species”.

The winner of the first Nobel Prize in Latin American Sciences and promoter of the creation of the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) He never imagined that in 2020 we would experience the Covid 19 pandemic. But he already knew that the work of Argentine scientists would always be essential and that art should accompany it.

music for science It arose in the pandemic. “I was locked up and I felt that I couldn’t do much with my tool, which is music. And, at the same time, I knew that Andrea Gamarnik was working 12/14 hours a day. So I proposed to send her music to accompany her. I started sending him songs”remember the music Clara Cantore about the beginnings of this novel initiative.

music for science

“First I recorded the songs with my cell phone and sent them to him. One day it occurred to me to invite Sandra Mihanovich. It was beautiful to give them the surprise that there was someone very visible, like Sandra, also accompanying the work of scientists”Clara says.

That gesture, that pampering that scientists received daily in the middle of their work, made them start thinking about calling visible figures to help highlight the work that the scientists were doing.

Andrea Gamarnik and Clara Cantore

“We put together the song and looked for the musician. And we asked Andrea to make a dedication of a few seconds, in the middle of the vortex of work that she had, telling who she was dedicating the song to that day. In this way she made the work of many scientists visible”Cantore says.

From Music for Science participated Lito Vitale, Daniel “Pipi” Piazzolla, Juan Carlos Baglietto, Fixed Gear Y Juanchi Baleironamong many other artists who, through their art, affirm that science and music can be promoted, help spread the work of artists, scientists and scientists from all over the country.

“Then we began to share a little about what the “kitchen” of the professions was. The idea was to generate a cycle where we could share the human dimension that exists through science and music. And it occurred to us to take the musicians to the laboratory. Show what the world of a scientist is like, who is generally very little known. And generate this dialogue between musician and scientist that would allow us to find those points in common and rethink ourselves as actors in a society that has changed and that really needs interdisciplinary work to weave new networks”remarks Clara Cantore.

Today marks the Day of the Researcher and the Scientific Researcher in Argentina because on April 10, 1887, Bernardo Alberto Houssay was born in Buenos Aires. He was a student prodigy. He graduated from high school at the age of 13, at the National College of Buenos Aires; at 17 he graduated as a pharmacist and at 23 he became a doctor.

In 1922 he received the National Science Award for his work Physiological action of pituitary extracts, where there are indications of the investigations that earned him the Nobel Prize.

In 1934, he promoted the creation of the Argentine Association for the Progress of Sciences (AAPC) in order to obtain adequate funding for scientists to carry out their research with more time and more precise results.

In 1945 he published the treatise Human physiology, co-authored with prominent figures from their work teams. The publication, which included articles and illustrations on general physiology, was translated into several languages, including French, English, Portuguese and Italian, a very important fact for Argentine scientific dissemination.

The publication of this treatise gave Houssay international recognition and on October 23, 1947 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine thus becoming the first Latin American to receive the distinction in science. His research and discoveries on the role of the pituitary gland in regulating the amount of sugar in the blood were essential to understanding diabetes.

Although Houssay was already known for his extraordinary research in different scientific centers abroad, winning the Nobel Prize gave him international recognition and installs Argentina in the world of science.

It was a great impetus to continue leading research projects and continue with the formation of disciples. One of his greatest disciples was Luis Federico Leloir, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1970. A Nobel Prize trained another Nobel, both Argentine scientists, a very rare event in the world.

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Bernard Houssay

One of the most important legacies was the impetus he gave to the creation of numerous institutes and centers for the progress of science in the country. In 1934 he created the Argentine Association for the Progress of Sciences (AAPC); and in 1958, the creation of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), as a national research center.

“The rich countries are rich because they dedicate money to scientific-technological development, and the poor countries continue to be so because they don’t. Science is not expensive, expensive is ignorance”maintained Bernardo Houssay.

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April 10: Day of the Researcher and the Scientific Researcher in Argentina