Cigudosa highlights the contribution to science of María Josefa Molera from Navarra who “crossed borders”

The Minister for the University, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Juan Cruz Cigudosa, has participated in the presentation of the book ‘María Josefa Molera Mayo, an izabar scientist’, edited by the Government of Navarra and published on the occasion of the centenary of the birth of the scientist from Isaba.

The book is the first in the DENA collection, which seeks to disseminate monographic content on people, entities or institutions related to Navarra, and aims to “disseminate and make visible its legacy and its contribution to the advancement of science”, explained the Provincial Executive .

The work has been presented in Madrid, where he also developed part of his scientific career, in an event held in the assembly hall of the National Museum of Natural Sciences of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), in which the counselor has been accompanied by the author of the book, Alfonso V. Carrascosa, and the Deputy Director of Research of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Asunción de los Ríos.

In his speech, Minister Cigudosa referred to María Josefa Molera as “a pioneering and brilliant woman in the development of research and studies in the areas of kinetics, photochemistry and chromatography”. “She is an example for Navarra, but she is also an example at an international level, because her talent, ability and contribution to the advancement of science crossed borders”, she pointed out.

Similarly, Cigudosa added that “as a society, we owe María Josefa Molera the impetus and development of excellent research, but also recognition of her determination, passion and firmness to continue developing her career in a context in which that, unfortunately, for a scientific woman it was difficult to progress”.

For this reason, Minister Cigudosa added that the scientist from Isaba “is a benchmark for those girls and young women who want to bet on the scientific field in their professional life” and highlighted the “significant” presentation of this work at the National Museum of Natural Sciences, of the CSIC, an institution to which María Josefa Molera was linked throughout her life and to which the author of this book also belongs.

Alfonso V. Carrascosa, microbiologist at the CSIC, currently stationed at the National Museum of Natural Sciences, has been part of the Women and Science Commission of the CSIC and is the author of numerous scientific research papers and outreach works such as the book Los microbios que we eat (2011).

Carrascosa had already made a biographical sketch of María Josefa Molera for the Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Academy of History and was also in contact with her relatives, who have provided most of the graphic material that illustrates the book and that includes, among other documents , two interviews granted by the brilliant scientist.

Likewise, the scientist Pedro Miguel Echenique, also a native of Isaba, Prince of Asturias Award for Scientific and Technical Research and Gold Medalist from Navarra, has been in charge of writing the book’s prologue.

Regarding the work, Alfonso V. Carrascosa has pointed out that “it can contribute to the promotion of scientific vocations, on the one hand, and even more so in terms of the historiography of science, it can reinforce the rupture of a set of topics that, due to ignorance , have been installed in the collective imagination”.

In the same way, the author has narrated that “the unbreakable will and her extraordinary capacity for work and sacrifice, allowed María Josefa Molera to overcome several stays abroad in laboratories run by two Nobel Prize winners, as well as to bring and assemble innovative techniques in Spain “. Lastly, Carrascosa wished to highlight, among the milestones in Isaba’s chemistry, his contribution to the first scientific studies of Navarran wine, carried out in the Señorío de Sarria.


Maria Josefa Molera Mayo was born in 1921 in Isaba. She completed her university education in Chemical Sciences in Madrid, where she also developed part of her scientific career, professionally linked to the Rocasolano Chemical-Physical Institute of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC).

His postdoctoral stays at the Physical Chemistry Laboratory of the University of Oxford and at the University of Sheffield allowed him to transfer cutting-edge knowledge in Spain, especially in chemical kinetics studies, such as the new flash photolysis or chromatography techniques. of gases, an area, the latter, in which it became an international benchmark.

María Josefa Molera Mayo developed a path of excellence, especially in the areas of kinetics, photochemistry and chromatography. She was a leading scientific woman at the national level, who also had international recognition. Among other awards, she received the Alfonso X el Sabio Prize from the CSIC, the Perkin-Elmer Prize and the Chemistry Medal from the Royal Spanish Society of Physics.

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Cigudosa highlights the contribution to science of María Josefa Molera from Navarra who “crossed borders”