The memory of Jorge Wagensberg shines out in the Aula Magna

News | Institutional
​​​​​​​On Thursday, 14 December, the Aula Magna of the Historic Building of the University of Barcelona hosted the tribute "The Joy of Shared Knowledge. Act in memory of Jorge Wagensberg". Organized by the UB Rector's Office, it can be seen on ​​​​​​​UBtv.

News | Institutional
​​​​​​​On Thursday, 14 December, the Aula Magna of the Historic Building of the University of Barcelona hosted the tribute "The Joy of Shared Knowledge. Act in memory of Jorge Wagensberg". Organized by the UB Rector's Office, it can be seen on ​​​​​​​UBtv.


The event, whose title is inspired by Wagensberg's book El gozo intelectual. Teoría y práctica sobre la inteligibilidad y la belleza (2007), it was organised after the suggestion made by the UB librarian, cultural activist and writer Montserrat Prat i Serra (Barcelona, 1942), niece of the philologist, poet and librarian Alfons Serra i Baldó (1909-1993) and it took place in the same month in which this turned 75 years old.

The event was presented by the UB’s Vice-Rector for Research, Jordi Garcia, who acknowledged his scientific relationship with Wagensberg through the director of his thesis, and indicated serendipity as a vital motor and source of knowledge.

Afterwards, José Enrique Gargallo Gil, lecturer at the Faculty of Philology and Communication, introduced the event, which he described as an "academic festival to celebrate the multifaceted figure of Jorge Wagensberg", and after explaining some etymologies — a field in which he is an expert — related to the event, he pointed out that the word memory meant heartfelt memory, which was the sense in which the event had been organized.

The first part offered a series of converging views on the polyhedral space of science, by Max Planck Institute doctoral student Marta Florido Llinàs, who delivered the speech “Desde la juventud y el incipiente gozo intellectual” (From youth and the incipient intellectual joy), in which she characterized "the common denominator that animated Wagensberg: the passion for all forms of knowledge". Likewise, Gemma Marfany, professor at the Faculty of Biology, spoke about Wagensberg's informative side, highlighting some of his best-known aphorisms related to scientific knowledge, and explained that "for Wagensberg, science was a generator of emotions"; the professor of the Faculty of Physics, M. Carme Llasat, focused her talk “Desde los estudios sobre el clima”, highlighting that the Wagensberg Prize awarded since 2018 to the best thesis in the area of complex systems' science was closely related to climate, since "it is a highly complex system, which requires a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach, as he liked".
Finally, Noemí Montetes-Mairal, lecturer at the Faculty of Philology and Communication and director of the Aula de Poesía, in her speech "Desde la poesía" (From Poetry), showed that the honouree recognized himself as a writer and poet, and that "he found in art the way to understand the reality that he could not fully understand with science".

The second part of the event consisted of the round table discussion "From the direct knowledge of Jorge Wagensberg", moderated by the head of the New Formats Unit, Patricia Lainz. Participants included Mauricio Wagensberg (brother of the honouree); retired Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and poet David Jou; Professor of the Department of Structure and Constituents of Matter at the Faculty of Physics of the UB Antoni Planes, and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Agri-Food Engineering and Biotechnology Rosa Flos. All of them explained their personal, human and academic relationship with Wagensberg, highlighting above all his simple and friendly manner, "despite being a person of superior intelligence, he never made you notice him. He was human and simple", acknowledged Antoni Planes. His brother Mauricio explained how the Wagensberg Lubinski family arrived in Barcelona and explained that "with him, you never competed, you always shared something. I had the immense good fortune, like his brother, to share his numerous friendships, the fruit of his extraordinary ability to relate to others".

The event included a video with a brief speech by the rector of the UB, Joan Guàrdia, who was unable to attend due to scheduling constraints, in which he praised Wagensberg's skill in popularizing science and his "extremely high capacity to generate ideas and projects".

The event was closed by the Vice-Rector for Research, Jordi Garcia.


Acte en record de Jorge Wagensberg

Ceremony in memory of Jorge Wagensberg