The ashes of Blas Cabrera and Felipe, father of modern Spanish physics, now rest next to those of his family in the San Luis cemetery, in The lagoon.
In a simple act carried out this morning, his ashes, which had arrived this week from Mexico, were buried. “It is a very emotional moment, it is 77 years since he died plus some eight years of exile in France and Mexico. Having your grandfather back is very emotional, ”Luis Cabrera, his grandson, indicated today.
Luis Yeray Gutiérrez, mayor of La Laguna, acknowledged that the feeling is one of “immense happiness” at meeting on a historic day: “Blas Cabrera coming to his city is historic. He returns to his house. The most important thing was to do justice. He had to leave the country due to the Civil War and today, finally, he returns”.
Blas Cabrera and Felipe (1878-1945) left Spain a few months after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1936. He did so forced by a conflict in which the coup plotters directed part of their efforts to annihilate intellectuals and scientists, such as Cabrera, considered the father of Spanish modern physics for his work on magnetism. The physicist never returned to Spain and died in Mexico in 1945.
The scientist was born in Lanzarote and spent part of his childhood and youth in La Laguna, a city where he also married and lived with his wife on Calle Carrera, and where part of his family still lives, the same as today was present in the lagoon cemetery.
The return of Blas Cabrera to Aguere is the continuation of a path that began in 2018 with the restitution of his merits. Like many other scientists, after the end of the Civil War, the Francoists dispossessed him of all his titles and positions that he held during the Republic, relegating him to ostracism. An affront that was corrected in 2018 when the Council of Ministers, at the proposal of the then Minister of Science, Pedro Duque, restored Cabrera and many other scientists to the status they should never have lost. For this reason, returning to La Laguna, as his great-granddaughter explained to DIARY OF NOTICES, is what was missing to completely rescue his figure. “The remains of my great-grandfather have come, his wife, his son Blas and his granddaughter, Blas’s first daughter, Rocío, nine years old, who died of typhus. My great-grandmother was from the lagoon on all four sides, and for Blas it was the city of his adoption, so we are completely sure that this is where they would have liked to be”. “He always tried to come, he continued, to hold conferences here, to bring science to the universities. So there is no doubt that this was the place where they wanted to be and rest,” he said.
RETURN TO THE LAGOON
The return of the scientist to what was his adopted city has been possible thanks to the City Council of La Laguna, which has carried out the procedures and assumed the cost of the transfer, to comply with the will expressed by his family and that, in the plenary session of the month of September, after the intervention of his grandson, Luis Cabrera, Marta’s father, it was unanimously approved to carry out this initiative.
Blas Cabrera is considered the father of modern Spanish physics, because his contributions in the field of magnetism and his publications support this. Proof of his scientific projection was Albert Einstein’s visit to Spain in 1923, a stay in which Cabrera acted as host.
At the time of the 1936 coup, the physicist was president of the Royal Academy of Sciences. He was an international eminence in the field of magnetism and the “main Spanish spokesman for Einstein”, according to the American historian Thomas Glick in his book Einstein and the Spanish. Science and society in Spain between the wars (CSIC, 2005).
Blas Cabrera -as reported by José Manuel Sánchez Ron in El Español- was Professor of Electricity and Magnetism at the Central University of Madrid, of which he was also rector, a position he also held at the Santander International Summer University, succeeding Ramon Menendez Pidal. In turn, he was director of the best research center in physical-chemical sciences then existing in Spain -the Physical Research Laboratory (later the National Institute of Physics and Chemistry)-, which had created the meritorious Board for the Extension of Scientific Studies and Research (1907-1939), on which the Higher Council for Scientific Research was later built – by force of arms, during what has been called the Lead Age, as opposed to the Silver Age that the Republic represented.
We must not forget his status as a number academician of the Spanish Royal Academies and of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, of which he was president, as well as of the Spanish Society of Physics and Chemistry. In addition, Cabrera was in charge of disseminating physics in society, as well as giving numerous conferences, publishing books of a general nature, such as What is electricity? (1917), Principle of relativity (1923) and The atom and its electromagnetic properties (1927).