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Jorge Wagensberg (Barcelona, 1948-2018)

15 March 2018

Jorge Wagensberg, scientist and pioneer of scientific dissemination and museography, passed away on 3 March in Barcelona. He profoundly shaped scientific culture, as he put his bright intelligence, ingenuity and passion for life at its service.

Wagensberg, Doctor of Physics at the University of Barcelona, was Professor of Theory of Irreversible Processes at the Faculty of Physics from 1981 to 2016.

Always committed to scientific dissemination, in 1991 he accepted the direction of the Museum of Science of Barcelona, which would become the embryo of CosmoCaixa, one of the most innovative science centres in the world. He led the CosmoCaixa project and design, which can be considered its most outstanding work and made of him a very popular science communicator. In 2006, two years after opening, this project was awarded the European Museum of the Year Award, as the best museum on the continent. In 2006, the Generalitat of Catalonia awarded Wagensberg its highest distinction, the Creu de Sant Jordi.

In 2005 Wagensberg left the direction of CosmoCaixa to direct the Science and the Environment area of the CaixaBank Foundation, of which he was appointed Scientific Director in 2014. Since 2013, he was also leading on the museology of the future Hermitage Museum of Barcelona, a proposal aimed at merging art and science.

During 2010 and 2011 he was a member of the Consultant Committee of “Planet Life”, the permanent exhibition of the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona for the new venue of the Museum at the Forum Park, opened in 2011. He was involved in the definition or renovation of many science and natural science museums from all over the world.

Wagensberg has authored innumerable newspaper articles, more than thirty books and a hundred scientific papers on thermodynamics, mathematics, biophysics, microbiology, palaeontology, entomology, scientific museology and philosophy of science. He founded the book collection Metatemas (books to think about science) by Tusquets publishers, of which he was the driving force and director until his death.

He was president of the European Network of Science Centres and Museums (ECSITE) between 1993 and 1995, and since 2010 a founding member of the European Museum Academy (EMA).

 

Anna Omedes, director of the Natural Science Museum of Barcelona