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Luis Antonio Santaló Sors

Prince of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 1983

The eminent mathematician Luis Antonio Santaló (Gerona, Spain, 1911 - Buenos Airea, Argentina, 2001) was one of the most important specialists in geometry of the 20th century. He earned his PhD in Exact Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid in 1935 and completed his training in Hamburg under Professor Wilhelm Blaschke, who was then in the process of creating integral geometry.

After the end of the Spanish Civil War he became a refugee in France, subsequently travelling on the invitation of Julio Rey Pastor to Argentina, the country where he carried out all his scientific and teaching activities. He lectured at the National University of the Littoral in Rosario. In 1949, he travelled to America to further his studies at Princeton and Chicago, subsequently settling in Buenos Aires in 1950 to work with Pastor King at the Faculty of Exact Sciences.

A pioneer in the field of integral geometry, he published over two hundred research papers on integral geometry, metric, affine and projective differential geometry, the geometry of convex bodies, number theory, geometric probability and unified field theory. His works, which have been particularly influential in the scientific community of Spanish-speaking nations, were published in the major North American, British, German and Russian scientific journals. His book Integral Geometry and Geometric Probability is considered the mandatory classic for anyone wishing to carry out research related to the subject. Other works of his, published in Spanish, verse on the history of aeronautics, non-Euclidean geometries and vector spaces and analytical geometry, among other topics. Although the mathematical work of Santaló was basic research, some of his findings were of decisive importance for other applied disciplines, particularly in operative research, biology and stereology. A key aspect of Santaló’s work was his profound contribution to social progress and his constant efforts to modernize the teaching of mathematics in Spanish-speaking countries. Part of his work was devoted to this end in the form of articles and books on the teaching of mathematics in secondary education.

He was president of the National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Buenos Aires, of which he became as a full member in 1960. He was a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Madrid, the National Academy of Cordoba (Argentina), the National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Lima (Peru) and the Royal Academy of Science and Arts of Barcelona. From 1966 to 1972, he was vice-president of the Inter-American Committee for Mathematical Education and president from 1972 to 1979. He was awarded honorary degrees from the Polytechnic University of Barcelona (1977), the National Northwest University, Argentina (1977) and the National Missions University, Argentina (1982). He was invested a Commander of the Civil Order of Alfonso X the Wise in 1996, while the Regional Government of Catalonia awarded him the Narcís Monturiol Medal for Science in 1984 and the Creu de Sant Jordi in 1994. He was posthumously awarded the Konex Award of Honour in 2003.

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