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Federico García Moliner

Prince of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 1992

Federico García Moliner (Burriana, Castellón, Spain, 1930 - ) completed his secondary education at the Instituto Francisco Ribalta in Castellón. He graduated in Physical Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid, subsequently earning a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge (UK) and a PhD in Physical Sciences from the Complutense University of Madrid.

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He began his professional career at the Spanish National Research Council (Spanish acronym, CSIC) and soon moved to the University of Illinois (USA), where he taught for three years. Upon his return to CSIC, he continued his work in solid state physics, a field in which he played a major role in developing a school research in Spain which was soon to achieve international standing. In addition to his research work, he was also prolific in organizational and educational terms. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Institute of Solid State Physics. He likewise participated for several years in the initial undertakings of Spain’s Scientific and Technical Research Advisory Committee Think Tank and contributed to the setting up of the Autonomous University of Madrid, where he consolidated the aforementioned research school.

On his return to Spain, he simultaneously became intensely active on an international scale. He played a major role as a guest lecturer in graduate school programmes (especially in Italy and Scandinavia), which provided the training for generations of young European scientists who were to form the basis for subsequent scientific development in Europe. Founder-member of the United Nations Committee on Condensed Matter Physics at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste (Italy), he has worked intensively in aiding budding institutions and scientists in emerging countries, especially in Latin America. He has served on several editorial boards of international scientific journals, often acting as a referee for several of them. He has given lectures and courses at numerous academic and scientific centres in various countries worldwide, as well as at different types of international scientific meetings and conferences, in addition to sitting on numerous international committees.

He has worked in diverse fields of the physics of solids, a subject that studies the properties of solid matter from the viewpoint of its atoms. This constitutes a fundamental science to develop a theory of solid materials with many important applications. Professor García Moliner is considered a world authority in this branch of science and has numerous publications in international scientific journals, including research articles and guest contributions (book chapters, educational papers, scientific papers and review articles), as well as being the author of books that are widely used by researchers from different countries.

Noteworthy among his awards and distinctions are the González Martí Prize for best Physics student at the Complutense University of Madrid, National Science Award Runner-up and Special PhD Award from the Complutense University of Madrid. He is a founder-member of the Board of the Cambridge European Trust and was vice president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (1991-1999). He has received the Diploma of Honour for Distinguished Services from the University of San Antonio Abad, El Cuzco (Peru), and was named “Distinguished Visitor” of the City of Santiago, Cuba, as well as being an Emeritus Member of the Spanish Vacuum Society. He holds medals from the Royal Spanish Society of Physics, the University of Oriente - Santiago de Cuba (UO) and the University of Havana, Cuba. He was awarded honorary degrees by the Universities of Havana and Lille I, France, and is an Honorary Fellow of Fitzwilliam College at the University of Cambridge.

He is currently Professor of Contemporary Science (a Chair established by the Fundación Caja de Castellón) at the Universitat Jaume I, where, in addition to continuing his research work in quantum semiconductor heterostructures, he works to make science better known to the general public in terms of its social and human aspects, as a result of which he makes frequent appearances in the media. He heads a university extension programme and is a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Permanent University programme for the over 55’s, participating in teaching in this sector. He is also a member of the Academic Advisory Council of the Castellón branch of the European University of Peace and is linked to the international PUGWASH movement of scientists for disarmament and peace.

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