The biologist Ana Crespo would be the first president of the Royal Academy of Sciences since 1847 | Science | EUROtoday

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The Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Spain has elected biologist Ana Crespo as president with large help, as sources from the establishment clarify to EL PAÍS. She would be the first girl to take the reins of the academy since its basis in 1847. Crespo, born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife 76 years in the past, is a professor of Botany on the Complutense University of Madrid and is specialised in analysis on lichens, organisms fruit of the symbiosis of fungi and algae.

Crespo will take over from nice figures of Spanish science, such because the mathematician José Echegaray, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1904, being president of the Royal Academy of Sciences; the inventor Leonardo Torres Quevedo (1928-1934) and the physicist Blas Cabrera (1934-1938). The present president, since 2018, is the mathematician Jesús María Sanz Serna.

The biologist has acquired 37 of the 46 votes solid (80%). The proclamation of the elected president will likely be formally introduced on June 26, in a rare session of the Plenary Session of the Royal Academy of Sciences, in Madrid.

The establishment was closed to girls for a very long time. The first full academician was the biochemist Margarita Salas, elected in 1986. The second was the mathematician Pilar Bayer, elected in 2004. And Ana Crespo herself was the third, in 2010. The Royal Academy of Sciences, based within the reign of Isabel II, has since then had the duty of selling analysis in arithmetic, physics, chemistry, geology and biology. In addition, he advises the Government on scientific coverage issues and different subjects associated to his specialties. It has 48 everlasting lecturers, such because the biochemist Ángela Nieto, the virologist Luis Enjuanes, the chemist Avelino Corma, the biologist Miguel Delibes, the geologist Caridad Zazo and the physicist Juan Ignacio Cirac.

Ana Crespo, additionally an affiliate researcher on the Field Museum in Chicago (USA), has co-directed scientific campaigns all over the world looking for lichens, resembling these carried out since 2005 in South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Peru, the United States and Australia. She has found new species, such because the one named Parmelia barrenoaeand his colleagues have devoted scientific names to it, such because the genus Crespoa and the species Cool hima grass from the Peruvian Andes, and Punctelia anae, a South African lichen. In the political subject, Crespo was common director of Universities between 1991 and 1993, in a authorities of the socialist Felipe González.

The knowledgeable considers lichens “a kind of wonder of evolution,” for the reason that compulsory symbiotic affiliation of a fungus with a single-celled algae causes them to turn out to be oxygen producers, as defined in a current informative article in EL PAÍS. “Why has evolution facilitated the appearance of this being a mixture of two? Research continues to better understand its evolutionary success, but it will surely be because it serves many purposes. It is very useful for many insects, it is used to refresh the bark of trees or to colonize rocks,” stated Crespo. The disappearance of lichens, she warned, is a strong indicator of environmental contamination.

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