Person: Terradas, Esteban
Esteban Terradas was Spanish was a mathematician, physicist and engineer. He held prestigious positions in Barcelona and Madrid universities and also made considerable contributions to the development of Spanish railways, aerospace, and other industries.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Back in Barcelona in 1896, Esteban received private tuition to enable him to sit the baccalaureate examinations.
- In order to continue his studies for a doctorate, Terradas went to the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
- After the two doctorates, Terradas was appointed as an assistant professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, then in 1906 he took a competitive examination for the Chair of Rational Mechanics at the University of Zaragoza which he won.
- Terradas only spent one year at the University of Zaragoza before returning to his hometown of Barcelona in 1907 when he won, by competitive examination, the Chair of Acoustics and Optics at the University of Barcelona.
- Despite achieving leading academic positions, Terradas had returned to his original aim, namely to study or a degree in Industrial Engineering.
- Terradas, although he was not an astronomer, had such a high reputation for learning that he was elected as the first president of the Society and delivered his presidential address on The Progress of Astronomy.
- In 1919 Terradas founded the Institute of Applied Electricity and Mechanics and was its director; he was also a professor in the electrical engineering section of the Escola del Treball.
- It is believed that Terradas wrote around 180 articles for the encyclopaedia which have been described as "an inexhaustible source, full of treasures." As examples of his articles we note the following: Aberration, Acoustics, Aerodynamics, Aerostatics, Algebra, Algebraic functions, Alternators, Asteroids, Astigmatism, Calculus, Calculus of probabilities, Differential Equations, Electricity, Gravity, Heat, Hydrodynamics, Kinematics, Locomotive, Magnetism, Mechanics, Moon, Number, Optics, Plate, Quantum theory, Riemann surfaces, Statistical Mechanics, Theory of Relativity, Vibration.
- Terradas was involved in a remarkable number of different projects.
- For example, referring to Terradas' civil engineering examination, the architect Joan Bergós ...
- Bergós added that in the architecture examination for the Civil Engineering School, when questioned in regard to 'Byzantine decadence mouldings', Terradas was able to draw these without hesitation, to the total stupefaction of the Examining Board.
- Terradas, however, continued his interest in railways and joined the Metropolitano Transversal de Barcelona in 1923 and made an essential contribution to the completion of the Catalonia-La Bordeta section in 1926.
- In 1927 Terradas moved to Madrid and became a university member of Primo de Rivera's National Assembly.
- Political events, however, led to difficulties for Terradas.
- As a result Terradas left his post with the National Telephone Company in June 1931.
- A competition was then held for the Chair which Terradas entered but was unsuccessful.
- Terradas, a Catholic who was labelled a conservative, was out of favour in Republican Barcelona and he realised he had to leave Spain.
- After the end of the Civil War in 1939 he became Minister of the Air Force and, towards the end of 1941, he encouraged Terradas to return to Spain to use his expertise in aeronautical research.
- Vigón founded the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeronáutica in 1942 and Terradas became the first president of its Board of Trustees.
- After his death in 1950 the National Institute of Aeronautical Technique was renamed Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial "Esteban Terradas" in his honour.
- The work of this group led to the setting up of the Nuclear Energy Board in 1951, a year after Terradas died.
- On the contrary, D Esteban Terradas, who in Statistics, as in any other subject he explained, had a previous preparation in which he had exhausted the bibliographic sources, had not because of this lost the most precious pedagogical conditions of making his disciples clearly see the main paths, distinguishing them from the minor paths, and making them arrive and stop at the plateaus that allow a perfect contemplation of the scientific landscape that he had proposed to capture.
- On 24 July 1985, Spain issued a 12 Spanish peseta stamp in honour of Esteban Terradas in their 'Famous People' series.
Born 15 September 1883, Barcelona, Spain. Died 9 May 1950, Madrid, Spain.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive