Cuban academicians pay tribute to Finlay
The Cuban Academy of Sciences will remember and praise today the work of the most illustrious Cuban scientist: Carlos J. Finlay.
A eulogy will be delivered by Dr. Nivian Montes de Oca Martínez, director of the National Center for Agricultural Health, located in the neighboring province of Mayabeque, Havana.
A representation of academicians, scientists, and specialists will attend the meeting by official invitation, said its organizers, referring to the transcendence of the event, agreed in 1933 on the occasion of Finlay's centenary.
The decision aimed to honor him by celebrating every December 3 the Pan American Medicine Day, and in Cuba, Latin American Medicine and Health Workers Day, to commemorate his exemplary trajectory in several sectors of science and technology.
On August 14, 1881, Carlos Juan Finlay de Barres (1833-1915), presented his thesis on the female mosquito as a transmitter of yellow fever, currently known as Aedes Aegypti, at the Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences in Havana, and elaborated an antivector plan to eradicate the disease.
Although he was among the six most famous microbiologists in history, he never received the Nobel Prize awarded in several specialties by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and other institutions.
Despite being nominated seven times in the period from 1905 to 1915, he was never recognized. However, in 1975 UNESCO included him among the most outstanding experts in the history of this discipline, together with Anton van Leeuwenhoek (Holland, 1632-1723), creator of the microscope, and Louis Pasteur (France, 1822-1895), author of the technique known as pasteurization.
The list also included Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch (Germany, 1843-1910), who discovered the tuberculosis bacillus; and Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov (Ukraine, 1845-1916), who formulated the theory on the human body's ability to resist and overcome infectious diseases and studies related to syphilis.
Finally, it included Alexander Fleming (Scotland, 1881-1955), the first to observe the antibiotic effects of penicillin.
Only six years later and for the first time, on May 25, 1981, UNESCO awarded him the International Prize that bears his name, in recognition of his advances in Microbiology.