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Youth Updated: 08 Sep 2018

Francisco González: "Mathematics are building the nervous system of the new technological era”

BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman stressed the importance of mathematics as “the backbone of well-being in a global, technological society” at the BBVA Foundation and Royal Spanish Mathematical Society (RSME in Spanish) awards ceremony for the best young researchers.


Their working instrument is the mind; their tools are frequently theorems and equations created centuries ago and they don’t know if their work will one day serve a practical purpose. However, their results bolster “the scaffolding on which modernity, rationality and today’s entire global, technological society rests and grows,” Francisco González said, referring to the winners of the Vicent Caselles Mathematical Research Awards, the José Luis Rubio de Francia Award, and the RSME Medals.

Joining Francisco González in presiding over the awards ceremony were Carmen Vela, Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation; and Francisco Marcellán, Chairman of the RSME. Many of the most active representatives of the Spanish mathematical community attended the ceremony - “a celebration of mathematics and knowledge” in the words of Francisco González, who commended the role science plays in today’s society.

For BBVA’s Group Executive Chairman, “Mathematical support is so ubiquitous in our world that we take it for granted. It is precisely because of its omnipresence that it has become invisible. With the Vicent Caselles awards, we wanted to contribute to mathematics occupying a place in the public arena that is in line with its significance as the backbone of well-being.

Mathematics are needed more now than ever before in order to face new challenges like climate change or the energy crisis”

Francisco González also indicated that mathematics are needed more now than ever before in order to face “new challenges like climate change or the energy crisis, as well as to continue promoting technologies that were created with the help of mathematics from everything related to the digital age to the new generation of intelligent machines. Mathematics are building the nervous system of the new technological era.”

RSME and the BBVA Foundation created the Vicent Caselles awards in 2015 to recognize Spanish mathematics researchers, or those who carried out their research in a Spanish university or scientific research center who are under the age of 30. Winners receive €2,000 each. The awards commemorate Vicent Caselles (1960-2013), the most cited Spanish mathematician at the time of his premature death.

In this third edition, the winners are Óscar Domínguez Bonilla, Javier Gómez Serrano, Angelo Lucia, María Medina de la Torre, Marina Murillo Arcila, Beatriz Sinova Fernández and Félix del Teso Méndez. The seven winners are all just under 30 years old. They come from Andalusia, Asturias, Catalonia, Galicia and Madrid, and also from Italy, but with a doctoral thesis completed in Spain. With excellent academic records, they are the authors of high-impact scientific work that led them to research some of the main areas of the mathematical world.

The José Luis Rubio de Francia award was also presented to Xavier Ros-Oton (Barcelona, 1988) at the ceremony. This award is given to researchers under the age of 32 who are either from Spain or conducted their work in Spain. Winners of the award also receive the start-up grant, which the BBVA Foundation supports with €35,000 for the winner’s research over the next three years.

The Foundation also participated in the tribute to three mathematicians: Antonio Campillo López, Professor at the University of Valladolid and former Chairman of the RSME; Manuel de León Rodríguez, CSIC Research Professor at the Mathematical Sciences Institute (ICMAT); and Marta Sanz-Solé, Professor at the University of Barcelona. The RSME recognized “their significant, exceptional and continual contributions to any field of mathematical work”, presenting them RSME Medals.