ALMA, a look to

Retrat de Jorge Wagensberg (director científic de la Fundació "la Caixa").

Curiosity and conversation, the sources of knowledge

Jorge Wagensberg is no longer with us. A scientist has left us, and so has a poet, but his life has left an entire legacy in its wake which is palpable as soon as we enter CosmoCaixa, touring through and exploring the insides of the head of such a unique man, or explore his books, which fill us with shared knowledge.

“In science, everything we see, look at, observe and experience is responses, responses supplied by reality. Nature responds, research inquires,” wrote Jorge Wagensberg in his book Intellectual Pleasures. Wagensberg, who left us a few days ago, had a PhD in physics, was a professor of the Theory of Irreversible Processes, and since 1991 was the director of the Science Museum of Barcelona, today known as CosmoCaixa.

With his loss, we are not only left without a physicist, but we have also lost a poet, since his view and way of understanding the world always connected science with philosophy. Listening and observing the other were the underpinning of his way of understanding the world. And questioning is the foundation of discovery and knowledge. If we already have all the answers, what we need is the questions. According to Wagensberg, doubt is the only thing we should have faith in, something he discussed in another of his books. We reach science and knowledge through curiosity, and conversation is both the point of departure and the endpoint.

In one of his last interviews with ALMA, he said that science and dialogue were precisely the foundations upon which he founded CosmoCaixa, a space where the Amazonian jungle coexists with plays of light and objects that make physics palpable. The museum was built upon the idea that what drives a scientist to investigate is the same impulse that attracts people to science museums: the yearning to engage in dialogue with our surroundings, a veritable revolution in museology.

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