VII International and Interdisciplinary Conference in Homage to Alexander von Humboldt, Claudio Gay and Ignacio Domekyo
During his long and eventful career in Chile, Ignacy Domeyko’s multiple activities brought about many changes and advances in the newly established Republic, and had profound effects on the country’s people and institutions.
Most are already well known and frequently cited, such as his explorations of the Andes mountains, mineral discoveries, descriptions of the customs and life of the native population as well as of both the upper classes and humble inhabitants of the country, writing of textbooks for the teaching of scientific subjects and his unending efforts to improve the country’s educational system, in particular the establishment of a teaching university based on European models.
However, he also contributed in many lesser-known ways to the modernization and progress of the country, as in finding sources of clean water and bringing it into the city in a hygienic manner, obtaining the adoption of the metric system of weights and measures, establishing weather reporting stations throughout the country, arbitration in mining disputes and modernizing the mining code, proposing and organizing the colonization of unpopulated regions by European settlers, promoting the establishment of an astronomical observatory in Santiago, and in later years, publishing in local newspapers the news of events taking place in Europe. His home in Santiago was a gathering place for eminent politicians, scientists, educators, explorers, artists, and the intellectual elite of the country.
In turn, he maintained correspondence with the intellectual elite of Europe, was elected a member of European scientific bodies as well as of the newly established Smithsonian institution in Washington DC.
Paz Domeyko Lea-Plaza
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