The history of XIX century consists of great scientific discoveries which illuminated the contemporary era. Researchers in Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States, as well as other countries, developed a formidable activity which lead to transformations that had never been seen before, in the fields of energy, materials and biology, just to point three concrete areas.

A few days ago the official discovery of Antarctica had been commemorated, the achievement belonged to a Russian expedition commanded by Fabian Gottlieb Von Bellinghausen, a sailor of German origin. His crew and the two ships, Vostok and the Mirny, came in sight of the coasts of the frozen continent on the 28th of January 1820.

It wasn´t a casual Discovery. The crew spent two years mapping the seas of the south, a very important job that was worthwhile in the end. Beyond the celebration of the anniversary, I mention Antarctica because it allows me to reflect on the scientific activity of some of my colleagues from a very interesting point of view. I´m in particular referring to the geologists, José Abel Flores y Francisco Javier Sierro, and the mathematician Carmen Domínguez. Three scientists of renowned prestige (the first two, had been awarded the Castile and León Award for the Protection of the Environment) who carry out a part of their research in Antarctica.

After months of studies in Salamanca and other cities of the western world, examining series of data to assess changes in the climate during thousnads of years, the three of them, literally embark on scientific expeditions, in which they have to take samples and analyze nature in difficult conditions. Some of these, are the expeditions to Antarctica, so distant that just its mention makes us feel cold.

As I have participated in the Atlantic Meridional Transect voyage many years ago, while working in the Plymouth Oceanographic laboratory, I admire the abilities of my colleagues like José Abel, Paco and Carmen, because apart from being good in their scientific work they also have to be prepared physically and mentally to work in difficult conditions. Furthermore, their contributions to the knowledge of the climate are relevant and necessary, even more so, if some, less informed platforms go back to questioning climate change and how this affects life on Earth.

All research that contributes new knowledge and broadens the horizons of science, is relevant and should be valued.

And this applies to both, basic science like its uses and technological developments. Some research studies are very shocking and can be easily communicated to our society. Others however, have a high degree of complexity and their knowledge and value is often to recognized by the citizens.

However, in all cases, these are very laborious works with an important degree of competence and uncertainty, and sometimes carried out in difficult condition. As in the case of scientists that I had mentioned before, this work often includes months sailing through the frozen waters or at the scientific station that our country has in Antarctica.

For that reason, we are now going through some weeks of cold, and not only climatic, I wanted to remind all of you and contribute my gain of sand in the spread of their work, as it is for many researchers who, although not very known, are valued by our University.

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Researcher Carmen Dominguez in Antarctica. Photo: Eraso

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Juan Manuel Corchado (15 May 1971, Salamanca, Spain) is Professor at the University of Salamanca. He has been Vice-Rector for Research from 2013 to 2017 and Director of the Science Park of the University of Salamanca. Elected as Dean of the Faculty of Science twice, he holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Salamanca and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from the University of the West of Scotland. He leads the renowned BISITE (Bioinformatics, Intelligent Systems and Educational Technology) Research Group, created in 2000. Director of the IoT Digital Innovation Hub and President of the AIR Institute, J. M. Corchado is also Visiting Professor at the Osaka Institute of Technology since January 2015, Visiting Professor at the Universiti Malaysia Kelantan and Member of the Advisory Group on Online Terrorist Propaganda of the European Counter Terrorism Centre (EUROPOL). J. M. Corchado has been president of the IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society, and academic coordinator of the University Institute for Research in Art and Animation Technology at the University of Salamanca, as well as researcher at the Universities of Paisley (UK), Vigo (Spain) and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (UK). He currently combines all his activity with the direction of Master programmes in Security, Digital Animation, Mobile Telephony, Information Systems Management, Internet of Things, Social Media, 3D Design and Printing, Blockchain, Z System, Industry 4.0, Agile Project Management, and Smart Cities & Intelligent Buildings, at the University of Salamanca and his work as editor-in-chief of the journals ADCAIJ (Advances in Distributed Computing and Artificial Intelligence Journal), OJCST (Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology) or Electronics MDPI (Computer Science & Engineering section). J. M. Corchado mainly works on projects related to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, IoT, Fog Computing, Edge Computing, Smart Cities, Smart Grids and Sentiment Analysis. He has recently been included in the board of trustees of the AstraZeneca Foundation, along with other health professionals and researchers recognised for bringing scientific knowledge closer to society.

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