Save the Cajal and School Legacies: Help lobby UNESCO for a World Heritage Listing

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Save the Cajal & School Legacies: Help lobby UNESCO for a World Heritage Listing

The newly formed Cajal Legacy Group is seeking your support to have the work of Ramon y Cajal and his school of talented protégées World Heritage Listed by UNESCO.

Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934) is unquestionably the founder of modern neuroscience and a genius in the field of biology. Cajal was the first person to describe the cellular structure of the brain and to link these networks of cells with the functioning of the mind.

Although Cajal was awarded the Nobel Prize more than 100 years ago (1906) his work continues to captivate, inspire and inform modern neuroscientists. His long lasting legacy and influence is enriched by a vast collection of exquisite drawings of brain cells and the connections they make within the nervous system.  These drawings provided the first glimpse into the very essence of our humanity. In much the same way that people marvel at Leonardo da Vinci’s helicopter design conceived centuries ahead of its time, Cajal’s drawings continue to amaze neuroscientists with both their beauty and scientific insight. This can be illustrated by comparing  Cajal’s image of a purkinje neuron, obtained using rudimentary histological and microscopy methods, with an image taken in 2011 using a modern confocal microscope and fluorescent dye.

 (D. Becker and D. Rossi B0000107 Purkinje cell. Wellcome Images available under the following creative commons usage

As a young child Cajal’s father taught him that “ignorance was the greatest of all misfortunes, and teaching the most noble of all duties”.  Cajal was guided by this ethos and attracted many talented students who continued on as pioneers of neuroscience, particularly Jorge Francisco Tello, Nicolás Achúcarro, Pío del Río-Hortega, Fernando de Castro and Rafael Lorente de Nó. The group became universally known as the Spanish Histological School or the Cajal School. In this sense, the Cajal School represents a major milestone in the history of neuroscience and must also be collected and preserved for posterity.

 At present there is no museum for the Cajal Legacy.

 These priceless treasures require a dedicated world-class museum, not just for Cajal’s legacy but also for his disciples. Such a museum would inspire the next generation of thinkers who will also have complex and seemingly intractable problems to solve.


For more information please visit :The Cajal Legacy Group


The Cajal Legacy Group

Ignacio Torres, Director, Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain

Juan A. de Carlos, Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain

Laura López-Mascaraque, Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain

Jose Luis Trejo, Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain

Fernando de Castro, Instituto Cajal, Madrid, Spain

Juan Lerma, Director del Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante CSIC, Spain

Patricia Armati, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Australia

John Pollard, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Australia

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