Cérémonie de lancement, UNESCO, le 20 janvier 2014
Les avancées récentes de la science, en particulier en cristallographie, au Brésil
Président du Conseil national de développement scientifique et technologique (CNPq) du Brésil
Brazilian science is still very young. The first higher education institutions, press and libraries were only allowed to be established in the country after the Portuguese Royal Family arrived in Brazil in 1808. The 19th century saw just a few medical and law schools being founded and the first universities were established only in the early 20th century. Science was restricted to some specialized research institutes dedicated to public health with the leadership of pioneers such as Oswaldo Cruz and Carlos Chagas.
The Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) was created in 1916 and the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC) in 1948; they played a fundamental role in the inclusion of science in the national agenda.
In 1951, the National Research Council (CNPq) was created with the mission to promote the development of science and technology in the country. Nevertheless, despite its short history, Brazil has already achieved important advances in science and technology, with significant impacts on our economy.
Crystallographic research was established in Brazil and originally affiliated to mineralogy. In the 1960s, Prof Y. P. Mascarenhas pioneered the introduction of structural studies of small molecules with single crystals, as well as powder diffraction. Protein crystallography only started in the 1990s, boosted by the establishment of the first synchrotron radiation source in the southern hemisphere – LNLS – in 1997. The Brazilian Association of Crystallography was created in 1972 and the scientific production in this field has grown strongly during this century, with 14,400 publications in international peer-reviewed journals having Brazil as the country of institutional affiliation of at least one author, in the period 2000−2013. Other indicators will be presented, as well as future perspectives for Brazilian science and crystallography in particular.