J. J. Campos-Bueno Neurosciences and History 2021;9(4): 174-196
Type of article: ORIGINAL
J. J. Campos-Bueno School of Psychology. Universidad Complutense, Campus de Somosaguas, Madrid, Spain.
Luis Simarro is inevitably linked to the figure of his friend Cajal due to their fruitful relationship since they met during their doctoral studies under Maestre de San Juan. Simarro generously taught his friend different techniques; some of these were later perfected by Cajal. The best known were the Golgi method to stain neurons, and the Simarro staining method to observe neurofibrils. Both contributed strong arguments to the neuron doctrine and against Golgi’ s reticular theory. The theory established that the brain network was made up by a network of tubes, similarly to the vascular system or the striated muscular fibre. Both were candidates to the chair that was left vacant after the death of Maestre de San Juan. Cajal won the chair with more than enough merits, with Simarro in second place. Simarro became chair of experimental psychology 10 years later.
The public recognition that both received years after their death was very different from the appreciation they received during life. The Simarro Foundation was seized by the winners of the Spanish Civil War, at the same time that the Cajal Museum was created. Throughout their lives, both showed social and political concerns, although these were more intense in the case of Simarro, even interfering with his scientific activity towards the end of his life. Both legacies have been unfairly treated in material terms, but both personalities are well-recognised in academic settings. We still lack appropriate museums to display the great achievements in Spanish neurohistology made by Cajal and Simarro.
Luis Simarro, Ramón y Cajal, Spanish Histological School, Simarro Foundation, 14th International Congress of Medicine
Neurosciences and History 2021;9(4): 174-196
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