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F.J.Caldas Polymath Founder of Oldest still in use Observatory of The Americas died 200 years ago.

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posted on Nov, 23 2016 @ 12:19 PM
The peace of God to all that belong to the Light,
Dear Readers,

On October 28th it was the 200 anniversary of the tragic death of one of the most important intellectuals of the Americas, the Colombian Polymath Francisco Jose de Caldas (October 4, 1768 – October 28, 1816) was a Colombian Lawyer, Military Engineer, Botanist- Naturalist, Mathematician, Geographer and Inventor (he created the first Hypsometer to measure correctly altitudes, based on the boiling point of water, an artillery mechanism, the first rifles built in South America, and the civil work and design of various military fortresses).

Francisco Jose de Caldas was the Greatest Scientist and Engineer born in the Americas after Benjamin Franklin. His work as Botanist was essential to determine the so rich biodiversity of plants of that part of the continent, that today provides the active principles of 80% of all medications processed by the pharmaceutical industry in the world.

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Francisco Jose de Caldas as a member of the Botanic expedition since 1802 to 1810, contributed a lot in the hard work of catalog thousands of plants of Columbia and Equator, many of important medicinal value, like the Cinchona that was the only known treatment against Malaria.

He develop also an interesting friendship with Alexander Von Humboldt that allow him to exchange vital scientific data in terms of Astronomical observations.

Caldas was one of the first Latin-Americans to work in charting the exact position of stars and constellations along the year as they appear visible in the low latitudes of the Americas.

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6,000 new plant species were discovered and described during the expedition that took place from 1783 to 1808 . As a result 6717 drawings and 20,000 plates with 2,738 different taxa were produced.

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The work of Francisco Jose de Caldas as Astronomer in multiple Astronomical observations like lunar and solar eclipses or his work observing Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury and comets was determinant to attract the support of the Spanish scientist Jose Celestino Mutils to help him to found the Sta Fe de Bogota Astronomical Observatory in 1803.

This observatory is the eldest one still in use in the Americas and the eldest among the highest of the world. It is 33 years older than the older of America, that is the Hopkins Observatory, built at Williams College in 1836-1838.

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Francisco Jose de Caldas died shot by the Spanish army without a fair judgment as a martyr of the independence war from Spain. His execution ordered by Pablo Murillo was coward, he had served the Spanish empire with the best of his abilities in the Botanic expedition and in the Astronomic observatory. He was still in his thirties and is considered a National Hero of Colombia. If he had survived probably should have achieved incredible scientific goals for his time.

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The thread is opened for the discussion of the works of Francisco Jose de Caldas in various academic disciplines and a meditation on the life of this great man that was also one of the first scientific journalists of the Americas, he published from 1808 to 1810 every week a science journal in Bogota, called the Semanaro del Nuevo Reino de Granada ( Weekly bulletin of the New Realm of Grenada) about the unfair treatment that Latin Americans have been received by the public opinion in America misleaded and misinformed by a media clearly biased that that use to underline only negative aspects of their continent.

The contribution of Latin Americans scientists to the progress of research in Institutes and Universities in USA is right no considerable in many fields.

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Thanks for your attention,

The Angel of Lightness

edit on 11/23/2016 by The angel of light because: (no reason given)

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