Esteve Terradas, professor of Acoustics and Optics at the University of Barcelona, was one of the first Catalan scientists to talk about Albert Einstein’s theories. He was also one of the architects, together with Rafael Campalans, director of the Pedagogical Council of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, of the German physicist’s famous visit to the city of Barcelona at the end of February 1923, a visit which is now one hundred years old.
Einstein’s agenda in Barcelona was packed with events. Among other things, he gave a conference to a large audience at the palace of the Generalitat —now the headquarters of the Institute for Catalan Studies— and another at the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona. The chronicles of those days report that he also visited the Industrial School, where he was presented with two records of Catalan popular music, and that he attended a sardana performance.
Einstein also visited the Historical Building of the University of Barcelona. He was received by the then rector, Valentí Carulla i Margenat, the dean of the Faculty of Sciences, Simón Vila Vendrell, and the secretary-general of the University, Carles Calleja. The newspaper El Noticiero Universal reported on this meeting in its edition of 26 February 1923.
On this anniversary, the city of Barcelona now remembers the visit of this illustrious scientist, an event that served to promote Catalan science in Europe. The Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona has organised a commemorative conference , which will take place on 23 February, with the participation of professors Roberto Emparan and Héctor Gil-Marín from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the UB.
The University of Barcelona and Einstein
In April 1998, the magazine La Universitat published an extensive report on Esteve Terradas, who held the chair of Acoustics and Optics at the UB until 1928. "Terradas was fluent in German and this enabled him to be at the forefront of knowledge of new ideas on the mechanics of the physical world", the article states.
The UB’s Learning and Research Resources Centre (CRAI) has dedicated two exhibitions to the German physicist: "Einstein in our Library" , in 2005, and one dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the theory of relativity , in 2015.
This Betevé video summarizes Einstein’s visit in Barcelona.