Famous Spanish Scientists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Santiago Ramón y Cajal

Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
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Famous As: Father of Modern Neuroscience
Birthdate: May 1, 1852
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Petilla de Aragón, Navarre, Spain
Died: October 18, 1934

While he apprenticed as a cobbler and a barber in childhood, Santiago Ramón y Cajal later took up medicine inspired by his father, a professor of anatomy. Cajal’s study of the microscopic structure of the human brain later formed the basis of neuroscience and earned him a Nobel Prize.

 2 José Ortega y Gasset

José Ortega y Gasset.
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Famous As: Philosopher, Educationist, Writer, University teacher, Sociologist, Mathematician, Literary critic
Birthdate: May 9, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid
Died: October 18, 1955

Philosopher and humanist José Ortega y Gasset was a major figure of the 20th-century Spanish literary renaissance. Apart from introducing concepts such as ratiovitalism, he also believed in the philosophy "I am I and my circumstance." Invertebrate Spain and The Revolt of the Masses remain his best works.

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 3 Javier Solana

Javier Solana.
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Famous As: Physicist, Diplomat, Politician, Professor
Birthdate: July 14, 1942
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Madrid

 4 Severo Ochoa

Severo Ochoa.
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Famous As: Physician and Biochemist
Birthdate: September 14, 1905
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Luarca, Spain
Died: November 1, 1993

Nobel Prize-winning Spanish biochemist Severo Ochoa is remembered for his discovery of the enzyme polynucleotide phosphorylase and his subsequent success in synthesizing RNA. His research took him to top institutes such as the universities of Oxford and Heidelberg. He had also taught at the New York University.

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 5 Abraham ibn Ezra

Abraham ibn Ezra.
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1089 AD
Birthplace: Tudela, Spain
Died: January 23, 1167
A significant figure of the Golden Age of Spanish Judaism, Abraham ibn Ezra was a renowned poet, a Neoplatonic philosopher, a biblical commentator, and an astronomy enthusiast. He traveled throughout Europe, North Africa, and Egypt, and also translated the works of Hispano-Hebrew grammarians. He inspired Robert Browning's poem Rabbi Ben Ezra.

 6 Ibn Tufail

Ibn Tufail
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Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: 1105 AD
Birthplace: Guadix, Spain
Died: 1185 AD

Ibn Tufail was a 12th-century Arab polymath from Andalusia and a significant figure of the Islamic Golden Age. Best known for his philosophical romance Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, he had also penned medical works in Arab and had been the court physician of Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf.

 7 Francisco J. Ayala

Francisco J. Ayala
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Famous As: Biologist, Geneticist, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: March 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Madrid

Francisco J. Ayala is a Spanish-born American evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist, best known for his investigation on the process of genetic variation and natural selection at molecular level. He also undertook research on public health, providing new ideas on the prevention and treatment of diseases and expounded how Darwin’s theory of evolution is well-matched to religious theory of creation.  

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 8 José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado

José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado
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Famous As: Teacher, Scientist, Psychiatrist
Birthdate: August 8, 1915
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ronda
Died: September 15, 2011

 9 Antonio de Ulloa

Antonio de Ulloa
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Famous As: Astronomer, Explorer, Meteorologist
Birthdate: January 12, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seville
Died: July 3, 1795

Spanish mariner Antonio de Ulloa was sent by the government to explore America and ended up being captured by the British while returning. His scientific zeal made him a Fellow of the Royal Society there. He is remembered for his metallurgical, astronomical, and geographical discoveries and treatises.

 10 Raimon Panikkar

Raimon Panikkar
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Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: November 2, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: August 26, 2010

Born to a Spanish Catholic mother and an Indian Hindu father in Barcelona, Raimon Panikkar grew up to be a Catholic priest and a philosophy professor. An expert in comparative religion, he compared the tenets of Catholicism and Hinduism in his doctoral thesis. He also penned several spiritual texts.

 11 Avempace

Avempace
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Famous As: Polymath
Birthdate: 1085 AD
Birthplace: Zaragoza, Spain
Died: 1138 AD

Spanish Arab philosopher and scholar Avempace excelled in a variety of subjects, such as astronomy, music, medicine, and poetry. His treatise on botany Kitāb an-Nabāt described how plant sexes differ. His other works include Tadbīr al-mutawaḥḥid. He was believed to be an atheist by many.

 12 Leonardo Torres y Quevedo

Leonardo Torres y Quevedo
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: December 28, 1852
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Besaya Valley, Spain
Died: December 18, 1936

 13 José Echegaray

José Echegaray
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Famous As: Civil Engineer
Birthdate: April 19, 1832
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 14, 1916

Initially a math professor, José Echegaray later held several government posts. As the minister of finance, he developed the Banco de España. He later established himself as a prominent dramatist, with plays such as El gran Galeoto, and became the first Spanish to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

 14 Abraham Zacuto

Abraham Zacuto
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: August 12, 1452
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Salamanca, Spain
Died: 1515 AD

 15 José de Acosta

José de Acosta
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Famous As: Missionary
Birthdate: September 30, 1540
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Medina del Campo, Spain
Died: February 15, 1600

Spanish Jesuit missionary José de Acosta had penned the earliest available treatise on the New World, Natural and Moral History of the Indies. While on his mission in Peru, he wrote the first printed book of the country. The altitude sickness he experienced is now named Acosta's disease.

 16 Abraham ben David Halevi ibn Daud

Abraham ben David Halevi ibn Daud
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Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: 1110 AD
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: 1180 AD

Best known for his treatises Sefer ha-kabbala and Sefer ha-emuna ha-rama, Abraham ben David Halevi ibn Daud was a 12th-century Spanish-Jewish philosopher, historian, and physician. Also known as Rabad I, or Ravad I, he was the first real Aristotelian Jew. Some historians believe he died a martyr.

 17 Juan de Herrera

Juan de Herrera
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Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: Roiz, Spain
Died: January 15, 1597

 18 Tomàs Molina

Tomàs Molina
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Famous As: Meteorologist, Journalist, Writer, Television presenter, Physicist
Birthdate: September 26, 1963
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Badalona

TV3 weather presenter Tomàs Molina is a renowned meteorologist who heads Televisión de Cataluña’s meteorology department and is also associated with the Catalan channels Canal Méteo and Teletiempo. The IABM vice president has authored several books and won the Spain Zapping Award for the Best TV Personality in 2012.

 19 José Celestino Mutis

José Celestino Mutis
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Famous As: Spanish botanist
Birthdate: April 6, 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: September 11, 1808

Spanish botanist José Celestino Mutis had initially studied medicine and served as the royal physician of Ferdinand VI. While working in South America later, he studied the medicinal properties of plants. He also built a massive botanical garden and penned a treatise that contained over 6,000 illustrations of plants.

 20 Abraham bar Hiyya

Abraham bar Hiyya
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: 1070 AD
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: 1136 AD

Known for his works on math, philosophy, and astronomy, Catalan Jewish philosopher and scientist Abraham bar Hiyya was one of the first to enrich Hebrew scientific literature. Apart from translating books from Arabic to Latin, he had also penned works such as Liber Embadorum, a treatise on geometry and algebra.

 21 Fausto Elhuyar

Fausto Elhuyar
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Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 11, 1755
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Logroño, Spain
Died: February 6, 1833

 22 Diego de Torres Villarroel

Diego de Torres Villarroel
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 17, 1693
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Salamanca, Spain
Died: June 19, 1770

 23 Simeon ben Zemah Duran

Simeon ben Zemah Duran
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: 1361 AD
Birthplace: Majorca, Spain
Died: 1444 AD

Simeon ben Zemah Duran was the first Spanish Jewish rabbi to earn a regular salary from the community, going against the trend of the rabbi’s post being honorary. He excelled in subjects such as philosophy, math, and medicine, and is best remembered for his commentary Magen Avot.

 24 Francisco de Paula Marín

Francisco de Paula Marín
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Famous As: Nobleman
Birthdate: November 25, 1774
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Died: October 30, 1837

 25 Ibn al-ʿAwwām

Ibn al-ʿAwwām
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Famous As: Islamic author
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Seville, Spain
Died: 1158 AD

 26 Margarita Salas

Margarita Salas
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Famous As: Biochemist
Birthdate: November 30, 1938
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Valdés, Spain
Died: November 7, 2019