(1923 - 2001)
Médico oftalmólogo. Notable científico, conocido internacionalmente por haber concebido un nuevo tratamiento para la retinosis pigmentaria.
19th Century The Late Colonial Period
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Upon a proposal by Ramón de la Sagra , the Spanish chemist José Luis Casaseca, who had studied in France , came to Cuba in 1836. He taught chemistry in several extracurricular professorships and, in 1848, established the Institute for Chemical Research of Havana, which he originally conceived as an institution for agrochemical research, but scarce budgeting and equipment restrained its founder's possibilities very much. However, this institute housed some important pupils, the most renowned of them all being Álvaro Reynoso, who substituted for him as director of the Institute.

Álvaro Reynoso (1829-1888), a chemistry graduate from Paris University , made the Institute founded by Casaseca reach its highest prominence, in large measure with funds from his family inheritance. In 1862, Reynoso published a comprehensive overview of sugarcane growing, with several recommendations to improve it. Its title was Essay on Sugarcane Growing , which was soon translated into French, Dutch and Portuguese. The essay had, however, little acceptance in Cuba . During a long stay in Paris , Reynoso also developed a new industrial sugar technology, whose relevance has not been properly assessed yet but has turned him, maybe, into the most important Cuban inventor. He depleted his fortune in these endeavors and passed away in Havana , in abject poverty.

In 1838, Felipe Poey (1799-1891) published the first text intended for Cuban geography teaching, which - under several denominations - was edited 19 times. That very year, he organized a humble Museum of Natural History . Felipe Poey, one of the great 19 th -century naturalists in America , published in the fifties his most important Memoirs on Natural History of the Island of Cuba . But its greatest work is the Natural History of Cuban Fish , also known as Cuban Ichthyology, which was conferred international awards and acknowledgements but - in spite of all efforts made in that respect -- came to be published in full as late as 2000. It is a truly monumental endeavor that makes its author rank among the greatest ichthyologists of all times.

Since 1850 approximately, Felipe Poey's oldest son, Andrés Poey (1825-1919), set up a small meteorological observatory and started to report his observations to institutions in France and the United States . In 1857, he decided to create officially the Physical-Meteorological Observatory of Havana, which was under the direction of Andrés Poey himself. He was involved later in creating a meteorological observatory for the "Scientific Commission of Mexico" (which was established during the French-Spanish intervention in that country). In 1869 he was laid off by the colonial authorities and went to live definitely in France , where he stood out as an ardent positivist and pacifist. Andrés Poey's main meteorological observations have to do with cloud classification and motion. The gap left by his observatory was bridged by the Observatory of the Belén College , which was directed since 1870 by Father Benito Viñes (1837-1893), a Catalonian meteorologist that made important contributions to the study of tropical hurricanes, including an empirical theory of their movement.

We cannot overlook the greatest achievement of civil engineering in Cuba in the 19 th century, i.e. the building of a modern aqueduct for the city, which was designed and built by the Cuban engineer Francisco de Albear (1816-1887), who came to be brigadier of the engineers corps of the Spanish army. Being monumental in its times and circumstances (its design was awarded a golden medal at the Paris International Exhibition in 1878) this aqueduct was started in 1856, but was not completed until 1893, six years after Albear's death. It was a noteworthy contribution to sanitation in Havana and to the welfare of its citizens, and is still works.

Since the forties, there was a process of sugar industrialization in Cuba , which first step was the use of the steam engine and its dissemination (which took place mostly in those years), once the problem of coupling it to sugar mills had been solved. Next, other machines (developed in Europe for the sugar beet industry) were introduced, such as the series purchased in 1841 for a sugar refinery in the region of Matanzas, which included the horizontal sugar mill with its mobile mat, defecators (to heat, decant and clarify sugarcane juice), charcoal filters, and vacuum evaporators. The manufacturer himself, the French Derosne, had to come to Cuba to install these pieces of equipment as there was nobody in the country who could do it. The engineers had to hire technical personnel (freelance workers) to handle these devices, but the possibility of a huge increase in industrial production relied, as a last resort, on largely increasing the slave workforce (in order to supply sugar refineries with enough sugarcane), which led to extraordinarily increased slave trade.

In 1857, the emergence of an economic crisis in Europe and the United States accelerated the process of decomposition of the Cuban "plantation-based economy", which was already affected by the struggle against slavery in several countries and the fact that Cuban landowners were indebted to the Spanish tradesmen (the main introducers of slaves, mostly in American ships). In Cuba , this crisis was accompanied by a new peak of the political reformist trend and the Spanish government's intention of winning the support of the Cuban middle class. Nevertheless, the negotiations between the reformists and the metropolis government failed in 1866, thus paving the way for the armed insurrection initiated in 1868 (the Ten Years War).