(1877 - 1971)
Botánico. Destacado científico que dedicó su vida a estudiar e interpretar la naturaleza cubana y a buscar nuevas fuentes de riquezas naturales; su mayor aporte a la ciencia lo constituyen sus estudios acerca de las plantas medicinales.
From 1959 Onwards The Revolutionary Period
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The process of building new research institutions began in 1962. From that year to 1973, 53 R+D (Research and Development) institutions were organized in the country and made up an important part of the set of institutes for research on exact and natural, medical, technological, agricultural and social sciences that are still in place in Cuba. Later on, these institutions increased their staff considerably, thanks to the first graduations of university and intermediate level technicians that took place during the Revolution. Also, relatively complex projects were undertaken, most of them concluding in the seventies.

Almost all scientific societies (including the Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Havana) were very affected by the migration of professionals that occurred from 1959-1962, and a project was conceived to replace these societies with research institutes and group them - together with certain "isolated" entities (such as the National Observatory, for instance) - into a single institution. This project accounted for the foundation of the National Commission of the Cuban Academy of Sciences on February 20, 1962, which was composed of a group of scientists and intellectuals and presided over by the geographer and captain of the Rebel Army Antonio Núñez Jiménez (1923-1998), a professor at the Central University (in Santa Clara) before the Revolution, who had recently been executive director of INRA.

The National Commission was empowered to carry out "the reorganization, incorporation and dissolution of whatsoever societies, academies and corporations it would deem convenient to the effect of this law" (Law 1011 of February 20, 1962) and to propose to the government the incorporation of scientific entities attached to ministries or universities. The Commission was also empowered to "plan scientific research in agreement with the Central Planning Board", which was supposed to refer to all scientific research in the country, though the National Commission never exercised such empowerment. The law did not yet consider the National Commission an Academy of Sciences , but it came to be known as such. In fact, the institution worked as a body of the State's central administration. The new Academy proclaimed itself heir of the former Academy of Medical , Physical and Natural Sciences of Havana.

In a visit to the Academy (which had been headquartered at the National Capitol) on April 24, 1964 , Commander Ernesto "Che" Guevara considered the institution should work with a long-term approach on international science development allowing it to be "the consulting authority and the orienting authority" rather than the steering authority of science in Cuba . On the other hand, contacts with academies of sciences in socialist countries led to a research conception in the academy similar to the one existing in those institutions; though, definitely, the academy did not focus completely on "fundamental" issues but rather on something that is classified as "oriented and fundamental": the study of natural resources in the country.

Though research on natural resources was the core area of the Academy, it also took into account "technical needs" of the Cuban society that were not the responsibility of other bodies, in branches such as: energetics (nuclear, solar, related to the thermal gradient of the sea, geothermal, and tide-related); sea water desalinization; culture of marine plants and fish; basic research on fisheries, sea algae, plankton, culture of freshwater algae and other freshwater organisms; studies on earth magnetism and ionosphere as well as on radio wave propagation; seismological research; industrial automation.

So as to support, as regards scientific information, all this research and development work, the Institute of Scientific-Technical Documentation and Information (IDICT) was created by law in 1963 as the management and steering center of the National System of Scientific and Technical Information. This institute created the standards and reference works indispensable for this activity, published a journal containing abstracts on Cuban publications, a bulletin of translations, and several information disseminating series. In the eighties, a network of "multisectoral centers" for scientific-technical information was created in all provinces in the country.

As regards study of natural resources, a group of institutes were created and an ambitious project - coordinated by the Geography Institute of the Cuban Academy - was prepared, which culminated in 1970 with the publication (with the cooperation of the Geography Institute and other USSR institutions) of the first National Atlas of Cuba , which was edited in a large format, with 147 maps, some of which were true exclusives due to their topic. In 1978, a second National Atlas was issued by the Institute for Geodesy and Cartography (attached to the Ministry of the Armed Forces), and in 1989, thanks to the cooperation among said institute and the Geography Institute and other institutions, a new National Atlas of Cuba was edited, with 627 maps and many other materials.