28-02-2015

The URV awards an honorary doctorate to the chemist Luis A. Oro

"Chemistry is a creative science with a brilliant future". These are the enthusiastic words of the chemist Luis A. Oro, who said them during the speech he gave after receiving an honorary doctorate from the URV in a ceremony in the University's Auditorium on 27 February.

The ceremony was attended by the rector of the University of Saragossa, Manuel López, colleagues from Dr Oro's own university and from other (UAB, UJI, UB, Autonomous University of Mexico) and Miquel Àngel Pericàs, director of the Catalan Institute for Chemical Research (ICIQ), which put Dr Oro's name forward for the honorary doctorate.

Carmen Claver, a former student of Dr Oro, recalled how at the University of Saragossa in the 1970s he started a pioneering study to use his knowledge of both coordination chemistry and organometallic chemistry to prepare catalysers and to begin a new line of homogeneous catalysis. In doing so he conducted the first doctoral thesis on the subject. His sponsor, Carmen Claver, said that Dr Oro "is an interdisciplinary chemist who has worked with rigor and always placed the greatest demands on himself. He has chemical intuition, a great desire and capacity for work and acts without fear or risk during his research.

During his speech, Luis A. Oro spoke about research into chemistry and scientific policy. Chemistry is central to all other areas of science. Not only does it try to understand nature, it has also provided and continues to provide solutions by creating molecules and materials. Furthermore, it is a vital science to world harmony. However, he also observed that it is difficult to explain chemistry and to make people understand its importance. In reference to the URV, the new honorary doctor stated that it is an excellent example of a university that has reached a preeminent position in very little time.
In his speech, the rector Josep Anton Ferré welcomed Dr Luis A. Oro to the URV community and highlighted three of the chemist's most important qualities: his scientific excellence, his role in the development of chemistry, and his teaching, through which he has trained many of the chemists now conducting research at other universities.

EMPHASISING THE VALUE OF RESEARCH

Since 1982, Dr Oro has occupied the Chair for Inorganic Chemistry of the University of Saragossa and was head of the University Institute of Homogeneous Catalysis of Saragossa from 2004 to 2013. He is the author and co-author of some 600 scientific publications, twenty book chapters and scientific reviews and nine books. His works have been cited many times in the international literature on chemistry and he was highlighted by the ISI Web of Knowledge as a highly cited researcher. He has been awarded many international prizes, the 2014 Fèlix Serratosa Medal of the ICIQ (where he was a
member of the Scientific Council for ten years), and he has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Rennes (2005). During Spain's democratic transition, he was director general of Scientific and Technical Research and general secretary of the National Research Plan for the State Administration, which sought to modernise scientific policy in Spain.

During his speech, Dr Oro spoke out against the fall in research funding during recent years and of the need for a stable institutional framework to protect the R+D+I system. He also stressed that passivity and dispiritedness were of no use as responses to the current financial crisis.