Scientific observations book - Emil Racoviță

Modern History
XXth Century
writing, photography, drawing
lenght: 24 cm, width: 19,4 cm

    Scientific observations book – Emil Racoviță

    The diary, written in French, has 50 pages, of which 36 are filled with annotations and scientific observations made by Emil Racoviță. The document includes several drawings, sketches and photographs made by the great Romanian scientist during his research from 1901-1902. The majority of annotations and photographs were made during the exploration of certain caves in Spain. Emil Racoviță conducted several speleological trips in the Iberian Peninsula; besides, among his collaborators could be mentioned the Spanish scientists such as Ricardo Zariquiey or Ferran Moragues. Emil Racoviță was the first to investigate the caves in Mallorca, establishing the local biospeleology research. At the same time, a statue of the notorious scholar is located right in the capital, Palma de Mallorca, on the seashore. During his Spanish trip he investigated the cave Cuevas Del Drach, where he captured a tiny crustacean, unidentified by the scientific world until then, that he would give the name Typhlocirolana moraguesi. This particular discovery played a key role in the development of biospeology.

    Emil Racoviță (1868-1947)

    He was a member and president of Romanian Academy between 1927 and 1929 and teacher at the University of Cluj (1920-1947). When he was only 25 years old, in 1893 he became a member of the Zoological society of France. He was a Deputy Director marine zoo resort in Banyuls-sur-Mer (Franța), Deputy Director of the Laboratory of Compared Anatomy in Sorbonne and co-director of the international magazine Archives de zoologie expérimentale et générale. In his thesis Essai sur les problèmes biospéologiques from 1907, Emil Racoviță establishes a new scientific domain – the biospeleology. As a scientist he participated together with Roald Amundsen, Frederick Cook, Antoine Dobrowolski şi Henryk Arctowski in the expedition in Antartica on the board of the ship „Belgica” (1897-1899), led by Adrien de Gerlache. Throughout the expedition, Emil Racoviță, together with his scientific colleagues managed to collect vast amounts of botanic and zoological scientific data, which was subsequently published in 60 volumes, representing a scientific contribution more comprehensive than all other previous expeditions in Antarctica counted together. As a result of the expedition, the Romanian scholar developed a detailed study regarding the life of whales, penguins and various species in Antarctica. In 1920, at the University of Cluj he laid the cornerstone of the first Institute of speleological research in the world, the foundation of this Institute being accredited by a special piece of legislation from April 26th 1920. In this newborn Institute, Emil Racoviță, thought his first general biology course in Romania. At the beginning the Institute of Speleology of Cluj operated as a subsidiary of the Faculty of Science of Cluj, representing as well the official framework where Racoviță brought under the authority the Scientific Society „Biospeologica”, that he established in 1907, as an international tool in coordinating the activities of all zoologists concerned in studying the underground fauna. Racoviță is the founder of biospeleology, a scientific domain synthetic par excellence, originally conceived in order to reach a reconstruction as accurate as possible of the subterranean natural history. Emil Racoviță defined the biospeleology to be the science which studies the life forms in the underground environment (caves and groundwater). His scientific research on systematic, ecology and evolution of subterranean creatures brought a major contribution in developing of phylogenetic perspective in systematic. Great lover of nature, Emil Racoviță is one of the initiators regarding the preservation of natural monuments of Romania. Besides scientific studies he published other articles concerning the organization of higher education system and scientific research. The most notable scientific papers signed by Emil Racoviță, Essai sur les problèmes biospéologiques (1907), Speleology (1927), The evolution of species and its issues (1929) brought an essential contribution in developing the biology and speleology on international scale. The Institute of Speleology of Cluj was rearranged in 1960, being put under the authority of Romanian Academy with a new name, The Institute of Speleology Emil Racoviță.