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Rafael Ibáñez Puchades, the Institute of Material Science (ICMUV)

Materials make up our world. Everything we see or touch enters in one way or another, in a concept of “material” and, therefore, the control and transformation of them have been a constant throughout the history of humanity. Proof of this is that prehistoric civilizations have been receiving the name of the most advanced materials they used. Carved or polished stone, bronze or iron were at the time of history the "frontier of technology". The empirical knowledge of the materials and the mastery in their processing and transformation have seen a great evolution in history and have led to very notable works in the field of engineering, architecture, or art.

The process of rationalization of knowledge and very particularly modern sciences, which has an important turning point in the Enlightenment era, have allowed essential advances such as the demonstration of the atomic nature of matter, the periodic table or thermodynamic laws. These concepts form the basis of a much deeper knowledge of the world and provide us with tools to transform materials in a much more efficient way. The set of modern sciences that arises with force in this epoch makes possible that nowadays the Science of Materials, or the synergic set of sciences that conform it have been able to pose a new paradigm; the "design" of materials. It is no longer a question of transforming or modifying materials found in nature, but of "creating" new materials that meet very specific needs.











However, the design of a material is not simple; it requires the participation of many researchers and technologists from different fields and the use of generally very sophisticated means, which is why it is extraordinarily expensive. For this reason only some sectors of very high added value can resist it. Sectors such as the military, space or high-energy physics are real engines in the investigation of new materials and the advances that they produce end up being transferred to other productive segments such as medicine, sports or telecommunications.

The economic impact that the use in the ordinary life of the materials and technology that at the time was designed for the space race and that have ended up "returning" to the Earth is estimated to represent a factor between four and seven; in other words, for every euro invested in the space agencies they end up generating between four and seven in the "real economy".

In addition to presenting this approach, numerous examples of materials that have made this double way back and forth to the space are cited in the conference to conclude that a well-balanced I+D system between basic research and technology transfer is economic and socially profitable

Brief Curriculum

Born in Valencia in 1958, he studied Chemistry at the Universitat de València, and subsequently completed the Doctoral Thesis on the Chemistry of Solid Chemistry Laboratory at the CNRS in Bordeaux. In 1984, he also defended his Doctoral Thesis at the Universitat de València, which he joined as Assistant Professor in December of the same year, until in 1990, when he entered a position as Associate Professor in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry. He is currently accredited to the Chair. In 1995, together with professors from the Department of Inorganic Chemistry and Applied Physics, he participated in the creation of the Materials Science Institute of the Universitat de València, of which he will be Secretary from the moment of its creation until 2002 and Director between 2002 and 2008.

In 2006, with other partners, he formed the company LaserFood, "SPIN-OFF" of the Science Park of the Universitat de València, which bases its activity on the study of unitary fruit traceability methods and for which a laser marking technology has been developed. This company continues to operate today. He is co-author of more than 75 scientific publications and 9 international patents and has received the Entrepreneur Researcher Award granted by IVACE and ADEIT. He currently teaches the subject of Materials Science in the Degree in Chemistry, in which he has always taught subjects related to solid chemistry and materials.

Estimulant les vocacions científiques is a project carried out by the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit of the Universitat de València, with the support of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology and the Ministry of Economics, Industry and Competitivity.


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