Scientific activities

The Catalan Mathematical Society

 Refoundation in 1978 of the Mathematics Section of the Catalan Society of Physics Chemistry and Mathematics, which went from 16 members to 400 in 4 years (at present there are 1.000). Publication of the Butlletí de la SCM (a semi-annual scientific publication). Organisation in 1980 of the VII Jornades Matemàtiques Hispano-Lusitanes and in 1982 of the congrés Sobre l’Educació Matemàtica y la Formació del Professorat., A whole series of scientific activities were carried out, among which the publication El desenvolupament de les Matemàtiques al segle XIX.

The Centre de Recerca Matemàtica

Creation of the Centre de Recerca Matemàtica (CRM) in 1984 as a research institute for visiting lecturers and holders of post-doctoral scholarships, first as a body of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, and then with independent legal status, as a consortium between the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Institut d’Estudis Catalans.

Management of the CRM since its creation until the year 2007.

Honorary Director of the CRM since 2007.

During my tenure more than 1.000 researchers from 60 different countries have worked in the CRM and have organised 29 conferences, 25 workshops and 28 advanced courses, all at an international level, with the participation of some 4.000 attendees.

The CRM was the first mathematics research institute in Spain and one of the most prestigious in Europe, and which annually brought together 100 researchers and organised 5 or 6 congresses or advanced courses. It has premises of 1,300 m2 and a staff of 6 persons for administrative, technical services as well as other outsourced services.

Among the most prestigious congresses I should like to highlight

  • Current State and Prospects of Mathematics, 1991, in which 6 researchers who were awarded the Fields Medal participated.
  • Barcelona Conference on Algebraic Topology, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002. Congress held every four years, which has become the most prestigious of its kind in the world.
  • 3rd European Congress of Mathematics, organised in 2000 in Barcelona by the Societat Catalana de Matemàtiques on behalf of the l’European Mathematical Society, after active management on the part of the CRM, in which I gave the opening speech.

Publication of a series of monographs Advanced Courses in Mathematics CRM Barcelona, by the Swiss publisher Birkhäuser Verlag, of which I was the founder and managing editor (2001-2008), and which brings together the results of the most important advanced scientific courses.

The CRM has also organised with much success since 1999, along with the Department of Mathematics  of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,, the Masters course  Matemàtiques per als instruments financers,, in collaboration with Barcelona Stock Exchange and various financial institutions.

The CRM participates actively and with much success in competitive funding tenders in Spain and the EU and receives funding from the Generalitat of Catalonia.

The director of the CRM is a member of ERCOM, (European Research Centres on Mathematics), a committee of the Societat Matemàtica Europea which brings together 25 research institutes from around Europe. From 2002 to 2006 I was chairman of ERCOM, attending annual meetings in Warsaw, Vienna, Aarhus and Pisa, in which European scientific policy and the situation of underprivileged countries was analysed and cooperation agreements were established between the various ERCOM centres at a doctoral and post-doctoral level.

The CRM is a member of theEuropean Post-doctoral Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (EPDI), which annually awards postdoctoral grants to facilitate intra-European mobility.

The European Commission programme NEST, has supported in the period 2005-2007 the only project to be coordinated by a Spanish institution, as a research support action, and which was proposed by the IHESEurandom, l’Emmy Neother Institute and the CRM, and of which I have been the general co-ordinator. This project,  Shaping New Directions in Mathematics for Science and Society (MATHFSS), a pioneer in Europe, fosters and develops activities along four lines: Systems Biology, Digital Content Security, Risk Assessment and Mathematical Neuroscience.

The Ferran Sunyer i Balaguer Foundation

Creation in 1992 of the Fundació Ferran Sunyer i Balaguer, a not-for-profit private foundation which awards, annually, an international prize to a monograph which brings together the most recent breakthroughs in an area of Mathematics. The prize is worth 15.000 euros and the winning work is published in the prestigious series Progress in Mathematics by Birkhäuser Verlag.

n 2007 the Foundation started to yearly award a number of grants for advanced PhD students in mathematics from universities within the Catalan speaking territories, for stays from 1 to 3 months in a research mathematical institute.

In year 2008 the Foundation has set up the Premi Matemàtiques i Societat, yearly offered to the best reporting or activity on any aspect of Mathematics produced in the Catalan speaking territories.

Member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation, of which I have been Chairman for 7 years.

Director of the Foundation since May 2007, until April 2020.

Along the year 2012 co-ordinator of the activities organised to pay tribute to Sunyer in occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his birth and, in particular, editor of the book Selecta Ferran Sunyer i Balaguer, promoter of the documentary  Ferran Sunyer i Balaguer, història d’un exili interior i and commissary of the exhibition La superació d’un matemàtic, Ferran Sunyer i Balaguer (1912-1967).

Since 2012, the Foundation organizes the Dissabte Transfronterer de les Matemàtiques a l’Alt Empordà, in Figueres (Ferran Sunyer hometown), an activity that brings together 90 high school students and about 30 secondary education teachers each year.

In 2019, the Fundation and the Hospital de Sant Joan de Déu of Barcelona agreed to carry out the Incognyx-FSBproject, which must allow measurement of the intellectual capacity of children with cerebral palsy at birth (as Ferran Sunyer).


Creator in 1976, del Grup de Topologia Algebraica de Barcelona, a well established research group, of great international prestige, which at present comprises 4 University Full Professors, 4 University Associate Professors, 1 University Lecturer, 4 Readers, 2 Ramón y Cajal associates, 4 assistants, 1 Post-graduate scholarship holder and 4 doctoral students.

The research group, at present, has members at the following Universities Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Málaga, Almería and the London Metropolitan in the UK.

Editor of various scientific books published by Springer Verlag and Birkhäuser Verlag, among other publishers.

Author of a large number of papers and scientific publications in universities in various countries and in scientific journals.

The Spanish Topology Network

Promoter and first co-ordinator of the Red Española de Topología (RET), a network of research groups in the various branches of Topology, begun in 2003, created by the Ministry of Science and Technology, and which brings together some 150 researchers.

Since 1993, we have organised the Encuentro de Topología, which meets at various Spanish universities, and in 2005 the RET published the Libro blanco de la topología en España, a work which I directed personally.

Scientific Education

Author, with Irene Llerena, of the book Àlgebra Lineal i Geometria, UAB 1988, in Catalan and Ed. Reverté 1990 in Spanish, of which there have been 4 editions in Catalan and 5 in Spanish. For more than 15 years it has been a reference book for Catalan, Spanish and Latin American universities.

Author of the book Iniciació a la Topologia Algebraica, Bellaterra 1994.

Editor (with C. Casacuberta) of the book Mathematical Research: Today and Tomorrow, Springer 1992.

Editor of the book  El desenvolupament de les Matemàtiques al segle XIX, Barcelona 1980.

Author of various scientific articles and articles on science in general in specialist journals and newspapers.

Director of the series of lectures Grans conjectures matemàtiques (2008) i Matemàtiques en les ciències i la societat (2009), organised by CosmoCaixa.

Co-ordinator of the Llibre blanc de la recerca matemàtica a Catalunya (2000-2009) (

Co-author (with Margarita Mitjana) of the Report de la recerca en matemàtiques a Catalunya (2003-2009) Institute for Catalan Studies (2012).

My Mathematical Family Tree

Cultural activities

The Chairmanship of the IEC

From October 1995 to September 2002 I was President of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, the leading academic institution in Catalonia.

The Institut d’Estudis Catalans (IEC) was founded in 1907 for the promotion of science and culture in Catalonia, and at present is an academic institution which brings together linguists and philologists, historians and archaeologists, philosophers and social scientists, doctors, scientists and technologists, as full members, and more than 26 Scientific Associations covering all areas of knowledge, with more than 9000 members.

The IEC, recognised by Royal decree in 1976, is alongside the Academy of the Catalan Language responsible for setting the rules and establishing the lexis and grammar of Catalan.

During the period of my Chairmanship, the IEC has gone from 105 full members to 140 and has brought up to date and modernised its Articles, becoming a reference for other academies in Spain.

Its headquarters, in the Convalescent Home of the former Holly Cross Hospital, is a building, dating from the XVII century and which is declared to be of cultural interest, which during my Chairmanship was totally restored and renovated architecturally to cater for the needs of an active academic institution in the XXI century.

The IEC has staff of around 100 persons in charge of administrative and technical tasks, who support the research carried out by the academicians.

As an Academy of Language

During my term we have undertaken, among others, the following important tasks:

  • Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana (1995), updated version of the latest normative official dictionary, which dated from 1932.
  • Corpus Textual Informatitzat de la Llengua Catalana (1998), large database of contemporary Catalan, which contains 55 millions entries, all of which duly organised under headwords, which can be consulted by the public via the Portal de Dades Lingüístiques.
  • The first volume of the l’Atles Lingüístic del Domini Català, a work that will comprise 12 volumes containing all dialectal and phonological information on Catalan.
  • Digitalisation and computerisation of the Diccionari Català-Valencià-Balearby Alcover-Moll, a global compendium all the language varieties in the Catalan domain.

As an Academy of History

It is worth highlighting four broad research and study projects:

  • The Publication of the fourth volume and preparation of the fifth volume of the Corpus Vitrearum Medi Aevi, a European level project which consists of the study and documentation of the stain glass windows of the great Medieval churches.
  • Preparation and publication of new volumes of the great work Catalunya Carolíngia, which consists of collecting and studying of Carolingian documents which date from before the 10th century.
  • Study and publication of various sheets of the Forma Orbis Romana, on Roman settlements in Catalonia.
  • Publication of an annual volume of the Arxiu de Textos Catalans Antics, which brings together documents published in Catalan in the High Middle Ages..

As an Academy of Sciences

In the field of science, medicine and technology we should highlight:

  • El Diccionari de Geologia, which brings together all scientific and popular entries in this field, a reference work for other Latin languages.
  • We started the series Clàssics de la Ciència, a selection and translation into Catalan of basic texts in the development of science and medicine, of which so far 6 volumes have been published.
  • We started the journal Contributions to Science, which brings together a collection of research carried out in Catalonia by the most prestigious teams and can be found in 400 libraries around the world.
  • Preparation and publication of Ciència en la Història dels Països Catalans, a study of the contributions of Catalan scientists to the development of scientific advances and their impact on society in the Catalan lands.

As an academy of Creative Arts

During the years of my Chairmanship the IEC has established an Art Fund comprising 60 works, donations, of the most important artists of the Catalan lands, such as Antoni Tàpies, Antoni Clavé, Albert Ràfols Casamada or Joan Guinovart.

Other scientific activities

We began a series of Scientific Conferences, of great interest due to their scientific or technological content or to their social impact, on various issues in Science, History, Communication, Technology, Humanities, Sociology, etc. Each of these Conferences has been followed by a corresponding publication.

Of the functions I have attended, I should like to highlight:

  • Appearance before the Cultural Commission of the Parliament of Catalonia.
  • Appearance before the Cultural Commission of the Spanish Senate.
  • Presentation of the Diccionari de la Llengua Catalana to H.M. The King of Spain.
  • Reception of the Minister of Education and Culture to the headquarters of the IEC.
  • Various private meetings with the President of the Generalitat of Catalonia.
  • Presentation of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans and its activities in over 40 cities and towns, giving various papers, among which: Barcelona, Castelló de la Plana, Palma de Mallorca, València, L’Alguer, Perpignan, Andorra, Fraga, Madrid.
  • Contribution to Tribuna de Barcelona in 2002 with a speech on Llengua, cultura, ciència, tres eixos d’una identitat

My own publications in this field are

Besides numerous articles, presentations and papers I should like to highlight:

Other activities of cultural interest