Internal meeting to commemorate the centenary of the Izaña Observatory on December 2, 2016

On December 2, 2016, and a few days before the end of the year, an internal event was held at the Observatory of Izaña, from the Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre (IARC, AEMET), in commemoration of its centenary. This meeting was devoted to people who currently work and worked in the past in this Observatory.

This commemorative-emotive meeting focused on the Human Factor of the Observatory, the most important one, which has imprinted the true character to the Izaña Observatory throughout its history. The people of Izaña are border people, and as such, work on the remote periphery, but at the same time this people has always had a continuous and fluid contact with people from other countries and cultures that has enriched the life and history of the Observatory itself.

We had the honour of being visited by former colleagues who had to work in much more difficult conditions and with less means than at present. We also wanted to pay homage to those who preceded us, and to those who currently work at Izaña, handling very sophisticated equipment and being embarked on complex atmospheric research programs that have catapulted Izaña into the international sphere.

The meeting on December 2 began with a talk about the history of Izaña Observatory, given by the IARC Director, Emilio Cuevas, which quickly became a casual, but very endearing and interesting colloquium from which we learned many things. In the meeting room were former colleagues such as Gilberto Naranjo, Fernando Clavijo, and Pili Sálamo who began working at Izaña in the 1950’s and early 60’s. Having several generations of Izaña people together was enormously gratifying and exciting. We also had the pleasure of welcoming colleagues from the AEMET Delegation in the Canary Islands, specifically the Las Palmas Centre, who made the effort to come to Izaña on personal initiative. Thanks, colleagues!


Photo of the attendees to the internal meeting of Izaña on December 2nd, 2016. Past and present together.

Later we made an informal visit to the facilities where there were constant references to the past, and comparisons with the present. We believe that our retired colleagues were pleasantly surprised to find that we had tried to preserve, with great affection, tools, equipment, objects, and documents with which they worked. Respect our history and the work of our elders has been a constant at the Izaña Observatory. The meeting also served to set a date in January 2017 to meet each other and gather firsthand information on instruments and activities from past decades from which, unfortunately, there is little written information.

We missed many of Izaña’s former colleagues who currently work in different AEMET centres in Santander, Valladolid, Madrid, Alicante, Valencia, Almería, Málaga, and Tenerife. Nacho Abad (Alicante airport meteorological office) sent us a beautiful drawing and an exciting poem about Izaña that are exposed in the dining room of the Observatory along with fond memories and photos of the staff.


Emilio Cuevas showing the Nacho Abad’s drawing and poem

dedicated to Izaña

Of course, we also had time to show the new projects and instruments that we currently manage, and make a toast all together for a prosperous future.

In the official ceremony of the Centenary of Izaña on April 8, 2016 we had the opportunity to thank and acknowledge our former colleagues for their work in Izaña by delivering the following plaque to AEMET:


“In recognition of those who preceded us

Today’s successes are the result of past efforts”


The celebration of the Izaña’s centenary was held on December 2, 2016 was a humble ceremony, but undoubtedly it was the best tribute we could make to our Observatory, that carried out by its people.

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