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Guillermo Colom Casanovas, 1900 - 1993

Guillermo Colom was born in Sóller (Mallorca, Spain) on August 10, 1900 and died on August 25, 1993 in his home town. He is considered to be the father of Spanish micropaleontology.

In 1926 and 1927, Colom led a series of special courses at the universities of Paris and Strasbourg. However, for most of his scientific career, Colom lived and worked independently of any scientific institution in Spain or internationally.

His first scientific research appeared in 1926 in Bulletin of the Royal Spanish Society of Natural History as a brief, five-page note on the Amphistegina, Miogypsina and Lepidocyclina of Burdigaliense de Mallorca. This was the first of his more than two hundred scientific works in micropalaeontology, chronostratigraphy and the taxonomy of foraminifera and Calpionélidos. His studies were published in specialized national and international publications including the Micropaleontology, in the U.S., the French publication Revue de Micropaléontología and the Spanish Revista Española de Micropaleontología.

Although most of his work is scientific monographs on micropaleontology, he also wrote more general texts, such as the classic introductory text Microforaminíferos fósiles (1946), Biogeografía de las Baleares, La formación de las Islas y el origen de su flora y de su fauna (which had two editions: 1957 and 1978), El medio y la vida en las Baleares (1964), The Natural Sciences of the Balearic Islands, Historia de sus progresos (1991), etc.

In 1950, Colom became a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Madrid, and, four years later, the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences in Barcelona. Colom was also a member of the Société Géologique de France (1966) and other national and foreign institutions. In 1976 he received an honorary doctorate by the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

The Balearic Museum of Natural Science, located in Sóller, houses his extensive collection comprised of some 20,000 scientific micropaleontological preparations (mostly foraminifers of the Balearic Islands), an extensive library on this and other aspects of geology and natural history and about 5,000 letters he received from the main micropaleontologists of his time. Additionally, in his native land, the building of the faculty building of the University of the Balearic Islands is named after him.




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