History

Spanish Navy Physics and Mathematics School

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Academy Cádiz
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Academy Cádiz
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Steam Urania
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Almanac 1792
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Maritime atlas
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Naval college
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School of Top Studies
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School of Top Studies
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Jorge Juan
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Royal Observatory of the Navy
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Tofiño

In agreement with Navy Regulations in force in 1748, those midshipmen who showed special ability for the most difficult and abstract mathematical sciences were assigned to this School.

The distinguished naval officer Jorge Juan, then captain of the Midshipmen’s Company, encouraged the study of mathematics of future commanding officers. He was also the promoter of the Observatory of the Spanish Navy.

In the last decades of the 18th century the Observatory was an institution of reference in the Age of the Enlightenment. Many naval officers that attended the School had a very active and salient participation in important scientific projects like the Maritime Atlas of Spain, the first Nautical Almanac and the intercontinental enlightened scientific expeditions at the end of that century.

Soon afterwards, however, and due to the difficult moments in the aftermath of the Peninsular War and the reign of King Ferdinand VII, a deep financial and intellectual crisis prevented the Navy from furthering the important scientific research activities commenced in the previous century.

The School as such was founded in 1836 under the reign of Regent Queen María Cristina. The founding Royal Decree established the Chair of Advanced Studies in Mathematics for no more than 16 students at a time. The four-year course contemplated the following subjects: algebra, analytic geometry, geodesics, differential and integral calculus, mechanics, hydraulics, optics, astronomy and nautical astronomy. In 1856, the Royal Observatory established an exclusive Advanced Course for Spanish Navy officers on pure mathematics, mechanics, physics and astronomy.

Many notable naval officers that studied in the School were later posted to important scientific-related assignments like the Hydrographic Institute, the Royal Observatory, scientific expeditions and several faculty and Academy staffs.

After different vicissitudes and venue changes the School, along with the hydrographic associated departments, finally settled in the Royal Observatory.

    

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