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Vidal Llenas, Josep Maria

Valls 1913 - Barcelona 2019. Meteorologist, Physicist

He was born in Valls in 1913. He graduated in Physics and Chemistry at the University of Barcelona (1934) and received his Ph.D. in Physical Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid (1944), with a thesis on the electrical conductivity of air, directed by the Dr. Isidre Pòlit (Alella, 1880 – Barcelona, 1958).

During the Spanish Second Republic, in 1935, he was appointed assistant of Meteorology in Madrid, where he performed works on atmospheric electricity under the direction of Professor Arturo Duperier (Ávila, 1896 – Madrid, 1959). During the Civil War he worked at the Retiro Observatory in Madrid. In 1941 he was promoted to meteorologist and was assigned to Barcelona. In 1945 he became Chief of Meteorology of the Zaragoza Air Region, and Chief of the Aeronautics Section of the Central Meteorological Office in Madrid. We must remember that Meteorology was a competence of the Ministry of Air. When he died, he was the most veteran meteorologist in Catalonia and throughout Spain and was a benchmark in the sector at the state level.

He won the oppositions to the chair of Physical Mechanics and Thermology of the University of Granada in 1948 and became professor of Thermology at the University of Barcelona (UB) in 1949, from which he retired when he reached the regulatory age in 1983. At the University of Barcelona was vice-dean of the Faculty of Sciences between 1962 and 1969.

He was the author, “with the collaboration of Mercedes Potau de Vidal” his wife, of the Curso de física (Physics Course), which had many editions. With Dr. Gandia he was the author of the books Problemas de física (Problems of Physic, 1961) and Problemas de Mecánica y Termología (Problems of Mechanics and Thermology) and was a translator with Mercedes Potau of other works such as the Tratado de Física (Treaty of Physics) of Westphal. At the UB, he promoted the creation of an outstanding microcalorimetry research group. The year 1978 was designated to read the inaugural speech of the academic course 1978-79 of his university with the title La Ciencia del calor (The Science of the heat). He was also national president of the Thermodynamics Group of the Spanish Royal Society of Physics and Chemistry (1976-1978) and in 1976 he received the Grand Cross of the Civil Order of Alfonso, the Wise.

In 1961 he became an academic of the second section of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (RACAB). He entered reading the memory Consideraciones acerca del concepto de la temperatura (Considerations about the concept of temperature), Memorias de la Real Academia de Ciencias y Artes de Barcelona 3ª época, v. 33, n.º 17 (1961). He had a constant dedication in the RACAB and holds a record of attendance at his sessions. From 1984 to 1994 he was his vice president.

As a result of this activity in the RACAB, he published several memoirs and made the answers to the incoming speeches of new academics such as Miguel Azpíroz, Pedro Pascual and Miguel Puigcerver.

He died in Barcelona on May 6, 2019, about to turn 106 years old.


This biographical review has been prepared by Dr. Ramon Pascual de Sans, professor of theoretical physics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and former president of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona.

Image gallery

Meeting of University Professors of Spanish Universities of Physics, Santander 1957. From left to right (central image): 
Information provided by professors Carlos Sánchez del Río, Alberto Galindo Tixaire and Cristóbal Fernández Pineda. Right (vertical images): Conference. Josep, his daughter Rosa María, accompanied by Dr. Lorente and Dr. Barrachina (son) around 1988. Vidal Llenas, Josep Maria Celebrations of retirement in the Faculty. 12/06/1997. Celebrations of retirement in the Faculty. 05/06/1997. Made in Collbató, by his brother photographer Àngel Vidal. 1998. In the hallway of his house in Barcelona. 2002. Vidal Llenas, Josep Maria With the wife, Mercè Potau Gili, at home. 10/10/2003. In the garden of a son, in Cardedeu. 11/08/2006. In the garden of a granddaughter, in Cardedeu. 12/08/2006.	. World Meteorological Day 2013. 2 months before his 100th birthday, Mr. Conesa, director of AEMET in Barcelona, invited him to the event and was able to meet Dr. Puigcerver and Dr. Barrachina (both in the photo) and also with Dr. Lorente. AEMET tribute at 100, along with Josefina Ricard. Standing Mr. Antonio Conesa, director of AEMET-Barcelona. 17/05/2013. AEMET tribute at 100 years old. AEMET tribute at 100 years old. Dr. Vidal Llenas with Dr. Puigcerver Zanón. At home, celebration after 100 years. 18/05/2013. Vidal Llenas, Josep Maria