Juan Ignacio Molina (1740-1829), born next to Talca, Chile, and dead in Bologna, Italy, is the first Chilean scientist. His education in establishments of the society of Jesus, in several localities of central Chile, allowed him to learn about its geography, flora, fauna, and population. At 15 years old he entered the society. In 1767, he left Chile when the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish territories. In Bologna he produced his scientific contribution. Molina published in 1776 the first of his books, Compendio della storia geográfica, naturale, e civile del regno del Chile. In this one and the others, Molina treated different topics as climatology, botany, geology, zoology, mineralogy, and physical geography. He described his impressions on the Concepción earthquake, the eruptions of the Villarrica and Peteroa volcanoes, and made detailed descriptions of minerals and ore deposits. He differentiated four major lithostratigraphic units. In his descriptions of plants and animals he followed the classification of Linneus. He wrote 14 scientific memoirs. In Analogie meno osservate dei tre regni della Natura, he supports the idea of a gradual transition between all "beings" in the three kingdoms of nature, however, in it he makes no proposition that can be qualified as evolutionary. In Sulla propagazjone sucesiva del genere umano he suggests three sources for the population in America. In 1802, he entered the Bolognese Academy of sciences.
|Translated title of the contribution||Abbot Juan Ignacio Molina: A life devoted to the natural and civil history of Chile|
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||Revista de la Asociacion Geologica Argentina|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2011|
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