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San­ti­ago Ramón y Ca­jal

(1852 – 1934) If you’re any­thing like me, the name Ramón y Ca­jal will be fa­mil­iar be­cause it is one of the most com­mon street names in Spain, after ‘Calle Mayor’. In fact, San­ti­ago Ramón y Ca­jal was a pi­o­neer mi­cro­bi­ol­o­gist who won the No­bel Prize for medicine.

San­ti­ago was the son of an em­i­nent sur­geon in the re­gion of Aragón. As a child, he was ex­tremely badly be­haved and was al­ways get­ting into trou­ble. He was a dread­ful stu­dent who de­tested the rote-learn­ing of his school years and con­stantly re­belled against au­thor­ity. His one great tal­ent was draw­ing. In an at­tempt to calm him down his fa­ther de­cided to ap­pren­tice him to a cob­bler. How­ever, he sub­se­quently at­tended med­i­cal school in Zaragoza and qual­i­fied at the age of 21.

San­ti­ago joined the army as a med­i­cal of­fi­cer and was sent to the Span­ish colony of Cuba, where he con­tracted tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and malaria. On his re­turn to Spain and even­tual re­cov­ery, he com­pleted his doc­tor­ate stud­ies at the age of 25.

This marked the be­gin­ning of an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer as a med­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tor of in­ter­na­tional im­por­tance. His most im­por­tant work came to fruition in 1888 when he dis­cov­ered the mech­a­nisms that gov­ern the con­nec­tive pro­cesses of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal ner­vous sys­tem. His texts and draw­ings are still used for med­i­cal stu­dents to this day.

In 1906, San­ti­ago won the No­bel Prize for Phys­i­ol­ogy and Medicine. The story goes that he was wo­ken up one morn­ing and shown a tele­gram from Swe­den giv­ing him the news. He com­mented, “This is a joke of the stu­dents” and calmly went back to sleep, only re­al­iz­ing the truth when he later read it in the news­pa­per.

So now you know why so many streets are called Ramón y Ca­jal. He was a very im­por­tant man in­deed. 1. PRESENT (6) 4. COLEGIO (6) 5. TO SPEND (6) 6. HORSE (7) 7. KINGS (5) 9. COS­TUME (7) 11. MONEDERO (SEÑORA) (5) 14. CAMELLO (5) 15. NIÑO (5) 16. SAV­INGS (7) 17. CHOLLO (7) 2. 3. 5. 8. 10. 12. 13. 14. LAD­DER (8) CARTERA (6) THANK-YOU (7) SONRISA (5) REBAJAS (5) SACK (4) FASH­ION (4) CORONA (5)

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