Google pays tribute to María de los Ángeles Alvariño González

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The latest Google Doodle celebrates the 105th birthday of oceanographer and plankton researcher María de los Ángeles Alvariño González.

Life of María de los Ángeles Alvariño González

María de los Ángeles Alvariño González – more commonly known as Ángeles Alvariño – was born on October 3, 1916 in Serantes, a small coastal town in northeastern Spain. From an early age, Alvariño developed an interest in science and especially zoology by reading books in his father’s library.

While attending the University of Madrid – having already graduated summa cum laude from the University of Santiago de Compostela – Alvariño’s formal education was interrupted some time after the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. With this period, she turned to learning English and French. , which will help him later to eliminate some language barriers in his studies abroad. After the war, she was able to complete her master’s degree and then teach subjects such as biology and zoology.

At the time, in Spain, women were not allowed to board Spanish Navy ships, a restriction that prevented Ángeles Alvariño from studying at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. However, in 1952, due to her impressive work as a teacher, she was specially appointed as a marine biologist. This allowed her to be the first woman to serve as a scientist aboard a Spanish exploration vessel. Her feat would be repeated a year later when Alvariño had the opportunity to study zooplankton as the first female scientist aboard a British ship.

Zooplankton, one of Ángeles Alvariño’s main areas of research throughout his career, is a wide array of often microscopic creatures that serve as food for larger sea creatures, and prior to the 1960s it was a subject rarely studied. Through his studies on the British ship, Alvariño was able to notice unhealthy changes in zooplankton species in parts of the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1956, Ángeles Alvariño moved to the United States at the invitation of the Fulbright Commission, to continue studying zooplankton. During his research in the United States, Alvariño discovered 22 new species of plankton and created a model of the distribution of the many species of plankton in the world’s oceans. Throughout this time, she continued to be a faculty member at universities in the United States, Mexico, and Brazil.

María de los Ángeles Alvariño González died on May 29, 2005 in San Diego, California. Among other posthumous honors, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography named a vessel “Ángeles Alvariño”, which was launched in 2012 by his daughter.

ngeles Alvariño Google Doodle

 María de los Ángeles Alvariño González

The Google Doodle designed in honor of María de los Ángeles Alvariño González features the biologist observing a few different species of zooplankton under a microscope. The microscope view serves as the second “o” in “Google”, while the illustration of Alvariño serves as the second “g”.

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