Francisco J. Ayala passes away

Honorary Doctorate from Comillas and honorary president of one of our Chairs

Francisco J. Ayala

Francisco J. Ayala during his visit to Comillas to receive his Honorary Doctorate

8 March 2023

The eminent scientist Francisco José Ayala, Honorary Doctorate from Comillas and honorary president of the Chair Hana and Francisco José Ayala in Science, Technology and Religion, passed away last Wednesday in California.

 Ayala was a lecturer and a researcher at the University of California (Irvine) and one of the world’s most eminent scientists in the Theory of Evolution field. He was considered more than a biologist, as his concern and passion for experimental sciences got together with an integral and humanistic vision of the human being and the world. His trajectory was rewarded with the National Medal of Science of the United States (2002), the Templeton Prize (2010) and 24 Honorary Doctorates from different universities.

As was pointed out in the laudatio of his investiture at Comillas, this scientist contributed brilliantly to encourage dialogue between science, technology and religion. "For Ayala, science and religion are like two windows open to the same reality. And that is why the Theory of Evolution is not the enemy of religion, but a gift that allows us to better understand human beings, the world and, ultimately, God", said at that time the lecturer of the Faculty of Theology José Manuel Caamaño.

At his almost 89 years old, Ayala was still an internationally renowned scientist. Last autumn, he was included in the 2% of the most influential researchers globally, as it said the ranking published by researchers from the University of Stanford, which has a standardized database that allows researchers to be sorted according to different citation indicators and classified by scientific area.

Less than a year ago, his wife Hana Ayala, achieved the presidency of the renowned Chair Hana and Francisco José Ayala in Science, Technology and Religion. On the presentation, the rector of Comillas, Enrique Sanz, SJ, stressed the scientific category of both Hana Ayala and Francisco J. Ayala and the importance of their participation in the field of research "for being able to share the wisdom that they and the university treasure".

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