Last Tuesday, October 31, the 4th episode of Órbita Laika dedicated to the Malaspina scientific expedition was broadcast on La 2. Órbita Laika is an award-winning scientific communication TV series for all audiences with more than 100 episodes.

It has been a luxury and a true pleasure to participate as a guest on this program to talk about the contribution of scientific illustration in this journey that can be compared to the expeditions of Cook, La Pérouse and Humboldt.

The Malaspina expedition was a Spanish scientific expedition that took place between 1789 and 1794. The expedition, led by Alejandro Malaspina and José de Bustamante y Guerra, aimed to explore the known world, to carry out scientific studies and establish commercial relations with other countries.

The scientists who participated in the expedition made important discoveries in the areas of botany, zoology, cartography, geology, meteorology… the program has included several experts in different areas of science, such as the geologist Nahúm Méndez, the geneticist Helena González, the meteorologist José Miguel Viñas or Marta Montilla who told us about maps and cartography, to give us a small idea of how fascinating this journey was.

Very well accompanied by Eduardo Jaénz de Cabezón @edusadeci and by Captain Malaspina himself (represented by the brilliant Ricardo Moure @MoureOrtega) who, as you will see, is not a very good painter… I was able to contribute my little bit by talking about the methodology of scientific illustration.

The scientific painters and illustrators on board, such as José del Pozo and José Guio among others, played a fundamental role in the Malaspina expedition, helping the scientists document what they found along the journey.

Through direct observation, recording measurements, colors and surroundings, the painters of the expedition contributed their artistic skills to rigorously represent animals, plants and distant cultures. Returning to Spain, these images were a valuable source of information for scientists of the time.

It has been a great privilege to be able to accompany our talk with some of my scientific illustrations and field notebooks. We take this opportunity to highlight the importance of scientific illustration and infographics, at that time and also today, to record the archetype of species or document non-figurative scientific processes and concepts (such as photosynthesis or the migration of birds… ).

The scientific expeditions of the 18th century were trips that highlighted the synergy between Science and Art, which today continues to be essential for the communication of human knowledge.

Don’t miss this fascinating episode!!