Antonio González González

PhD in Chemistry and Professor of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of La Laguna, was born in El Sol Street -one of the streets where a huge firework show takes place each year as part of the celebrations of the Feast of the Holy Cross- in Los Realejos in 1917.

He made some important breakthroughs in the field of Bioorganic Chemistry, by developing new research directions for other scientists. His most relevant works dealt with the structures of new bioactive organic products, obtained from plants and marine organisms. His research on biogenetical stereo-selective synthesis was also highly praised.

In 1949, the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas [the Spanish Higher Council for Scientific Research] created an Organic Chemistry department at the University of La Laguna and Antonio González was appointed its director. During the following two years, he collaborated with Professor Sir Alexander Todd in his Organic Chemistry Laboratory at Cambridge University. Upon returning to La Laguna, he was appointed dean of the Science College, a position he held until 1957.

In 1963, he founded the Instituto de Investigaciones Químicas [the Institute for Chemistry Research], supported by the Cabildo Insular de Tenerife [the island’s local government]. The name of this research centre was later changed to Instituto de Productos Naturales Orgánicos (IPNO) [Institute of Natural Organic Products] and it’s currently known as Instituto Universitario de Bio-Orgánica Antonio González (IUBO-AG) [Antonio González’s University Institute of Bio-Organics], following the evolution of his research. That same year, he was appointed rector of the University of La Laguna, a position he held until 1968. In 1971, he was given the First Chemistry Programme by the Juan March Foundation.

He was a member of the Royal Academy of Exact Sciences, Physics, Chemistry and Natural Sciences. In addition, the University of Chile conferred him an Honorary Doctorate and the University of San Marcos -in Peru- and the University of Asunción –in Paraguay- appointed him Honorary Professor.

Among others, he was awarded the Spanish Grand Cross of the Order of Alphonso X the Wise, the Grand Cross of Civil Merit, the Grand Officer Order of Bernardo O’Higgins –awarded by the Chilean president-, and the Gold Medals of the Spanish Royal Society of Physics and Chemistry (1968), of the Town Hall of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, of the University of La Laguna, of the Island’s Local Government and of the Cambridge Biographical Centre. The University of La Laguna also honoured him with the title of Honorary Rector in 1976.

In 1986, he was awarded the Primer Premio Canarias [Canary Award] under the category of ‘Research’, created by the Canarian Government, and also the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, as a recognition of the dedication and the intense work he developed in the field of natural products chemistry throughout his life.

He continued working until he died on October 11th 2002, when he was about to be 85.