6(4)

THE BELGIAN COMMITTEE
FOR THE HISTORY OF SCIENCES

During its session of May 27, 1983, at the Palais des Académies in Brussels, the Belgian Committee for the History of Sciences on
the occasion of its 50th anniversary, pied tribute to the memory of its former eight presidents. The actuel president is Professor A.G. Velghe of
the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and honorary director of the Royal
Observatory of Belgium.

It is now fifty years since the Committee was founded, June 10,
1933 with the aim of contributing to the advancement of the history of
science in Belgium and of insuring an official contact with the Académie
internationale d’histoire des sciences. It has taken, within the Académie
royale de Belgique, six preliminary meetings - began in December 16,
1932 - before a definite agreement was reached.

On July 1, 1933 and during the Committee’s first session a statute
was adopted. This statute will remain unchanged until January 25, 1957
when the Committee decided to have a leagal entity by creating a non-
profit-making association. As a matter of fact the new statute - which
appeared in February 2, 1957, in the Moniteur belge - did not in any way
modify the original principles agreed upon by the founders of the Committee.

The eight presidents preceded Professor Velghe were :

  1. Joseph Bidez (1867-1945) was professor at the Université de L’Etat à Gand, member of the Académie royale de Belgique, and founder of the Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire. A hellenist who particularly studed Greek philosophy and history of alchemy.
  2. Auguste Lameere (1865-1942) was a zoologist, professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles and member of the Académie royale de Belgique. His contribution to the history of science is related mainly to the origin of evolutionism and Darwin’s works.
  3. Paul Ver Eecke (1867-1959), an engineer from the Ecole des Mines de Liège who, beside his career as a civil servant at the Administration du Travail, undertook the translation of important Greek mathematical texts.
  4. Canon Adolphe Rome (1889-1971), was professor at the Université catholique de Louvain, a member of the Académie royale de Belgique and a responsable for the review L’Antiquité Classique. He contributed especially to the field of the history of Greek mathematics and astronomy.
  5. Marcel Florkin (1900-1979) was professor at the Université de l’Etat à Liège. Beside his important activities as a biochemist, he wrote several works on the history of biochemistry and medecine.
  6. Joseph Mogenet (1913-1980) was professor at the Université catholique de Louvain. He particularly studied the relationship between Arabic and Byzantine astronomy.
  7. Jan Gillis (1893-1978), a chemist who was the rector of the Rijksuniversiteit Gent and member of the Koninklijke Academie van België. He contributed especially to the history of chemistry in the nineteenth century.
  8. Paul Brien (1894-1975) was a zoologist, professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles and member of the Académie royale de Belgique. His work in the history of science is related to Lamarck and Darwin.

The Belgian Committee for the History of Sciences is particularly
responsible for awarding the Prix d’histoire des sciences Docteur Frans
Jonckheere
, which was founded by the parents of Docteur Jonckheere
in memory of their son. This triennial prize was intended to reward Belgian authors for works, manuscripts of published and in French or Dutch,
which contribute to the advancement of the history of science (history
of medicine is excluded).

The list of the names of the forty members of the Belgian Committee for the History of Sciences was published in Technologia (1982 ;
5 (2) : 19-20).



















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