The physics Perla Wahnón Benarroch has just been elected president of the Confederation of Scientific Societies of Spain (Cosce), which groups 40,000 researchers, according to sources of the organization. She is the first woman who presides over the entity in its 17 years of history.
Wahnón (Melilla, 1949), quantum physicist specializing in the study of new electronic materials for high efficiency solar panels, is a professor at the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and directs the Quantum Calculations Research Group at the Solar Energy Institute of that university.
The scientist was chosen this afternoon by representatives of the 80 companies that are part of the Cosce. Wahnón takes over from the chemist Nazario Martín. The two previous presidents had been the mathematician Carlos Andradas, current rector of the Complutense University of Madrid, and the biochemist Joan Guinovart.
His four-year term will begin on June 6, when he is scheduled to take office. Wahnón will be one of the main interlocutors between the scientific community and the government that will leave the elections on April 28.
His predecessor assured a few days ago In an interview with EL PAÍS that most of the claims of the scientific community have not been met during this term. Among the Cosce's main demands is to increase the research funds by 6% per year for a decade and consolidate the State Research Agency to provide stability to the R & D & I system. "Pedro Duque has all the ingredients to be a good minister, but he has failed to prove it," said Martin in the interview, which also demanded that the next president of the government have a scientific adviser.
Graduated in 1974 in Chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Autonomous University of Madrid, where she received her doctorate in 1977, Wahnón has been linked to the Autonomous University of Madrid and then to the UPM, where she was also deputy director of research, doctorate and postgraduate from 1994 to 1998.
Wahnón investigates the use of a mineral known as perovskite to improve the efficiency of solar cells. Physics has proposed and patented a new class of semiconductor materials substituted with transition metals that present very high photon absorptions in the spectrum of sunlight, according to the UPM.