Santiago Ramón Y Cajal

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Santiago Ramón y Cajal was born in a poverty-stricken, isolated village in Navarre, Spain. He was the son of Justo Ramón y Cassús, a struggling barber/surgeon who acquired a medical degree from the University of Zaragoza. His father eventually became a country doctor and wanted his son to study medicine, but the young Santiago was more interested in art and while at school, showed contempt for both his teachers as well as the whole educational process. In 1873 he joined the army medical service and in the following year was sent to Cuba as a regimental surgeon. He contracted malaria and within twelve months had to be discharged from the service and was sent back to Spain. He received his doctorate from the University of Madrid in 1877, and became professor of anatomy the same year. It was at this time he began the histological studies that made him famous. He married Silveria Fanañás in 1880; together they had four sons and four daughters. Ramón y Cajal, trained to become a highly competent microscopist and histologist. His first finding of a nerve cell, found with a Verick microscope, was published in The Catholic Daily in Zaragoza. In 1884 he was appointed the chair of comparative anatomy at Valencia, in 1887 he was appointed to the chair of normal and pathological histology at Barcelona and, in 1892, to the chair of histology and pathological anatomy at Madrid, a position he held until his retirement in 1922. Cajal was the recipient of many prizes, honorary degrees, and distinctions, both Spanish and foreign. In 1906 he shared the Nobel prize for physiology or medicine with Camillo Golgi, and in 1909 he was elected a foreign member of the Royal

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