679 252 083 josep.duran@udg.edu

P1: Torre dels Predicadors (Tower of the Preachers)

First stop

Torre dels Predicadors (Tower of the Preachers)

From this place raised high up in the city of Girona, we can see far and wide, even to the neighboring villages. Human settlements have often sprung up near rivers. Girona is no exception, as four rivers flow through the city: the Ter, Onyar, Güell and Galligants. From this perspective, we can see one and imagine the others.
From this tower, we can locate the four factories mentioned in the introduction which have disappeared: the Pagans factory (it would have been to the right of Sant Josep church, on Emili Grahit street), Els químics (“the Chemists”), of which the chimney remains, next to the warehouse near the Palau Sacosta sports pavilion, the Grober factory, and the Gerundense factory, both near the Mercadal church.

In addition to the factories that have been demolished, from here you can see two more factories that are still in operation: the Nestlé factory in Sant Gregori and the Torraspapel factory in Sarrià de Ter.

Often chemistry goes unnoticed, because it takes place on a very small scale, invisible to us: the nanoscopic scale. This name refers to the scale of the nanometer (1/10^9 m), which is used to measure the small particles that matter is composed of, called atoms.
Throughout history there have been different theories to explain atoms. One of the easiest to understand is the atomic theory of Bohr. According to this theory, the atom is like a small solar system with a nucleus that contains protons and neutrons in the center and electrons moving around the nucleus in well-defined orbits.

The most accepted theory at the moment is that of Schrödinger, which states that the electron, rather than a planet in a solar system, as suggested by Bohr, looks like a wave.

This is a good spot to get an idea of how big an atom is and the relative sizes of its components. If we compare the hydrogen atom, which is the simplest (since it only has one proton in the nucleus and one electron), with where we are, and if the nucleus were a sphere the diameter of the tower, the electron would be the size of a lentil, and would be spinning around at an approximate distance of 500 km.

Did you know?

Many artists have followed scientific discoveries with great interest and included them in their work. For example, Salvador Dalí was interested in a variety of topics; one of them was science. Throughout his life, certain scientific subjects left quite an impression on him, and some of his paintings show this. For example, during the 1930s he was interested in optical illusions and painted double images, which were repeated often in his work.

In the 1940s, he was interested in Planck’s quantum theory. In the 1950s, he began his corpuscular paintings, which were influenced by atomic theories. Between the 60s and 70s, he was interested in genetics, specifically in the structure of DNA, and also in lasers, which led him to create his first exhibition of holograms and stereo paintings. Finally, in the the 80s, he focused on mathematician René Thom’s catastrophe theory.