A book and an exhibition offer a detailed look at the life of Jordi Sabater PiIn Barcelona, the naturalist Jordi Sabater Pi (1922-2009) is linked to the discovery of Nfumu the gorilla, better known as Floquet de Neu, a city icon for many years. Yet on an international scale, the naturalist enjoys widespread recognition as one of the most respected primatologists in the world. The book ‘Jordi Sabater Pi. L’últim naturalista’ looks at his adventurous and intellectual life.
Written by the author and scientist Toni Pou, Jordi Sabater Pi. L’últim naturalista is the result of pioneering research that reveals details about the history of Barcelona and its zoo, based on letters received and sent by Sabater during the nearly 30 years he spent living in Africa. Sabater Pi managed to revolutionise some aspects of human knowledge and stood out for his scientific study of gorillas and chimpanzees, to the point of reformulating the concept of humanity that reigned in academic circles. His career was forged through curiosity and tenacity, a respect for nature, a passion for knowledge, an iron will and a romantic taste for scientific exploration akin to 19th century naturalists such as Humboldt and Darwin, who he considered himself as heir to.
Coinciding with the book presentation, a travelling exhibition entitled “Maa-Yiem, l’extraordinària història de Jordi Sabater Pi”, takes an in-depth look at the figure of the renowned Catalan primatologist, linked to Barcelona Zoo, and his scientific research in Africa. The display is on in the Zoo’s 120th anniversary classroom, inside the Aviary, until 12 September. Opening times coincide with those of the Zoo. The exhibition will then make its way around various municipal facilities.
Recognised scientific career
Sabater’s scientific career has been widely recognised with honorary doctorates from the Autonomous University of Madrid in 1993 and the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 1997. He received the Pi i Sunyer Medal from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Barcelona in 1997, the Catalan Research and Innovation Foundation Award in 1991, and the Gold Medal for Scientific Merit from Barcelona City Council in 1997. In the year 2000, the Government of Catalonia awarded him the Cross of Sant Jordi, and in 2005, the Narcís Monturiol Medal for Scientific Merit. He was also twice nominated for the Kyoto Awards, equivalent to the Nobel Prizes and won by researchers such as Jane Goodall and Sydney Brenner, artists such as Akira Kurosawa and John Cage, and thinkers such as Karl Popper and Noam Chomsky.