Brazilian science and technology

Brazilian science and technology

Brazilian science and technology have achieved a significant position in the international arena in the last decades.


Brazilian science effectively began in the first decades of the 19th century, when the Portuguese royal family, headed by D. João VI, arrived in Rio de Janeiro, escaping from the Napoleon's army invasion of Portugal in 1807. Like almost all territories and regions of the New World, Brazil was a Portuguese colony, without universities, and a few cultural and scientific organizations. The former American colonies of the Spanish Empire, although having a largely illiterate population like Brazil, Portugal and Spain, had, however, a number of universities since the 16th century. This may have been a deliberate policy of the Portuguese colonial power, because they feared that the appearance of educated Brazilian classes would boost nationalism and aspirations toward political independence, as it had happened in the USA and several Latin American former Spanish colonies. However, throughout the centuries of Portuguese rule, Brazilian students were allowed and even encouraged to enroll at higher education in mainland Portugal. In addition, mainland Portugal's population at the time was also largely illiterate and had for most of those period a single university - the University of Coimbra - which educated Portuguese people from all the Empire, including from the colony of Brazil.

The first firm attempts of having a Brazilian science establishment were made around 1783, with the expedition of Portuguese naturalist Alexandre Rodrigues Ferreira, who was sent by Portugal's prime minister, the Marquis of Pombal, to explore and identify Brazilian fauna, flora and geology. His collections, however, were lost to the French, when Napoleon invaded Portugal, and were transported to Paris by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire. In 1772, even before the establishment of the Science Academy of Lisbon (1779), one of the first learned societies of both Brazil and the Portuguese Empire was founded in Rio de Janeiro - it was the "Sociedade Scientifica", but lasted only until 1794. Also, in 1797, the first botanic institute was founded in Salvador, Bahia. During the late 18th century, the "Escola Politécnica" (then the "Real Academia de Artilharia, Fortificação e Desenho") of Rio de Janeiro was created in 1792 through a decree issued by the Portuguese authorities as an higher education school for the teaching of the sciences and engineering. It belongs today to the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and is the oldest engineering school of Brazil and one of the oldest in Latin America.

D. João VI gave impetus to all these accoutrements of European civilization to Brazil. In a short period (between 1808 and 1810, the government founded the Royal Naval Academy and the Royal Military Academy (both military schools), the Biblioteca Nacional, the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden, the Medico-Chirurgical School of Bahia, currently known as Faculdade de Medicina under harbour of Universidade Federal da Bahia and the Medico-Chirurgical School of Rio de Janeiro (Faculdade de Medicina of Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro).

Notable scientific expeditions organized by Brazilians were rare, the most significant one being that of Martim Francisco de Andrada e Silva and José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, in 1819.

The First Empire

After independence from Portugal, declared by the King's son in 1822, D. Pedro I (who became the new country's first Emperor), the policies concerning higher learning, science and technology in Brazil came to a relative standstill. In the first two decades of the century, science in Brazil was mostly carried out by temporary scientific expeditions by European naturalists, such as Charles Darwin, Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied, Carl von Martius, Johann Baptist von Spix, Alexander Humboldt, Augustin Saint-Hilaire, Baron Grigori Ivanovitch Langsdorff, Friedrich Sellow, Fritz Müller, Hermann von Ihering, Émil Goeldi and others. This science was mostly descriptive of the fantastic Brazilian biodiversity of its flora and fauna, and also its geology, geography and anthropology, and until the creation of the National Museum, the specimens were mostly removed to European institutions.

In the educational area, a number of higher education institutions were founded in the 19th century, but for decades to come, most Brazilian students, still studied at European universities, such as the ancient University of Coimbra, in Portugal.

The Second Empire

Things started to change after 1841, when the eldest son of D. Pedro I, Emperor D. Pedro II came to the throne when he was 15 years old. In the next 50 years, Brazil enjoyed a stable constitutional monarchy. D. Pedro II was an enlightened monarch who favored the arts, literature, science and technology and had extensive international contacts in these areas. The mainstay of Brazilian science and the seat of its first research laboratories was the National Museum ("Museu Nacional") in Rio de Janeiro, in existence until today. D. Pedro developed a strong personal interest and selected and invited many august European scientific personalities, such as von Ihering and Goeldi, to work in Brazil. He and his ministers, courtesans and senators often attended scientific conferences in the Museum. There, the first laboratory of physiology was founded in 1880, under João Baptista de Lacerda and Louis Couty. Unfortunately, the creation of research universities and institutes would only occur on the beginning of the 20th century - a long delay for the education, science and technology in Brazil.


Brazil has today a well developed organization of science and technology.

Basic research is largely carried out in public universities and research centers and institutes, and some in private institutions, particularly in non-profit non-governmental organizations. Thanks to governmental regulations and incentives, however, since the 1990s is has been growing in the private universities and companies, as well. Accordingly, more than 90% of funding for basic research comes from governmental sources.

Applied research, technology and engineering is also largely carried out in the university and research centers system, contrary-wise to more developed countries such as the United States, South Korea, Germany, Japan, etc. The reasons for these are many, but the main ones are:
* Few Brazilian private companies are competitive or rich enough to have their own R&D&I, they usually develop products by outsourcing from other companies, usually foreign ones;
* The high-technology private sector in Brazil is dominated by large multinational companies, which usually have their R&D&I centers overseas, and, with a few exceptions, do not invest in their Brazilian branches.However, there is a significant trend reversing this now. Companies such as Motorola, Samsung, Nokia and IBM have established large R&D&I centers in Brazil, starting with IBM, which had established an IBM Research Center in Brazil since the 1970s. One of the incentive factors for this, besides the relatively lower cost and high sophistication and skills of Brazilian technical manpower, has been the so-called Informatics Law, which exempts from certain taxes up to 5% of the gross revenue of high technology manufacturing companies in the fields of telecommunications, computers, digital electronics, etc. The Law has attracted annually more than 1,5 billion dollars of investment in Brazilian R&D&I. Multinational companies have also discovered that some products and technologies designed and developed by Brazilians have a nice competitivity and are appreciated by other countries, such as automobiles, aircraft, software, fiber optics, electric appliances, and so on.

During the 1980s, Brazil pursued a policy of protectionism in computing.Companies and administrations were required to use Brazilian software and hardware, with imports subject to governmental authorization.This encouraged the growth of Brazilian companies but, in spite of their development of products like MSX clones and SOX Unix, the Brazilian consumers of computing were suffering of lesser offer comparing to foreign competitors.The government little by little authorized more and more imports until the barriers were removed.Brazil's IT industry has achieved some remarkable feats, particularly in the area of software. In 2002, Brazil staged the world's first 100% electronic election with over 90% of results in within 2 hours. The system is particularly suited to a country with relatively high illiteracy rates since it flashes up a photograph of the candidate before a vote is confirmed. Citizens could download a desktop module that relayed the votes to their homes in realtime faster than the news networks could get them out.In 2005, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva launched a "people's computer" to foster digital inclusion, with government finance available and a fixed minimum configuration. Having rejected the Microsoft operating system (Windows XP Starter Edition), it is being shipped with a Brazilian-configured Linux system offering basic functions such as word processing and internet browsing. Plans to make cheap internet access available have not yet come to fruition.


Brazilian funding for research, development and innovation comes from six main sources:
# Government (federal, state and municipal) sources. There are a number of state organizations which were created mostly in the 1950s specifically for directly promoting and funding R&D&I, such as the National Research Council (CNPq), which is now named "Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico" and the National Agency for Financing Studies and Researches (FINEP), both a part of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT). MCT is a relatively novel ministry, having being created in 1990. Before this, CNPq was the only research granting institution at federal level, working directly under the Presidency of Republic. At state level, almost all states have founded their own public foundations for support of R&D&I, following the pioneering (and highly successful) example of São Paulo state, which created the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) in 1962. Usually these foundations are guaranteed by changes in the state constitutions, along the 1980s and 1990s.
# Indirect funding through the budgets of public and private universities, institutes and centers. Some universities, such as UNICAMP, have their own internal agencies, foundations and funds set apart and managed with the purpose of supporting R&D&I by their faculties and students.
# Public companies, such as Embrapa (Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research). Their source of revenue is the government itself (via budgetary allocations by ministries and state secretaries) and investment of a part of products and services sold.
# Industrial, commercial and services private companies, usually for their own R&D&I centers, or via some fiscal benefit (tax exemption laws), such as the Informatics Law.
# National private and non-for-profit associations and foundations, via statutory mechanisms or donations by private individuals or companies. An example is the Banco do Brasil Foundation
# Funding by other nations, international organizations and multilateral institutions, such as Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Inter-American Development Bank, World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, World Health Organization, World Wildlife Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, US National Science Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation, just to name a few of the more important ones in the history of Brazilian science and technology.


* 1916: Creation of the Brazilian Society of Sciences, today Brazilian Academy of Sciences ( [ ABC] )
* 1917: Beginning of the publication of the "Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências"
* 1920: Foundation of the University of Brazil, current Federal University of Rio de Janeiro ( [ UFRJ] )
* 1923: Creation of the Brazilian Society of Chemistry (SBCh)
* 1923: Foundation of the Radio Society of Rio de Janeiro, the first radio broadcasting station still working under the name [ Rádio MEC] in Rio de Janeiro
* 1924: Creation of the Brazilian Association of Education
* 1925: Institution of the Einstein Prize, in reason of his visit to Brazil
* 1930: Creation of the National Institute of Weights and Standards, today National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality ( [ Inmetro] )
* 1934: Creation of the University of São Paulo ( [ USP] )
* 1948: Creation of the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science ( [ SBPC] )
* 1949: Creation of the Brazilian Center for Physics Research ( [ CBPF] )
* 1951: Creation of the National Research Council ( [ CNPq] )
* 1952: Creation of the National Institute for Amazon Research ( [ INPA] )
* 1953: Foundation of the Brazilian General Command for Aerospace Technology ( [ CTA] )
* 1956: Creation of the National Commission of Nuclear Energy ( [ CNEN] )
* 1961: Creation of the National Institute for Space Research ( [ INPE] )
* 1962: Creation of the São Paulo State Foundation for Research Support ( [ FAPESP] )
* 1962: Creation of the State University of Campinas ( [ UNICAMP] )
* 1967: Creation of National Agency for Financing Research and Projects ( [ FINEP] )

Important universities

Public universities, institutes and colleges

* IME - Instituto Militar de Engenharia (Military Institute of Engineering)
* ITA - Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (Aeronautics Technological Institute)
* UECE - Universidade Estadual do Ceará (State University of Ceará)
* UERJ - Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (State University of Rio de Janeiro)
* UFBA - Universidade Federal da Bahia (Federal University of Bahia)
* UFCE - Universidade Federal do Ceará (Federal University of Ceará)
* UFCG - Universidade Federal de Campina Grande (Federal University of Campina Grande)
* UFES - Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Federal University of Espírito Santo)
* UFF - Universidade Federal Fluminense (Federal University Fluminense)
* UFG - Universidade Federal de Goiás (Federal University of Goiás)
* UEG - Universidade Estadual de Goiás (State University of Goiás)
* UFMG - Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Federal University of Minas Gerais)
* UFPA - Universidade Federal do Pará (Federal University of Pará)
* UFPE - Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Federal University of Pernambuco)
* UFPR - Universidade Federal do Paraná (Federal University of Paraná)
* UFRGS - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul)
* UFRJ - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)
* UFRN - Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte)
* UFSCAR - Universidade Federal de São Carlos (Federal University of São Carlos)
* UFSC - Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (Federal University of Santa Catarina)
* UFSM - Universidade Federal de Santa Maria (Federal University of Santa Maria)
* UFV - Universidade Federal de Viçosa (Federal University of Viçosa)
* UnB - Universidade de Brasília (University of Brasília)
* UNESP - Universidade Estadual Paulista (São Paulo State University)
* UNICAMP - Universidade Estadual de Campinas (State University of Campinas)
* UNIFEI - Universidade Federal de Itajubá (Federal University of Itajubá)
* UNIFESP - Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Federal University of São Paulo)
* UNITAU - Universidade de Taubaté (University of Taubaté)
* USP - Universidade de São Paulo (University of São Paulo)

Private universities

* PUC-PR - Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná (Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná)
* PUC-SP - Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo)
* PUCCamp - Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas (Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas)
* PUC-RJ - Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)
* UCB - Universidade Católica de Brasília - (Catholic University of Brasília)
*UCG - Universidade Católica de Goiás - (Catholic University of Goiás)
* PUC-MG - Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais)
* PUC-RS - Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul)
* ULBRA - Universidade Luterana do Brasil (Lutheran University of Brazil)
* Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (Mackenzie Presbyterian University)
* UNIFOR - Universidade de Fortaleza (University of Fortaleza)
* Centro Universitário da FEI (Industrial Engineering College)
* FAAP - Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, São Paulo, São Paulo

Research and development institutes

* Instituto Butantan - São Paulo
* Eldorado Institute - Campinas
* Instituto Oswaldo Cruz - Rio de Janeiro
* Instituto Adolfo Lutz - São Paulo
* Instituto Agronômico de Campinas - Campinas
* Edumed Institute for Education in Medicine and Health - Campinas
* Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi - Belém
* Centro de Pesquisas Renato Archer - Campinas
* Centro de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento em Telecomunicações - Campinas
* INPE - Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - São José dos Campos
* Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas do Estado de São Paulo - IPT - São Paulo
* Brazilian General Command for Aerospace Technology (CTA) - São José dos Campos
* Instituto de Pesquisas em Energia Nuclear - São Paulo
* Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron - Campinas
* Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária - Brasília
* Instituto de Pesquisas da Amazônia - Manaus
* Instituto Evandro Chagas - Belém
* Instituto Atlântico - Fortaleza
* Resende Nuclear Fuel Factory - Rezende
* Comandante Ferraz Brazilian Antarctic Base - Antarctica

cientific societies

* Brazilian Academy of Sciences
* Brazilian Society for Health Informatics
* Academia Nacional de Medicina
* Brazilian Computer Society
* Federação das Sociedades de Biologia Experimental
* Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência
* Brazilian Telecommunications Society
* Brazilian Power Electronics Society - SOBRAEP

Important Brazilian scientists and technologists

* Alberto Santos-Dumont - engineer
* Aziz Ab'Saber - geographer
* Bartolomeu de Gusmão (1685 - 1724), priest and naturalist, recalled for his early work on lighter-than-air airship design
* Carlos Chagas - physician, discoverer of the Chagas disease
* César Lattes - physicist, codiscoverer of the pion (pi-meson)
* Eduardo Krieger - physician and physiologist, president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences
* Fritz Köberle - physician and pathologist, discoverer of the neural mechanism of the Chagas disease
* Ivan Izquierdo - pharmacologist
* Jacob Palis - mathematician
* Jayme Tiomno - physicist
* José Humberto Sobral - atmosferic and space science researcher
* José Leite Lopes - physicist
* José Reis - virologist
* Marcelo Damy de Souza Santos - physicist
* Mário Schenberg - astrophysicist
* Maurício Rocha e Silva - physician and pharmacologist, codiscoverer of bradykinin
* Miguel Rolando Covian - physician and physiologist, father of Brazilian neurophysiology
* Milton Santos - geographer
* Newton da Costa - mathematician
* Oscar Sala - nuclear physicist
* Oswaldo Cruz - physician and epidemiologist
* Paulo Freire - educator
* Renato Sabbatini - one of the founders of medical informatics in Brazil
* Roberto Salmeron - nuclear physicist
* Sérgio Henrique Ferreira - physician and pharmacologist
* Vital Brazil - physician and immunologist, discoverer of snake antivenoms
* Warwick Estevam Kerr - biologist and geneticist

External links

* [ The Museu Nacional and its European employees] . Jens Andermann
* [ The Museu Nacional at Rio de Janeiro] . Jens Andermann
* [ The Brazilian Centre of Physical Research] .

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