Curator #73: Carles Noguera

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Born in 1978 in Catalonia. I was raised in Calella (Maresme), a sea-side town half way between Barcelona and Girona always packed with European tourists during summer. Most of them used to come for the cheap and loud beach-party-sun-disco-alcohol kind of fun my town specialized on, so it was only natural for me to seek refuge and quiet at home at the family library or escape to nature with the boy scouts. In 1996 I started my daily commuting to Barcelona to follow my university studies, which earned me degrees on Mathematics and Philosophy and, eventually, a PhD on Logic.

I realized that studying and teaching would probably always be my strongest suit and indeed enjoyed the idea of becoming a scientific researcher. I cannot even be quite sure when my fascination for the abstract thought started, but it was surely well before going to the university. Math and Philosophy were creative and fun because they allowed to think in (almost) complete freedom. Only one restriction applied: consistency. Moreover, they looked all-encompassing, providing conceptual foundations for pretty much everything else. So I fell in love with the two of them and, especially, with their intersection: Logic, the mother of thought, rationality and consistency. I was lucky (and stubborn) enough to find several postdoc positions to carry on my research supported by Catalan-Spanish funds, at the University of Lleida, the University of Siena (Italy) and the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (CSIC, Bellaterra).

But life is not exactly a fairy tale, not even in the apparently detached academic world. Economic crisis and awful governance stroke hard in our research system. By 2012 I grew tired of the difficulties the Spanish government insisted on putting on our job and I decided to accept a nice offer to work in Prague in the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. So I emigrated to this not-too-distant wonderful little country where I now work in exactly what I like without much disruption. I keep focusing on logical systems that try to understand valid forms of reasoning beyond what is prescribed by simple good old classical logic. The hope is that the more we understand reasoning the more we will able to duplicate it and perfect it by technological means (but that’s pretty scary, right?). And I also enjoy lecturing about it in some university courses in Prague and in seminars and conference presentations around the world.

It is not always easy to be an expat, but it sure brings a lot of fun and personal growth. Reallocation enforces readaptation, it opens your mind, keeps you always busy learning languages and it allows you to enrich your own identity, so you can’t no longer be simply described as just Catalan. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t miss your people, your country, your food, your landscapes, your climate… oh, yes, you do miss them and often feel homesick.

Back in my Barcelona days I was also active politically and socially, participating in this amazing pro-independence Catalan movement that still keeps me hoping for a better future for my people. I have been very involved in ERC and Barcelona Decideix. Nowadays I am in ANC-Czech Republic and we do what we can to support from here the forthcoming referendum that should finally let Catalan people decide what they want be. Last, but not at all least, I am also a proud founding member of the Česko-katalánský spolek, a society that brings together the expats from the Catalan Countries in the Czech Republic together with several Czech friends that are very interested in our language and culture and want to know more about them.

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