A investigação de Egas Moniz e o Estado português: (in)visibilidades de uma história

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Egas Moniz was an internationally renowned scientist who was greatly concerned to build his public image. Following his retirement in 1944, he denigrated the work of his collaborators, in practice assigning them the status of “invisible technicians”. Similarly, he spread the idea that as a scientist he had been deliberately refused support by the Portuguese dictatorial government. He
succeeded in establishing this idea, and it has influenced historiography both in Portugal and abroad ever since. However, an analysis of his scientific activity using the “follow the money”
methodology demonstrates not only the importance of the contribution of his collaborators, which as already been recognised in some recent studies, but also, more importantly, the vital role of the Portuguese state in the success of his academic career. In fact, Egas Moniz received state funding on a number of occasions, which allowed him to disseminate his research findings on the international stage by publishing them in journals and books, presenting papers at
international scientific meetings, and chairing international scientific congresses held in Portugal. The Portuguese state provided funding in the form of long-term grants, on some occasions jointly with the Rockefeller Foundation, for several of his collaborators to study or work at prestigious scientific institutions abroad. The support Egas Moniz and his collaborators received contributed to the promotion of his image while boosting his prestige at the international level.
By enabling the wide circulation at the international level of the knowledge he produced and consolidating his participation in international scientific networks, this state support contributed to the growing international recognition of his great contribution to medicine, especially in the field of cerebral angiography and prefrontal leucotomy, the latter leading to him being awarded the
Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1949.
Original languagePortuguese
Title of host publicationCiência, tecnologia e medicina na construção de Portugal 4
Subtitle of host publicationinovação e contestação (séc. XX)
EditorsMaria Paula Diogo, Ana Simões
Place of PublicationLisboa
PublisherTinta da China
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)978-989-671-599-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Funding for science
  • Knowledge in transit
  • International scientific networks
  • Nobel Prize
  • Invisible technicians

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