Rafael Navarro was born in the middle of the last century in Teruel, a small city south of Zaragoza, northern Spain. His passion for science brought him to the University of Zaragoza, first as a student and later as a teacher and researcher. He was a Professor with strong convictions about how the University should evolve. He was always faithful to these ideas, taking a step forward and trying to put them into practice from numerous management positions at all levels: Director of the Department of Materials Science and Technology and Fluids, Director of the former Engineering School, member of the Governing Council and the University Senate, and, more recently, as an Academician at the Zaragoza Royal Academy of Sciences.
His research career began in the Low Temperature Physics group, together with Professor Domingo González and with the group of Professor Jos De Jongh, at the University of Leiden, where he received his Ph.D. in the field of magnetism. Years later he was instrumental towards the establishment of the Institute of Materials Science of Aragon (CSIC-University of Zaragoza), where he started a research group in the field of superconductivity, with initial activity linked to the development of advanced processing and characterization methods for low and high Tc superconducting materials, as well as cryogenic instrumentation applications. The development of mechanical and laser texturing methods of high Tc superconductors, as well as the interpretation of their physical properties, are among his outstanding contributions to the Superconductivity and Materials Science disciplines. He was a foremost, recognized expert in the knowledge of the mechanisms that explain the behaviour of materials and showed great versatility to approach the development of applications, starting from a sound theoretical point of view. Even in this last year, while struggling with his illness, he was intensely involved in contributing to the fundamental and practical understanding of the processes that drive the interaction of power lasers with the surface of materials.
Rafael, Rafa for the people who have come across him, was, above all, a close person of superb human quality. Outside of his professional duties, he had a great interest in culture, cinema and mountain hiking. He was very special, someone that always received you warmly, would listen to you and with whom it was possible to have transcendental conversations about life. In essence, those of us who were fortunate enough to interact with Rafa, are profoundly influenced by his wisdom, tolerance and great human qualities. These have helped improve our professional and personal character for the better.
Great friend and colleague, you will remain in our memories, we will always miss you.