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Manuel António Gomes (Padre Himalaya)

Updated: 22 hours ago

Born: 9 December 1868

Died: 21 de December 1933

Nationality: Portuguese

They called him Father Himalaya because he was very tall, and this man, who became known as the Portuguese pioneer of renewable energies, adopted the nickname with humor. Born in Arcos de Valdevez, he never renounced his rural origins. In fact, it was the search for solutions to the problem of soil fertility that led the priest-scientist to create a solar machine that would soon become known as the Pyrheliophore.

Father Himalaya's adventurous spirit took him to Paris, the United States, South America and the Far East. He experienced ups and downs, depending on the interest he managed to arouse in investors. It was in 1904, at the Saint Louis World’s Fair, that his talent was recognized with the Grand Prize, two gold medals and a silver medal for his Pyrheliophore. Moments of glory followed, with invitations to lectures and visits to scientific institutions, as well as the successful invention of himalaite, a smokeless gunpowder. However, these moments alternated with frequent bouts of discouragement at the lack of interest from investors and the failure of some inventions.

Father Himalaya's utopian spirit was revealed in the exploration of a radically new technological alternative, based on renewable energies and with a strong sense of social transformation. In his lectures, Father Himalaya presented revolutionary ideas in the fields of agriculture, economics, energy policy and seismology which, if put into practice, would radically change the face of the country. His scope for social intervention was also felt in the field of natural treatments, which he studied and promoted in Portugal. Having adhered to vegetarianism, he argued that proper nutrition could pacify human beings and solve economic and public health problems.

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