Almadén added to the EuChemS Historical Landmarks 

Last September, the EuChemS family finally got together to celebrate the unveiling of the EuChemS Historical Landmarks 2019 plaque in recognition of the role the Mines of Almadén played in the history of chemistry and shared European cultural heritage.

Photo of the EuChemS representatives together with the Real Sociedad Española de Química, the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, MAYASA industries and Junta de Comunidad de Castilla-La Mancha and other local governmental authorities. © UCLM

Located in the province of Ciudad Real (Castilla-La Mancha region) in Spain, the Almadén mines, visited the previous day by the attending European guests, represent a world reference of a historic mercury mining site. Mercury is a relatively rare metal: its extraction took place in a very limited number of mines, and Almadén was one of the largest sites of mercury production worldwide until recently. The extensive extraction of mercury deeply impacted the mining industry on a global scale. Thus, the Almadén mines constitute an important heritage of the evolution of scientific and technological methods for mercury extraction. The site has also seen a long history of mercury trade which has generated intercontinental exchanges over the centuries. The mines closed in the year 2000 but remained one of the world’s most extensive mercury resources. 

EuChemS representatives and other guests joined in a guided tour to learn more in detail how life was inside the Mines. © UCLM

Scientific writing for early career chemists 

Scientific writing can be an intimidating task, especially when you don’t know where to begin. You start with nothing but a lab book filled with scribbles and a blank page on a computer screen. Like many aspects of the scientific world it can overwhelming, or so it has been in my experience. We are not always provided with the information we need, and it is often the case that we are left to our own devices with little guidance or preparation. This task is often complicated further, as many scientists are required to publish in a language which is not their first. That is where the inspiration for an article began. We hoped by using our own personal experiences as early career chemists, along with information already available within the literature, to provide a map that will help to ease the process of writing and publishing for other young scientists. 

A schematic illustrating the defined 10-step writing guide: Image adapted from © microvector/

Throughout the course of the article (S. M. Richardson, F. Bella, V. Mougel and J. V. Milić, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2021, 9, 18674-18680. ) the steps required for writing are broken down. We start by providing tips on how to first approach writing and provide direction on when is the best time to start. This is followed by an easy to follow 10 step guide, which upon completion should provide the necessary material for completing a scientific article draft. Alongside these 10 steps, the order of approach, article content and construction, and key tips are discussed in separate parts entitled Title, Abstract, Introduction etc., laid out as a coherent guide for each section. This is aided by other information, including choosing an appropriate journal and constructing a cover letter, in order to provide a broad view of the publishing world.  

Having gathered this information so it is now available within a single document, we hope that this will help early career scientists; to ease the task of writing and guide the next generation of scientists on their scientific writing journey.  

Shona Richardson
EYCN Global Connections Team Leader


The history of Almadén is closely linked to that of the mine and the people who worked in it. Therefore, in the 18th century, the Royal Mining Academy and the Miners’ Hospital were established. Both were set up to conduct purely scientific and technical inquiries around the relationship between mercury and life in Almaden. The historic site of Almadén thus tells the entire story of mercury mining, in all its complexity. For several years now, the site’s management has successfully shared this history with visitors, including students from all over the country and abroad. This is the reason why the unique and well-preserved Almadén mines were unanimously recommended for the EuChemS HLA award in 2019. 

As is usually the case in the EuChemS Landmarks programme, the event started with a scientific symposium followed by the unveiling of the plaque. The event was attended by different representatives, both from regional and European levels. Representing EuChemS, President Floris Rutjes presided over the event accompanied by Pilar Goya (Vice-President), Nineta Hrastelj (Secretary-General) and Laura Jousset (Science Communication and Policy Officer). The event began with an address of the President of the Spanish Royal Society of Chemistry (RSEQ), Antonio Echavarren, who took the opportunity to refer to the potential of scientific tourism: “We want that when mercury is studied, we think of Almadén; we propose to the families to visit these mines, starting a cultural and scientific tourism, and a historical one, given the importance of these mines in Spain’s development”. The RSEQ was also represented by some former presidents and its Secretary-General Sonsoles Martín de Santamaria. Furthermore, the ceremony was attended by the Rector of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, José Julián Garde López-Brea, the President of the Portuguese Chemical Society, Artur Silva, managers of the Almadén Mines, as well as the President of MAYASA. S.A., Emiliano Almansa, and by numerous people from the scientific field and by municipal and regional representatives from the region of Castilla-La Mancha.  

The official programme was concluded with the unveiling of the plaque that comes with the EuChemS Historical Landmarks award by Floris Rutjes. ‘I am sure that recognising the historical importance of the Almadén site by EuChemS will provide an impetus to the current efforts to make the mines more known among the general public and enhance the possibilities for tourism also for educational purposes. On the other hand, we as EuChemS can also be proud that the Almadén mines, which were already recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, are now on our Historical Landmarks list and thereby will also contribute to the visibility of this EuChemS programme.’   

The Almadén population resonated with the EuChemS Historical Landmarks award and its event, reaching out in the form of the words of the last speaker of the day, Rosa Carmen Rodríguez Martín-Doimeadios, a researcher originally from Almadén when she remembered the miners and their families: “With these words, we want to express our gratitude to all the families and all the miners who have made History now written in the history books. Though, this History could not have been written but with many other stories. Those stories represent the people who have made enormous efforts and sacrifices, often leaving their health and, sometimes, their lives behind. This recognition also goes to all the people involved in the mines across the centuries: the miners and their families.” 

Unveiling of the Almaden plaque from Floris Rutjes, accompanied by other authorities, after the Almadén symposium. © UCLM

The event ceremony can be re-watched from the RSEQ YouTube channel, and the final programme of the event can be found at the editorial services of UCLM. 
Please visit EuChemS website and YouTube channel to discover more about this ceremony.

Antonio M. Rodríguez García
Research Assistant Professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha

María Antonia Herrero
Professor at the University of Castilla-La Mancha

Pilar Goya
EuChemS Vice-President

Floris Rutjes
EuChemS President