When highlighting Spain's heritage, it is common to focus on the great artists like Picasso, Dali, and Gaudi. Less often heralded are their scientific counterparts, the talented Spanish inventors and researchers who didn't just dream of the future, they helped create it. One such oft-overlooked contributor is Leonardo Torres Quevedo. His inventions range from cable cars to the world’s first chess playing computer.

In this, the hundredth anniversary year of his chess machine, Google was delighted to partner with the Technical University of Madrid to help resurrect Torres Quevedo’s memory. Together, we celebrated the opening of an exhibition in the main hall of the Telecommunication Engineering department featuring a number of his machines, as well as a formal lecture programme exploring his influence across many engineering fields.

It was a great day. Dr Alberto Rodriguez Raposa, the Director General of Telecommunications and IT from the Ministry of Industry opened the exhibitions. Speakers in the seminar included senior representatives from different engineering departments across the university, as well as Dr Francisco Gonz├ílez de Posada, Professor of Applied Physics at the University of Madrid and a renowned expert in Torres-Quevedo’s achievements.

In parallel, a chess tournament for 14-17 year olds from regional chess clubs was staged in the hall alongside the exhibition, with the winner playing a simulation of the original chess machine.

It’s important to remember scientific pioneers like Leonardo Torres Quevedo, not only to pay rightful tribute to their achievements, but to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

This is an appropriate time for reflection. Innovation when combined with an entrepreneurial streak, as demonstrated by Torres Quevedo, can be a powerful catalyst for economic growth, and a vital determinant of a country’s competitiveness on the world stage. In the current context, through these type of partnerships, we seek to inspire the next generation of Torres Quevedo’s to help get countries back on the fast lane to the future.