Tribute to Dr. Jordi Garcia Orellana

Our dearest friend Jordi Garcia-Orellana left us unexpectedly earlier last week while he was doing what he loved, going to the field with his students. He is survived by his wife Julieta and their two beloved daughters Laia and Julia.

Jordi was originally from Menorca, one of the precious Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, and moved to Barcelona when he was young, where he graduated in Physics in 1994. Soon after he began working in the Environmental Radioactivity Lab at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), initially focussing on the characterisation of prehistoric pottery and dating of paleolithic sites. After a short break to work on radioprotection in the private industry, he re-joined the lab and began a career on both using radionuclides to study the oceans (leading research on the biological carbon pump and on dating of sediment cores to assess marine pollution) and assessing the accumulation and distribution of radionuclides in NORM industries. For the last two decades, he was a driving force on the research on submarine groundwater discharge in coastal areas using radon and radium isotopes. All of this activity in research accompanying his teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels and numerous management roles in the University. From 2011 to 2016, he also served as member of the GEOTRACES Scientific Steering Committee.

Jordi was a passionate person in every endeavour he would engage with, which were countless, with endless curiosity for science, enormously generous when teaching and mentoring young students, and always ready to accept a challenge that would contribute to make things better. He is unanimously regarded as a great colleague to work with by many around the world, and one of the best teachers by his numerous students.

But Jordi was way more than a scientist and a teacher; Jordi was an unconditional friend of many of us and, above all, a devoted husband and dad, his truly passion and reason for living. 

All of us that knew him, worked with him and were his friends will always be fortunate to conduct our lives with his example as a wonderful person, which is surely the best way anyone can be remembered.

Rest in peace, Jordi

Joan Manel Bruach, Pere Masqué, Valentí Rodellas and the Research Group of Environmental Radioactivity of Barcelona (GRAB).

Dr. Jordi Garcia-Orellana