“If you plan to make a voyage of discovery, choose a ship of small draught”
Captain James Cook rejecting the large ships offered by the Admiralty for the search of a new continent.
CECs, Centro de Estudios Científicos (Center for Scientific Studies) is a private, non-profit corporation, devoted to the development, promotion and diffusion of scientific research. CECs was founded in 1984 as the Center for Scientific Studies of Santiago and it functioned there in a rented house until 2000, when it moved to Valdivia where it evolved into its present self. Since its foundation, CECs has been directed by physicist Claudio Bunster.

After thirty-six years of existence CECs has decided to revamp its website, which is presently under construction. In the meantime, enquires may be send to

What follows is an excerpt of a brochure that was produced just after the center moved to Valdivia. We feel that it still captures its spirit:

A small band of researchers at the Center for Scientific Studies (CECs) in Valdivia, Chile, share a daring, old-fashioned dream in this Great Science era – the unfettered quest for knowledge in a small, independent, top quality research institute. Its members have come together over the past two decades to launch an intellectual adventure that is risky, exhilarating, and richly productive.
Nestled between the Andes and the Pacific in this small southern city, CECs is one of the few institutes in the world working at the frontiers of research in multiple disciplines without endowment or affiliation to a host institution. Its researchers are free to do their best science without regard to fashion and without bureaucratic restriction, in an atmosphere of collaboration and mutual support. The result is a steady flow of innovative ideas, highly trained students, and publications in international peer-reviewed journals. The Center has defied assumptions about small size in placing Chile on the world map of science, over-turning the customary research model in Chile, and showing by example how to ‘achieve more with less.’ Its researchers speak in tones of curiosity, wonder, and occasionally pride in describing their thrilling voyage through uncharted waters.
The strategy of CECs is to sustain a scientifically rich environment where science and scientists come first – to attract the best people, and offer them the freedom to follow their dreams.
The present crew of the center is the following: