The Rimini Meeting and the science
1982 “Science the grandeur of man” was the title of the encounter featuring Pakistan’s Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam, particle physicist and supporter of science open to the transcendent dimension. Also intervening on the same subject were Giantommaso Scarascia Mugnozza, Rector of the State University of Viterbo; Paolo Mantegazza, Principal of the School of Medicine at the University of Milan; Gianpaolo Bellini, and professor of Physics at the State University of Milan.
1983 This edition had three events with a scientific character. On a hot topic like the “Origins of Man”, the speakers were Ives Coppens, Anthropologist and Director of the Museum of Man in Paris, and Francisco Ayala, professor of Genetics at the University of California.
On a subject of immense scope like “Science Facing the Future of Man”, the speakers included Ugo Amaldi, Nuclear Physicist and researcher at the CERN in Geneva.
“Thinking, Working, Living with Robots” was the title of the address with which the Rector of the Milan Polytechnic, Luigi Dadda, one of the fathers of Italian IT, explored the contents of the exhibition devoted to Robots.
1985 A “Voyage into Matter: The Discovery of the Infinitely Small”: this is the journey proposed by four Milanese scientists in presenting the exhibition with the same name; they are Riccardo Destro, professor of Physical Chemistry, Alberto Frigerio, professor of Theoretical Physics, Mario Guzzi, professor of Physics, all three from the University of Milan, and Sergio Musazzi, researcher at the CISE.
1986 This is the year of the Nobel Laureate John Eccles, neurophysiologist, who intervenes, together with the famous physicist Antonino Zichichi, on the subject “Communication Between Sciences.” But his contribution goes well beyond the purely sociological level and inevitably guides science towards mankind’s most profound questions.
1987 In a period of great economic euphoria, a highly qualified international panel discusses technological development. “What Mankind for what Progress?” is the question the speakers sought to answer: Zhou Guang Zhao, president of the Academy of the Sciences of the Chinese People’s Republic, Evgeny P. Velikov, vice-president of the Academy of the Sciences of the Soviet Union, Luigi Rossi Bernardi, president of the Italian National Research Council.
1988 Again a topic of paleoanthropology, and not just for specialists: “Religion in Prehistory: Neanderthal, Paleolithic, Neolithic”, with Marija Gimbutas, professor of European Archeology at the University of Los Angeles.
1989 The theme of “Man, a Paradoxical and Curious Animal” is examined by Phillip V. Tobias, professor at the University of Johannesburg and famous for his studies of the appearance of the language with Australopithecus africanus, and Michael Waldstein, professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and a member of the editorial board of the American magazine "Communio."
The participants in another encounter want even farther back in time: “With or Without Big Bang.” Francesco Bertola, professor of Astrophysics at the University of Padua, converses with the American astrophysicist Halton Arp, well-known for his “unaligned” positions, and with Franco Selleri, professor of the Institution of Theoretical Physics at the University of Bari.
1990 The scientific adventure is the protagonist of this edition of the Meeting, which spotlights the symbolic figure of Einstein by raising the question “Who’s Afraid of Old Albert?” with two protagonists of science today: Jerome Lejeune, professor of Genetics at the University of Paris, discoverer of the genetic basis of Down’s syndrome and future President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and Remus Ruffini, professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Rome and a world-famous astrophysicist.
Two other Italian scientists, porminent on the international scene, were called on “to tell of their journeys”: they were Tito Arecchi, professor of Superior Physics at the University of Florence and President of the National Institute of Optics, and the geneticist Francesco Salamis, Director of the Max Planck Institut fur Zuchtungsfurschung in Cologne.
Finally there was an evocative “Journey to the Center of the Earth”: not science fiction but as illustrated by Enzo Boschi, President of the National Institute of Geophysics, also well known to the general public, and Mario Gargantini, curator (with Mario Rooster) of the exhibition of the same name.
1992 America was in the spolight also in terms of technology, with two highly appropriate speakers to deal with the theme: “Products, Machines, Systems: From the Prairies to the Red Planet.” The speakers were Alvise Braga Illa, an entrepreneur in the computer sector and fomerly a researcher at MIT in Boston, and Alberto Sangiovanni Vincentelli, professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.
1994 The presentation of the exhibition “The Age of Engineering” was an occasion for a round table on the medieval roots of technology with Giampiero Bozzolato, professor of History at the University of Sassari, and two major scholars of the “civilization of the cathedrals”, namely Lèo Moulin and Jean Gimpel.
1995 The “images from the future” were the spectacular pictures collected by the Hubble space telescope. They were illustrated, in describing “The Universe and its History”, by Duccio Macchetto, Associate Director for Science Programs at the Space Telescope Science Institute of Baltimore. On the theme of “Mankind, Limits and Hopes. A Path to the Third Millennium”, one of the speakers was George V. Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory. It also saw the return of Paolo Mantegazza, Rector of the Università degli Studi, Milan.
1996 From the most recent cosmological hypotheses to the new scenarios in biotechnologies: these two themes were the basis of the reflections of two young researchers who were protagonists of the encounter on “The Unforeseen in Science. From Dark Matter to Proteins”: They were Paolo Salucci, Astrophysicist at the SISSA of Trieste, and Sergio Riva, a Chemist with the CNR in Milan.
1997 An Italian scientist who occupies a major place in American research reflects on the “Scientific community at the end of the Millennium: Contributions, Prospects and Sentiments”: he is Bruno Coppi, of the Physics of High Energy Plasmas Group at the MIT in Boston. The image that emerges is of a researcher who does not evade the crucial questions about man but sets the true value of science on this level.
Again the theme of “The Unforeseen in Science” fills the auditorium at Rimini Fiera for the paper by Marco Bersanelli, a researcher with the Institute of Cosmic Physics of the CNR in Milan and the newly elected President of the Euresis association, which makes his first contribution to scientific events at the Meeting in this way.
1998 Do extraterrestrials exist? A question that has always stirred general curiosity is explored by Elio Sindoni, author of a book of the same name and by Roberto Busa, one of the world’s major scholars of Thomas Aquinas and founder of Linguistic Computing.
1999 To mark the 200th anniversary of the invention of the battery, 1999 was proclaimed “Volta Year.” EURESIS presents the exhibition 1999 and the Current Was: 200 Years since Volta’s Battery, produced in collaboration with the University of Pavia and the Lombardy Region. Duccio Macchetto returns as director of the scientific program of the Hubble Space Telescope Institute of Baltimore, and with Marco Bersanelli holds a conversation on “Wonder and Mystery, Science facing Reality.”
2000 EURESIS presents the exhibition From Democritus to the Quark. The Great Intuitions of Physics. Those participating at its presentation include Professor Gianni Bonera, Professor Giulio Giorello, professor of Philosophy of Science at the Università degli Studi in Milan and Professor John D. Barrow, professor of Mathematics in Cambridge, considered one of the world’s leading experts in modern cosmological research. Carlo Croce, director of the Cancer Institute of Philadelphia, recounts the fascinating adventure of the discovery of a gene and how this discovery can influence progress in the field of medicine and research.
2001 Professor Francisco Ayala, who teaches Biology and Philosophy at the the University of the California, returns to the Meeting and gives a paper on “The Evolution of Life on Earth: The Uniqueness of Man.”
“The chain of life ... On the Traces of the Genome” saw the participation of Paolo Vezzoni, a researcher at the CNR, coordinator for Italy of the Genome project, and Edoardo Boncinelli, Director of the Biology Laboratory of the Instituto San Raffaele. Both speakers, despite the variety of their cultural backgrounds, agreed in condemning genetic determinism and its implications.
2002 The scientific topics covered a wide range. The speakers on the origins of man were Henry de Lumley, a professor at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and the anthropologist Fiorenzo Facchini.
Another scientific encounter dealt with “Life: Catastrophes and Rebirths.” The speaker was Peter Ward, professor of Geology, Astronomy and Zoology at the University of Washington in Seattle, one of the world’s greatest authorities on the phenomenon of mass extinctions.
Finally, genetics and its potential continued to be at the center of discussion with Bruno Dalla Piccola, president of the Italian Society of Human Genetics.
2003 The scientific encounters saw the participation of Paul Davies, one of the world’s most important physicists and a great popularizer of science, Carlo Rubbia, Nobel Laureate for Physics in 1984, Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, William Shea, Professor of the Galileian Chair in History of Science in Padua, and Jean Marie Lehn, Nobel Laureate for Chemistry in 1987, who illustrated the fascinating adventure of knowledge, starting from the interactions of molecules and the way the world is is not explicable by simple chemical formulas but embodies a larger design.
2004 Two scientific exhibitions were presented. The first one, titled ‘At the Sources of Energy: From Nature Resources for the Journey of Man’ dealt with the various methods developed by man to produce energy and the environmental problems stemming from the exploitation of the various sources. The second one was dedicated to Albert Einstein: “Einstein 1905: Genius at Work”, recalling the annus mirabilis (also proclaimed World Physics Year) when Einstein published three important discoveries. The show was presented by the astrophysicist Remo Ruffini and the science journalist Mario Gargantini.
the theme of another scientific encounter was: “The Purpose of Science” and saw the participation of George Ellis, Templeton Prize Winner for 2004.
On the theme of stem cell research, the speaker was Angelo Vescovi, Co-Director of the Stem Cell Research Institute Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan, and Roberto Colombo, Director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.
2005 On the occasion of the presentation of the exhibition ‘On the Shoulders of Giants. Places and Masters of Science in the European Middle Ages’, the speaker was Peter Hodgson, a nuclear physicist, who has devoted special attention to the History of Science in the Middle Ages and to Galileo, writing numerous articles and texts on these topics. On the subject of “Science and Rules” the speaker was Giorgio Israel, professor of Mathematics, who teaches History of Mathematics at the Università "La Sapienza" in Rome; he is the author of numerous articles and texts on a wide range of themes, including eugenics, the cultural identity of the West and antisemitism.
2006 The presentation of the exhbibition “Why So Many Stars? The Milky Way Between Science, History and Art” saw the return of Francesco Bertola, professor of Astronomy at the Università degli Studi in Padua and an academic of the Accademia dei Lincei.
Another theme dealt with was the purpose of the knowledge of the universe,l which involved figures of the greatest importance: Piero Benvenuti, President of the Istituto Nazionale Astrofisica and professor at the University of Padua; Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, of the American Museum of Natural History, Massimo Robberto, of the Space Telescope Science Institute of Baltimore, and Franco Bassani.
The title of the Meeting also became the subject of a scientific seminar which had brought a select group of scholars from leading universities around the world to San Marino in the days before. The encounter, organized by the John Templeton Foundation, the CTNS of Berkeley in California, the Euresis Association, in collaboration with the University of San Marino, was the first in a series which, starting from this year, will be held on the subject of the Meeting. Two participants, Steven Beckwith, one of the fathers of the Hubble telescope, and Edward Nelson, professor of Mathematics in the Department of Mathematics at Princeton University, presented papers on “Vastness and the Infinite in Science.”
An important example of the conception of reason open to the Mystery was given by the words of the President of the Bioethics Committee of the United States, Edmund Pellegrino, and of Giorgio Israel, professor of Mathematics at the Università La Sapienza in Rome, who dealt with the subject of “Bioethics and the Search for Happiness”.
2007 Among the scientific encounters, one dealt with the theme of “Science, Reason, Truth”, the title of the meeting of the same name held in San Marino in the previous days, organized by the Templeton Foundation. Among the protagonists of the discussion: Enrico Bombieri, professor at the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Paul Davies, professor at Arizona State University and Xavier Le Pichon, professor of Geodynamics at the Collège de France.
On the theme of “Mathematics and the human condition” the speaker was Laurent Lafforgue, professor of Mathematics at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques in Paris. With a particular interest in the problems of education, he has written a number of articles on the question and also launched an appeal for the refoundation of the school system.
The most important encounter was that with George Smoot, Nobel Laurate for Physics 2006, who described what has been hailed as the greatest discovery of the century, if not of all time: the first image of fossil light, which shows us the universe in its first moments of existence, 14 billion years ago.
2008 The issues of climate held the stage at the Meeting and introduced by the exhibition “Atmosphere. Reality and Myths on Climate Changes,” where the problem is approached and analyzed in a way that goes beyond the divisions between catastrophists and those that believe no problems exist for our planet. Among the most important speakers were, Antonio Ballarin Denti, Richard Lindzen and Franco Prodi.
2009 Three great scientists such as Nobel prizes John Mather and Charles Townes, and the greatest living anthropologist Yves Coppens will confront on their human experience within discovery. During the Galilean year an exhibition show the story of the first observations with the telescope made by the scientist; during the presentation meeting will intervene one of the greatest world experts Owen Gingerich.