Volume 3, Issue 2, March 2015, Page: 25-34
Giorgio Piccardi: A Forgotten, But Great, Italian Scientist
Carlo Artemi, Public Education Department, High School Fabio Besta, Orte, Italy
Received: Aug. 5, 2015;       Accepted: Aug. 12, 2015;       Published: Sep. 8, 2015
DOI: 10.11648/j.history.20150302.12      View  4358      Downloads  66
Abstract
Professor Giorgio Piccardi was one of the most controversial and significant Italian scientists of the 50s and 60s. He was University Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Florence University and Director of the Chemistry and Physics Department. He was a very acculturated man (also in the humanities); he was an ante litteram environmentalist and an elegant and refined man. He did research in many fields (outside Chemistry too), publishing dozens of books and scientific articles, many of them in English and Deutsch He was the first in Italy to investigate surface phenomena. He taught people who would make remarkable things. He was always interested in multidisciplinary research and tried steadily to encourage the cooperation of scholars in disciplines different from his. He claimed to have discovered an effect (the Piccardi effect) in which interplanetary magnetic fields influenced the result of some simple inorganic reactions and, in general, the results of non-reproducible phenomena (fluctuating phenomena). It was believed, and it is still generally believed, that the Piccardi effect is a self-deceptive result, but this does not diminish the importance of Piccardi as a scientist, teacher and man. This article will trace Piccardi’s life, focusing in particular on its effect and on its popularization, characterized by mistakes made both by supporters and detractors. The author will show an original contributions of his regarding the Piccardi effect’s explanation, one more complete than the present one in the scientific community, and its use in teaching. The article concludes with considerations regarding the scientific and human legacy of Piccardi and on how a figure like him can contribute to working in science today.
Keywords
History of Physics, Fluctuating Phenomena, Italian Scientists, Piccardi Effect, Self-deceptione
To cite this article
Carlo Artemi, Giorgio Piccardi: A Forgotten, But Great, Italian Scientist, History Research. Vol. 3, No. 2, 2015, pp. 25-34. doi: 10.11648/j.history.20150302.12
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