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Editorial – Happy Birthday SIF!

By . Published on 20 July 2017 in:
July 2017, , , ,

One of the oldest, most prestigious and most active member societies of the EPS, the Società Italiana die Fisica (SIF), is celebrating its 120th birthday in 2017. This is an excellent occasion to look back briefly at the strong role which the SIF has played in the – much shorter – history of the EPS: Italian Physicists had a strong impact on the establishment of our Society; Gilberto Bernardini was the founding President (and first individual member), succeeded later by Antonino Zichichi, Renato Angelo Ricci, and more recently by Luisa Cifarelli, who was the first woman to be elected President of the EPS and who is now the President of the SIF. The high profile of the SIF and Italian physicists in the EPS is no coincidence: it reflects the leading role which Italian scientists have played in the advance of physics throughout the history of our science.

 On 24 June, the SIF celebrated its birthday with a symposium in the “Passion for Physics” series, staged in the splendid setting of “Villa Monastero” in Varenna on Lake Como, where Enrico Fermi gave his memorable lectures in the 1954 summer school. Since a birthday celebration is not only an opportunity to reflect on the past but, equally important, on a vision for the future, the expertly organized scientific programme offered a vast, forward-looking panorama of cutting-edge physics research around the globe, presented by an impressive line-up of prestigious speakers. At the same time, it was an opportunity to highlight the many essential, and often visionary contributions of Italian physicists. I dare to single out, as an example amongst many, the fresh look at the Big Bang offered by Gabriele Veneziano, one of the fathers of string theory and laureate of this year’s Friedel-Volterra Prize awarded jointly by the SIF and the French Physical Society.

Last but not least, as emphasized by Luisa Cifarelli in her introductory remarks, the meeting provided an occasion for the participants to “stress together the importance of the values of science, and of physics in particular, in our society today”.

The symposium at Villa Monastero was an impressive demonstration that the “Passion for Physics” of our Italian colleagues is as alive today as it has been for the past 120 years, boding well for the future. Happy Birthday SIF, and tanti auguri!

Rüdiger Voss
EPS president



  1. EPS Executive Committee and Staff activities June 2017
  2. 6th EPS Young Minds Leadership Meeting
  3. Joint EPS-SIF International School on Energy 2017

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