Colloquia - Mens Agitat

Scientific History of the University of Bologna (1950-2010)

The general essays on the history of Bologna, even the most recent ones, have given limited emphasis to the University, thus overshadowing one of the cornerstones that have earned Bologna an international reputation. Those essays dedicated in particular to our University have highlighted its institutional life, the huge number and heterogeneous origin of its students, coming from other Italian towns and other Countries and the excellence of its Teachers. Only few of these studies have underlined the intensive scientific work that has been taking place for centuries in its Laboratories and its Libraries. While if one wants to tell the real history of our University, it is highly important to dwell at length and in detail on this topic. The few existing texts on this subject are specially linked to the numerous publications that accompanied the celebrations of the IX Centenary of the “Alma Mater”, but even these rarely went beyond the first half of the 20th century. The Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Bologna did not consider itself to be able to make up for this lack or better for this fear of contemporaneity, but could not avoid encouraging his erudite members to think about this topic, and to promote small colloquia exclusively dedicated to the reconstruction of the scientific activities and the resulting connections with the national and international contexts, without neglecting the relationships with the institutional organizations of the territory and the needs of the daily life of our community.  From the willingness to fulfil this demand a number of disciplinary colloquia have been organized, that recalled experiences, school methods and valuable lessons from Masters, making known the wide network of connections and relationships that have been established in the second post-war period and that contributed to position the University of Bologna among the main players of international research, and to make its scholars become the carriers – at times even unaware – of innovations of which today we still grasp the originality and fertility. The results of these colloquia, that concerned Physics, Astronomy, Medicine, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Economy and Statistics, the wide area of Humanistic Disciplines, to be followed by Engineering, Law, Political and Social Sciences, are published for the interested readers as volumes that are not meant to be a complete history of the scientific research development in Bologna. They rather provide precious materials, stories of scholars and unfolding of schools of thought, memories of undertakings and innovations, subtracted from falling into oblivion, which are essential for all those who would like to take on the greater challenge to reconstruct the long sequence of researches, that has given the Alma Mater Studiorum such a global relevance, and whose lack is deeply felt.