Foto del docente

Gabriele Ferrario

Assegnista di ricerca

Dipartimento di Filosofia e Comunicazione

Curriculum vitae


curriculum vitae

(updated 1/07/2020)

Work Address: Dipartimento di Filosofia e Comunicazione Via Zamboni 38, Bologna

Home Address:

E-mail: []

Phone: +44-75-03608002; +1-443-813-4224;


• Ph.D. in Oriental Studies, University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari”, 2007. Granted a three-year scholarship. Dissertation: “The Liber de aluminibus et salibus: Edition and Translation of the Arabic and Hebrew Manuscripts.”

• BA/MA in Oriental Languages (Arabic, Hebrew), University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari”, 2003. Cum laude.


• 2020-present Research Associate – University of Bologna – ERC Project ‘Alchemy in the Making: From ancient Babylonia via Graeco-Roman Egypt into the Byzantine, Syriac and Arabic traditions’

• 2017-2020 Visiting Assistant Research Professor, History of Science Department / Program in Islamic Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (MD), USA

• 2010-2017 Research Associate, Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, University of Cambridge, UK

• 2013-2016 Research Fellow in the Arts and Social Sciences at Clare Hall College, University of Cambridge, UK

• 2008-2009 Field researcher, Lawrence J. Schoenberg Database of Medieval Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania, USA


• 2018-2019 Frances A. Yates Long Term Fellowship in Intellectual, Cultural and Art History (The Warburg Institute – University of London) – declined

• 2015-2017 Wellcome Trust Grant (as part of Genizah Research Unit – Cambridge University Library)

• 2012-2015 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant (as part of Genizah Research Unit – Cambridge University Library)

• 2011-2012 Newton Trust Grant (as part of Genizah Research Unit – Cambridge University Library)

• 2010 Cambridge University Library Foundations Project Grant (as part of Genizah Research Unit – Cambridge University Library)

• 2008 Roy G. Neville Fellowship, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

• 2007 Frances A. Yates Fellowship, Warburg Institute, University of London


• “Pauca numero et utilibus plurima. Il trattato sui veleni di Maimonide e le sue fonti greco-arabe”, International Conference Poison. Knowledge, Uses, Practices (Trento, Dipartimento di Lettere e Filosofia, December 2019)

• “Sorting the pieces: towards a typology of Judaeo-Arabic alchemical fragments”, ERC AlchemEast Workshop: Exempla Trahunt: Specimens of Alchemical and Scientific Manuscripts – Arabic & Syriac (Bologna, June 2019)

• “Alchemy in Motion: The Trilingual Tradition of a Medieval Alchemical Recipe Book”, Virginia Fox Stern Center for the Study of the Book in the Renaissance – Faculty in Focus (Baltimore, November 2018)

• “Dealing with Abundance and Paucity: Notes on the Historiography of Medieval Arabic and Hebrew Alchemy”, Cain Conference: Historiographies of Modern Chemistry and the Life Sciences (Philadelphia, October 2018)

• “Alchemy in Medieval Cairo. New Evidence of Theory and Practice in the Judaeo-Arabic Fragments from the Cairo Genizah”, Gotha Manuscript Workshop: Alchemy in the Islamicate World (Gotha, September 2018)

• “The Secret of Salt: Salts and their Use in Medieval Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic Alchemy, 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, May 2018)

• “Graeco-Arabic Science among the Medieval Jews of Cairo: The Fragmentary Evidence”, The Morris W. Offit Symposium on Muslim, Christians and Jews in the Mediterranean World (Baltimore, March 2018)

• “Graeco-Arabic Science in Jewish Attire: New Evidence from the Cairo Genizah”, Princeton University ‘History of Science Colloquium’ (Princeton, November 2017)

• “Science in Fragments: Scientific Theory and Practice in Medieval Cairo”, The History of Science and Technology Colloquium (Baltimore, February 2018)

• “Discovering the Known: Text Mining the Cairo Genizah”, Workshop ‘Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts: British Library and Beyond”, The British Library (London – November 2016)

• “The Genizah Project”, Workshop ‘Chymical Encyclopaedia, Database, and Repository, The Chemical Heritage Foundation (Philadelphia – PA – May 2016)

• “Theory, Allegory and Practice in Medieval Alchemy: Jewish Sources and their Context,” ERC Project ‘Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages’ workshop: Science versus popular culture in Medieval Jewish Society (London, November 2015)

• “Graeco-Arabic Natural Sciences in Jewish Garb: Evidence from the Cairo Genizah,” International Symposium Greek Alchemy: from the late Antiquity to the early Modernity (Athens, June 2015)

• “The alchemical corpus preserved in the Genizah Collections at Cambridge University Library,” Rencontre Internationale ARC ‘Speculum Arabicum’: Byzance, Bagdad, Tolède, Paris: la translatio studii dans les sciences médiévales (Brussels, May 2015)

• “Transmission, translation, transformation: the case of Pseudo-Rāzī's Liber de aluminibus et salibus,” Workshop ‘Speculum Arabicum’ – Transformations: «La tradition juive, relais des savoirs» (Louvain-la-Neuve, March 2015)

• “Problems in the transmission of the per pastillum technique from Antiquity to the Middle Ages” (Los Angeles, May 2014)

• “Towards an edition of the Arabic and Hebrew manuscripts of the Liber de Aluminibus et salibus, Workshop: Sources of alchemy and chemistry’ (Baltimore, May 2014)

• “Ebrei e alchimia nel Medioevo: una relazione controversa”, Conference: Elisir mercuriali e immortalità. Capitoli per una storia dell’alchimia nell’Eurasia antica (Napoli, November 2013)

• “Lapis Lazuli, Ultramarine Blue and their Journey through Centuries and Cultures,” Workshop: Epistemologies of Techniques and Technology, (London, October 2013)

• “From Overseas: Lapis Lazuli, Ultramarine Blue and their Journey through Centuries and Cultures”, 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine - Symposium: Reworking the History of Chemistry: practice, revolution, visualization and exchange (Manchester, July 2013)

• “Judaeo-Arabic Alchemy in the Cairo Genizah” – The Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC) Spring Meeting (Cambridge, March 2013)

• “The Pigment that Came from Overseas: Ultramarine Blue in Medieval Arabic Alchemy.” EMPHASIS - Early Modern Philosophy and the Scientific Imagination Seminar (London, June 2011)

• “Materia Alchemica and Materia Medica in Medieval Islamic Lands. New Evidence form the Cairo Genizah.” International Conference “Alchemy and Medicine from Antiquity to the Enlightenment” (Cambridge, September 2011); an updated version of this talk was presented at the Getty Research Institute (Los Angeles, April 2012) in the frame of the Research Project “The Alchemy of Art”

• “Alchemy in the Land of Hermes. New Evidence from the Taylor-Schechter Collection.” International Conference of the Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies “Judaeo-Arabic Culture and the Arabic Speaking World: Linguistic, Textual and Social Crosspollination” (Cambridge, July 2011)

• “The Poetry of Alchemy, the Alchemy of Poetry. Preliminary Notes on the Shudhur al-Dhahab, Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s’ Alchemical Poem.” International Workshop “On the Fringes of Alchemy” (Budapest, July 2010)

• “The Rotation of the Heavens and of the Stars around the Four Elements: Islamic mineralogy and its alchemical implications.” Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting (Venice, April 2010)

• “A Medieval Arabic Alchemical Lexicon: Ms Sprenger 1908 of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and Mss Egerton 709 and Or. 1593 of the British Library.” First Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age (Philadelphia, October 2008)

• “Ms. 514 Orient. Klein, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin: A Handbook of Practical Alchemy.” CHYMIA: Science and Nature in Early Modern Europe (1450-1750), International Conference (El Escorial - Madrid, September 2008)

• “Notes on the Arabic Liber de aluminibus et salibus and on its Hebrew Translation.” Medieval Alchemy Workshop, Warburg Institute (London, October 2007)

• “Origins and transmission of the Liber de aluminibus et salibus.” International Conference on the History of Alchemy and Chymistry, Chemical Heritage Foundation (Philadelphia, July 2006).


• 2017-2020 Visiting Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University, Fall Semester 2019: Course ‘Islam and Its Cultural and Religious Diversity (600-1600 CE); Co-teaching (with Prof. L. Principe) of ‘History of Science: Antiquity to Renaissance’; Supervision of autonomous research: ‘On Flawed Science: Maimonides on Astronomy and Astrology’; Spring Semester 2019: Course ‘Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Medieval World’; Seminar ‘Themes in Medieval Islamic Thought’; Fall Semester 2018: Course ‘Introduction to Islam’; Seminar ‘Scripta Manent: Manuscript Cultures East and West’; Spring Semester 2018: Course ‘Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Medieval World’; Seminar ‘Themes in Medieval Islamic Thought’; Fall Semester 2017: Course ‘Introduction to Islam’; Co-teaching (with Prof. L. Principe) of ‘History of Science: Antiquity to Renaissance’

• 2016-2017 Guest Lecturer in Medieval Science and Medicine (History and Philosophy of Science: Part II, Paper 1; Biological and Biomedical Sciences: Part II, Minor Subject 113; History Faculty, Specified Subject 11), University of Cambridge, Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science

• 2015-2016 Guest Lecturer in Medieval Medicine (4 lectures – paper 2, part II), University of Cambridge, Dept. of History and Philosophy of Science

• 2014 Assessment of PhD students’ First Year report, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity

• 2014 Lecturer at the Einstein Summer School ‘The Transmission of ideas between religious communities in the medieval world of Islam’, Freie Universität – Berlin

• 2010-2011 Supervision of undergraduate students – University of Cambridge – Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and Faculty of Divinity – Arabic language

• 2008-2010 Units on the sciences in the Islamic world as a part of the program in Islamic Studies, University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari


• 2017-present: Member of the Faculty Board of the Virginia Fox Stern Center for the History of the Book in the Renaissance (Johns Hopkins University)

• 2011-present: Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry (SHAC)

• 2014-2016: European Association for Jewish Studies (EAJS)

• 2011-2012: Society for Judaeo-Arabic Studies (SJAS)


• April-May 2017: Curator of the small exhibition ‘Discovering Medieval Medicine in the Cairo Genizah’, Cambridge University Library (April-May 2017)

• March 2016: Organizer of a major event for children for Cambridge University’s Science Festival: ‘The Balance of Health: Enter the World of Medieval Medicine’ (for children aged 7-11)

• January 2016: Curator of the small exhibition ‘The Fame of Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine: A view from the Cairo Genizah’, Cambridge University Library

• 2014–2016: public presentations on alchemy, medicine, magic and daily life in medieval Cairo at Limmud (Jewish public education event) in Manchester (February 2014, 2015 and 2016) and Leeds (November 2015)

• 2011–2013: collaboration with the radio production company Nightjar ( ) for the design and production of a 5-episode radio program on the Cambridge Genizah Collections and on the Genizah Research Unit. The program was broadcasted by BBC 3 as part of the series The Essay in May 2013, with a replica during summer 2015

• October 2012; October 2011: organization of three major events for Cambridge University’s Festival of Ideas: ‘Demons, scorpions and nightmares’ (2012, for children aged 5-11); ‘Lives in fragments: (2011, for adults); ‘Angels, demons and scorpions’ (2011, for children aged 7-11)

• 2010 – 2017: public lectures and presentation of the Genizah Collections to visiting audiences from a variety of social and educational backgrounds


Italian, English, Arabic (reading, writing and speaking); Hebrew, Latin, French, Spanish, Classical Greek (reading); Aramaic, Syriac, German (basic reading)

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