1991 He received his degree in Philosophy from the University of
Florence under the advisership of Paolo Rossi.
1993 He held a scholarship at the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi
Filosofici in Naples.
1997 PhD in History of Science.
1998 He was awarded a postdoctoral scholarship at the University of
2000 Research fellow at the University of Bologna.
2005 He received qualification as Associate Professor at the Iuav
University of Venice.
2008 Associate Professor at the University of Bologna.
2013 He received qualification as Full Professor
2019 He received a new qualification as Full Professor
His works mainly concerns the history of modern and contemporary scientific thought.
He is interested in the study of the connections between science, philosophy and literature, science, pseudoscience, and magic, and analysis of the relationships between science, education and democracy.
He is the author or coauthor of more than 200 publications.
His book Terra. Storia di un'idea (Roma, Laterza, 2013) has been awarded at the Premio Letterario Galileo 2014, Premio Nazionale di Letteratura Naturalistica "Parco Majella" and Premio Nazionale di Divulgazione Scientifica.
Last works: Le metamorfosi di Atlantide. Storie scientifiche e immaginarie da Platone a Walt Disney (Carocci, 2011); Terra. Storia di un'idea (Laterza, 2013; new edition, 2017); Galileo e Harry Potter. La magia puo' aiutare la scienza? (Carocci, 2014); Popular science, Textbooks, and Scientists. The Periodic Law in Italy, in Early Responses to the Periodic System, New York, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 262-279 (with M. Taddia); Ciencia y creencias : historias de éxitos e ilusiones, Barcelona, 2016; Amedeo Avogadro, Lettere, a cura di M. Ciardi e M. Di Matteo, Roma, Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze detta dei XL, 2016; Amedeo Avogadro, Relazioni accademiche, a cura di M. Ciardi e M. Di Matteo, Firenze, Olschki, 2016; Il mistero degli antichi astronauti, Roma, Carocci, 2017; Marie Curie. La signora dei mondi invisibili, Milano, Hoepli, 2017; (with Pier Luigi Gaspa) Frankenstein. Il mito tra scienza e immaginario, Roma, Carocci, 2018; Il segreto degli elementi. Mendeleev e l'invenzione del Sistema Periodico, Milano, Hoepli, 2019; (with Maria Giulia Andretta), Stregati dalla Luna. Il sogno del volo spaziale da Jules Verne all'Apollo 11. Foreword by Piero Angela (Carocci 2019); (with Leonardo Anatrini, La scienza impossibile. Percorsi dell'alchimia in Francia tra Ottocento e Novecento (Carocci 2019).
He coordinates the multimedia project, "Biblioteca Digitale" of
Amedeo Avogadro, in collaboration with the Museo Galileo of
Florence, the Accademia delle Scienze of Turin and the Biblioteca
Civica of Turin. His studies dedicated to Avogadro constitute the
development of researches conducted for more than twenty years,
which led to numerous national and international work dedicated to
Avogadro's activity and the context in which it unfolded.
He was a member of the Italian research group in the ambit of the
international project, The Evolution of Chemistry in Europe,
1789-1939, promoted by the European Science Foundation
(1993-1997). He was also a member of the Board of Directors of
GNFSC, Gruppo Nazionale di Fondamenti e Storia della Chimica
(1998-2013), and of the Editorial board of the international
journal Galilaeana. Journal of Galilean Studies
(2004-2013). From 1996 to 2004, he sat on the Editorial Committee
of the international journal Nuncius. Journal of the Material
and Visual History of Science, serving as Managing
Editor from 2001 to 2003. In 2001, he was scientific
coordinator of "Cronologia della Scienza in Italia, 1000-2000",
which was produced in the ambit of the initiative "Mille anni di
Scienza in Italia", and showed at the exhibition organised at the
Ministry of Universities and of Scientific and Technological
Research (Rome, March 20 - April 28, 2001). In 2005, he was a
member of the staff entrusted with conceiving and designing the
exhibition, "Einstein in Bologna", Bologna, Museo di Palazzo Poggi,
(November 11, 2005 - January 8, 2006), section of the
exhibition, "Albert Einstein. Ingenieur des Universums", promoted
by the Max Planck Institut of Berlin. He was also a member of
the international project "Chemical Order in Transit: Comparative
Studies of the Response to Periodic Law in various countries from
late 1870 to early 20th century".
He is a member of CICAP (Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Pseudosciences), and of Scientific Committee of Substantia. An International Journal of the History of Chemistry. He also regularly collaborates with the Societa' Chimica
Italiana, the Accademia Nazionale delle Scienze di Roma (called
"dei XL"), and the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, founded by Giovanni Treccani.
Among other things, he has discovered documents and manuscripts concerning Amedeo Avogadro, Lazzaro Spallanzani and Xavier de Maistre, and also demonstrated (in collaboration with Franco Giudice) that a manuscript conserved at the Academy of Sciences in Paris had been erroneously attributed to Alessandro Volta, instead establishing the true paternity (Simone Stratico).
His work Atlantide. Una controversia scientifica da Colombo a Darwin (Roma, Carocci, 2002) was judged an "excellent book" by Pierre Vidal-Naquet (see The Atlantis Story. A Short History of Plato's Myth, University of Exeter Press, 2007).
Men of letters and science. The case of Xavier de Maistre, “Nuncius. Annali di Storia della Scienza”, XII, n. 2, 1997, pp. 447-469.
Chemistry of Atmosphere, in Sciences of the Earth: An Encyclopedia of Events, People, and Phenomena, 2 voll., a cura di G. A. Good, New York and London, Garland, 1998, vol. I, pp. 39-43.
Discovery and Exploration of Atmosphere, in Sciences of the Earth: An Encyclopedia of Events, People, and Phenomena, 2 voll., a cura di G. A. Good, New York and London, Garland, 1998, vol. I, pp. 43-47.
Structure of Atmosphere, in Sciences of the Earth: An Encyclopedia of Events, People, and Phenomena, 2 voll., a cura di G. A. Good, New York and London, Garland, 1998, vol. I, pp. 47-50.
(with S. Casati) Disciplinary History of Atmosphere, in Sciences of the Earth: An Encyclopedia of Events, People, and Phenomena, 2 voll., a cura di G. A. Good, New York, Garland, 1998, vol. II, pp. 564-571.
Theory and Technology. The Avogadro manuscripts at the Turin Academy of Sciences, “Nuncius. Annali di Storia della Scienza”, XIII, 1998, pp. 625-656.
Falling stars, Instruments, and Myths. Alessandro Volta and the Birth of Modern Meteorology, in Nuova Voltiana. Studies on Volta and his Times, edited by F. Bevilacqua and L. Fregonese, vol. 3, Milano, Hoepli, 2001, pp. 41-51.
Avogadro’s concept of the atom: some new remarks, “Ambix. The Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry”, XLVIII, n. 1, 2001, pp. 17-24.
From Egypt to Atlantis: Giuseppe Bartoli between literature, archaeology and natural history, in The Routes of Learning: Italy and Europe in the Modern Age, a cura di F. Abbri e M. Segala, Firenze, Olschki, 2003, pp. 37-50.
Atlantis and the History of Science, in “Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Sciences”, 59, 2009, pp. 207-219.
History of Science and Logic: Avogadro, Prout and the Non-experimental Side of Atomic Theory, in “Quaderni di Storia della Fisica”, XVI, 2010, pp. 21-28.
(with M. Focaccia), Maria Bakunin, Elisa Ghigi, Filomena Nitti Bovet, Anna Laura Segre, in European Women in Chemistry, edited by Jan Apotheker and Livia Simon Sarkadi, Weinheim, Wiley-VHC, 2011, pp. 51-54, 139-141; 187-189; 217-219.
(with M. Taddia), Piccini, Ciamician and the periodic law in Italy, in Proceedings of the 4th International Conference of the ESHS, Barcelona, Soc. Cat. d'Hist. de la Ciència i de la Tècnica, Barcelona: SCHCT-IEC, 2012, pp. 531 – 535.
(with M. Taddia) Popular science, Textbooks, and Scientists. The Periodic Law in Italy, in Early Responses to the Periodic System, a cura di Masanori Kaji, Helge Kragh, Gábor Palló, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 262-279.
(with M. G. Andretta), The Moon Landing as a worldwide case of Pop Science, in 69th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), Bremen, Germany, 1-5 October 2018, IAC-18, E4, 3B: 52nd IAA HISTORY OF ASTRONAUTICS SYMPOSIUM (E4) ”Can you believe they put a man on the moon?” (3B), pp. 1-11.