Academy member Pietro Calissano recalls the figure of the illustrious scientist in a recently published book. ‘I asked myself often whether it would have been interesting, or at least useful, to trace a profile of Rita in a less conventional way than those released on mass media and even on books during the last years. These biographies provided detailed information on her private life and her work, but it seemed to me that little or nothing was said of the real, actual person I had the pleasure and honor to see every day for more than four decades. In particular, I had the impression that these portraits brought out the myth of a scientific genius rather than an obviously very intelligent figure whose personality was a mixture of intuitive skills and a total, almost monastic, dedication to work’.
From the introduction of “Rita Levi-Montalcini. Una vita fra i neuroni”, by Pietro Calissano, Edizioni Clichy, Firenze, 2017. ISBN 978 88 6799 256 0
Pietro Calissano graduated in Medicine in 1965 at the University of Genua. In the same year he moved to Rome, initially under the guidance and later as collaborator of Rita Levi Montalcini. Former Director of the National Research Council Institute of Neurobiology and Molecular Medicine and professor of Neurophysiology at the University of Romr Tor Vergata, he worked in numerous universities, namely Washington University, UCLA, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge University and the Weizmann Institute in Israel. member of the dell’European Molecular Biology Organization, ha was awarded numerous prizes among which the Feltrinelli Prize and the Neurberg Prize. Currently he is the President of the European Brain Research Institute (EBRI) founded by Rita Levi Montalcini.