After the Unity of the Country, the South of Italy has produced a lot of science in a variety of different fields that range from marine biology to volcanology, from astronomy to cybernetics, from mathematics to chemistry, from engineering to agriculture. 150 really extraordinary years that demonstrate how the South of Italy has anticipated often the rest of Italy in pursuing a development model linked to scientific research thereby inducing the acceleration of the whole country.
The first broad-spectrum reconstruction of the scientific activity in the South, an important heritage for all of Italy, has been accomplished in the Study program ‘La Scienza nel Mezzogiorno dall’Unità d’Italia ad oggi’ (‘Science in Southern Italy after the Unity of Italy’) realized by the homonymous National Committee, promoted by the Academy in collaboration with the Associazione Nazionale per gli Interessi del Mezzogiorno d’Italia (National Association for the Interests of Southern Italy), the Società per il Progresso delle Scienze (Society for the Progress of Sciences) and the Centro di Ricerca Guido Dorso, and established by MiBAC – Direzione Generale per i Beni Librari, gli Istituti Culturali ed il Diritto d’Autore (General Directorate in charge of national libraries, cultural institutions and copyright of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities).
The Committee, established in 2006 and operative until 2011, carried out an accurate survey of the institutions, protagonists, and on the scientific schools and polytechnics in Southern Italy from the Unity of the Country to these days on the 150th anniversary of the Unity of Italy.
The corpus of the whole program is the publication of the three volumes ‘La Scienza nel Mezzogiorno dopo l’Unità d’Italia“(Scince in Southern Italy after the Unity of Italy) edited by Rubbettino.
The history of scientific institutions, schools and scientists of the various disciplines working in the South of Italy from 1865 until today is presented in 25 essays. This accurate analysis documents the relevance that the scientific trends and technological innovations have had for both the culture and the advancement of the Southern Italian society. In addition, it brings out the work carried out by men as well as women scientists and scholars to connect the South to the rest of Italy and to Europe and thereby bridge the economic, social and cultural gap between the South and the North of the country.
A historical memory and at the same time a chance for reflection on the role that science has had in the South of post-unitarian Italy, wanted eagerly by the National Academy of Sciences called of the XL and its late president Gian Tommaso Scarascia Mugnozza, by Antonio Maccanico, president of the National Committee, and by Gerardo Bianco, the vice-president.
The opus has been presented to the Head of State, Giorgio Napolitano, in June 2009.