Famous Italian Scientists

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 1 
Galileo Galilei
(Known as “Father” of Observational Astronomy who Invented the ‘Thermoscope’ and Various Military Compasses)
Galileo Galilei
179
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

 2 
Archimedes
(One of the Leading Scientists in Classical Antiquity and the Greatest Mathematician of Ancient History)
Archimedes
24
Birthdate: 0287 BC
Birthplace: Syracuse, Italy
Died: 0212 BC
Greek mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Archimedes is remembered for his contribution to mathematics, especially geometry. He laid down theorems related to the area of a circle, and the area and volume of a sphere, and reached an accurate value of pi. He also invented machines such as the screw pump.
 3 
Enrico Fermi
(Italian Physicist, Nobel Laureate and Creator of the World's First Nuclear Reactor)
Enrico Fermi
9
Birthdate: September 29, 1901
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 28, 1954
Italian physicist Enrico Fermi created the Chicago Pile-1, the world's first nuclear reactor. Known widely as the "architect of the atomic bomb," he was equally proficient in theoretical and experimental physics, and won the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on radioactivity and for discovering transuranium elements.
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 4 
Leonardo Fibonacci
(Italian Mathematician Who was Considered to be One of the Most Talented Western Mathematicians of the Middle Ages)
Leonardo Fibonacci
12
Birthdate: 1170 AD
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: 1250 AD
Medieval Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci is remembered for introducing the Hindu–Arabic numeral system to Europe through his book Liber abaci. Son of an Italian trader, he interacted with merchants along the Mediterranean coast to learn about their system of calculations. The Fibonacci sequence, too, was invented by him. 
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 5 
Count Alessandro Volta
(Physicist, Chemist)
Count Alessandro Volta
8
Birthdate: February 18, 1745
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Como, Duchy of Milan, Italy
Died: March 5, 1827
While Alessandro Volta was a count by birth and was supposed to become a lawyer or a priest, he became a scientist instead. His invention of the battery led to the SI unit of electric potential being named volt. He was also the first to isolate methane gas.
 6 
Guglielmo Marconi
(Inventor of 'Radio' and Winner of 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics)
Guglielmo Marconi
13
Birthdate: April 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: July 20, 1937

Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian electrical engineer and inventor best remembered for his work on long-distance radio transmission. Marconi, who is credited with inventing the radio, was honored with the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the field of wireless telegraphy. Also a businessman, Marconi founded the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897. 

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 7 
Amedeo Avogadro
(Chemist and Physicist)
Amedeo Avogadro
11
Birthdate: August 9, 1776
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: July 9, 1856

Son of a reputed senator and lawyer in Italy, Amedeo Avogadro was himself a qualified lawyer. However, he later delved into research as a mathematical physicist and is best remembered for laying down the Avogadro’s law, contributing to the molecular theory of gases. The Avogadro constant is named after him.

 8 
Joseph Louis Lagrange
(Mathematician)
Joseph Louis Lagrange
10
Birthdate: January 25, 1736
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: April 10, 1813

Joseph Louis Lagrange was an Italian mathematician and astronomer who made significant contributions to the fields of number theory, analysis, and both classical and celestial mechanics. He served as the director of mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin for over 20 years. He later moved to France and became a member of the French Academy of Sciences. 

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 9 
Evangelista Torricelli
3
Birthdate: October 15, 1608
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Faenza
Died: October 25, 1647

Evangelista Torricelli, a student of Galileo, later made a name for himself as a physicist and a mathematician with his invention of the barometer. He also laid down the Torricelli’s theorem and discovered the Torricellian vacuum. The torr, a unit of pressure, bears his name.

 10 
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
(Astronomer and Mathematician)
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
5
Birthdate: June 8, 1625
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Perinaldo, Italy
Died: September 14, 1712
Italian-French mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini is best remembered for his discovery of four moons of Saturn, the computation of Jupiter’s rotational period, and the observation of the Cassini Division, or the gap between Saturn’s rings. King Louis XIV made him a member of the Académie des Sciences
 11 
Luca Pacioli
(Italian Mathematician Who is Known as the Father of Accounting and Bookkeeping)
Luca Pacioli
9
Birthdate: 1447 AD
Birthplace: Sansepolcro, Italy
Died: June 19, 1517

Luca Pacioli was an Italian Franciscan friar and mathematician. He worked closely with Leonardo da Vinci and produced works, such as Divina proportione, a book on mathematics. Luca Pacioli was an early contributor to the field which came to be known as accounting. Pacioli is widely regarded as The Father of Accounting and Bookkeeping.  

 12 
Carlo Urbani
(Epidemiologist)
Carlo Urbani
6
Birthdate: October 19, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Castelplanio
Died: March 29, 2003
Microbiologist Carlo Urbani, a parasitic infections expert, was working at the WHO Hanoi office when the deadly and contagious disease SARS had started to spread across the world in 2003. He alerted the WHO headquarters in Geneva about the disease, thus saving many lives, though he eventually succumbed to it.
 13 
Carlo Rovelli
(Italian Theoretical Physicist and Writer)
Carlo Rovelli
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Verona, Italy

Carlo Rovelli is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer. He is active mainly in the field of quantum gravity and is a founder of loop quantum gravity theory. He also has experience working in the history and philosophy of science. His popular science book, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, has sold over a million copies worldwide. 

 14 
Ettore Majorana
(Physicist)
Ettore Majorana
3
Birthdate: August 5, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Catania

Ettore Majorana was immensely talented in math and grew up to be a theoretical physics professor. He also worked on neutrino masses but abruptly disappeared while on a ship from Palermo to Naples. People have come up with theories such as suicide and murder to explain his disappearance.

 15 
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
(First Woman to Write a Mathematics Handbook and the First Woman Appointed as a University Mathematics Professor)
Maria Gaetana Agnesi
3
Birthdate: May 16, 1718
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: January 9, 1799

Italian mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi, daughter of an affluent silk trader, was well-versed in a number of languages as a child. Most of her work was regarding algebra, calculus, and the Witch of Agnesi. She was also the first female academic to write a math book and to teach math.

 16 
Laura Bassi
(Italian Physicist)
Laura Bassi
5
Birthdate: October 29, 1711
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: February 20, 1778

Known as Bolognese Minerva, Laura Bassi became the first woman physics professor to have taught at a European university, when she started teaching at the University of Bologna. A child prodigy, she excelled in Latin and math at age 5. She was also the first lady with a doctorate in science.

 17 
Paolo Uccello
(Florentine Painter and Mathematician Known for His Pioneering Work on Visual Perspective in Art)
Paolo Uccello
3
Birthdate: 1397 AD
Birthplace: Pratovecchio, Italy
Died: December 10, 1475

Paolo Uccello was a 15th-century Florentine painter and mathematician. He worked in the Late Gothic tradition and had a style best described as idiosyncratic. As a young man, he was apprenticed to the famous sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti, with whom he collaborated on his later works. His paintings representing the battle of San Romano are considered his best. 

 18 
Francesco Redi
(Italian Physician, Naturalist, Biologist, and the First Person to Challenge the Theory of Spontaneous Generation)
Francesco Redi
4
Birthdate: February 18, 1626
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Arezzo, Italy
Died: March 1, 1697

Called the founder of experimental biology and father of modern parasitology, Italian physician, biologist, naturalist and poet Francesco Redi did the first major experiment to challenge spontaneous generation. His book Esperienze intorno alla generazione degl'insetti includes most of his famous experiments, while his poem book Bacco in Toscana is counted among the finest works of 17th-century Italian poetry.   

 19 
Marcello Malpighi
4
Birthdate: March 10, 1628
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Crevalcore
Died: September 30, 1694

Marcello Malpighi was forced to take up grammatical studies by his father but later earned doctorates in philosophy and medicine. Malpighi revolutionized medical science by discovering things such as taste buds, red blood cells, and the pulmonary and capillary network connecting veins and arteries. Many physiological features bear his name.

 20 
Camillo Golgi
(Physician, Pathologist, Biologist)
Camillo Golgi
8
Birthdate: July 7, 1843
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Corteno, Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia, Italy
Died: January 21, 1926

Nobel Prize-winning cytologist and physician Camillo Golgi is remembered for his contribution to the study of the central nervous system. He revolutionized medical science with his staining technique and discoveries such as the Golgi cell, the Golgi tendon organ, and the Golgi apparatus, apart from his research on malaria.

 21 
Lazzaro Spallanzani
(Italian Physiologist and Biologist Who Made Significant Contributions to the Study of Animal Reproduction and Bodily Functions)
Lazzaro Spallanzani
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1729
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Scandiano, Italy
Died: February 11, 1799

Lazzaro Spallanzani was an Italian physiologist, biologist, and Catholic priest. He is best remembered for making significant contributions to the study of animal reproduction, bodily functions, and animal echolocation. Lazzaro Spallanzani's research on biogenesis was the first step towards debunking the theory of spontaneous generation.

 22 
Giovanni Battista Belzoni
(Explorer, Antiquarian, Egyptologist, Archaeologist, Novelist, Travel writer)
Giovanni Battista Belzoni
3
Birthdate: November 5, 1778
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Padua
Died: December 3, 1823

Giovanni Battista Belzoni was an Italian explorer and archaeologist of Egyptian antiquities. A pioneer in the field of Egyptian archaeology, Belzoni was the first person to enter the famous Pyramid of Khafre. Belzoni is also credited with unblocking the entrance of the temple at Abu Simbel and discovering the tomb of Seti I, which is referred to as Belzoni's Tomb. 

 23 
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
(Economist, Politician, Banker)
Carlo Azeglio Ciampi
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1920
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Livorno
Died: September 16, 2016

Former Italian president and prime minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi had a major role in introducing Italy to the euro. He had been the governor of the Bank of Italy for 14 years and had held several portfolios, including the ministry of treasury. He was also a World War II veteran.

 24 
Franco Modigliani
(Italian-American economist and the recipient of the 1985 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.)
Franco Modigliani
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1918
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: September 25, 2003

Best known for co-developing the Modigliani–Miller theorem, Nobel Prize-winning economist Franco Modigliani initially studied law. Son of a Jewish physician in Italy, he fled the fascist rule of his country and moved to the U.S., and later served MIT as a professor. He also laid down the life-cycle hypothesis.

 25 
Giuseppe Peano
(Italian Mathematician and Glottologist)
Giuseppe Peano
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1858
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cuneo, Italy
Died: April 20, 1932

Remembered as the founder of symbolic logic, Giuseppe Peano laid down the symbols of union and intersection of sets. He also worked on geometric calculus and taught at institutes such as the University of Turin. His works are written in a simplified version of Latin. He was knighted by Italy.

 26 
Andrew Viterbi
(Engineer, Entrepreneur, Computer scientist)
Andrew Viterbi
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1935
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bergamo
 27 
Nicholas of Cusa
(German Mathematician and Philosopher)
Nicholas of Cusa
4
Birthdate: 1401 AD
Birthplace: Bernkastel-Kues, Germany
Died: August 11, 1464

Nicholas of Cusa was a German mathematician, astronomer, jurist, theologian, and philosopher. One of the first supporters of Renaissance humanism in Germany, Nicholas of Cusa made significant political and spiritual contributions in European history. He is remembered for his efforts to reform the universal and Roman Church.

 28 
Marcella Hazan
(Writer, Biologist)
Marcella Hazan
4
Birthdate: April 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cesenatico, Italy
Died: September 29, 2013
 29 
Fabiola Gianotti
(Italian Experimental Particle Physicist and First Woman Director-General at CERN)
Fabiola Gianotti
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Fabiola Gianotti made headlines when she became the first woman director-general at CERN. The daughter of a geologist father, she gained an interest in science after reading about Marie Curie. The Italian particle physicist, who played a major role in the Higgs boson discovery, is also a trained ballerina.

 30 
Margherita Hack
(Astrophysicist)
Margherita Hack
5
Birthdate: June 12, 1922
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 29, 2013
 31 
Gerolamo Cardano
(One of the most influential mathematicians of the Renaissance)
Gerolamo Cardano
1
Birthdate: September 24, 1501
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pavia, Italy
Died: September 21, 1576

Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano is best known for his iconic work Ars magna, or The Great Art, which contributed immensely to the field of algebra. Throughout his illustrious life, he had been a physician, a math lecturer, and an astrologer. He was also the first to describe typhus fever clinically.

 32 
Giovanni Schiaparelli
(Italian Astronomer and Science Historian)
Giovanni Schiaparelli
3
Birthdate: March 14, 1835
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Savigliano, Italy
Died: July 4, 1910

Giovanni Schiaparelli made headlines when he discovered the canals of Mars, suggesting the existence of intelligent life forms on the planet. He also discovered the asteroid named Hesperia and was associated with the Brera Observatory in Milan for more than 40 years. He had also been a senator of Italy.

 33 
Stanislao Cannizzaro
(Italian Chemist)
Stanislao Cannizzaro
2
Birthdate: July 13, 1826
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Palermo, Italy
Died: May 10, 1910
 34 
Chiara Nappi
(Italian Physicist)
Chiara Nappi
4
Birthdate: February 21, 1951
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

Chiara Nappi is an Italian physicist with research experience in the areas of mathematical physics, particle physics, and string theory. After receiving a degree in physics from the University of Naples, she moved to US to carry out academic research. She has been a professor of physics in multiple institutions. Besides scientific research, she often writes on women in science. 

 35 
Giulio Natta
(Chemist)
Giulio Natta
2
Birthdate: February 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Imperia, Italy
Died: May 2, 1979

Giulio Natta was an Italian chemist whose work on high polymers alongside Karl Ziegler earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963. He is also credited with developing Ziegler-Natta catalyst, which is named after him and Karl Ziegler. During his illustrious career, Giulio Natta won many other prestigious awards, such as the Lomonosov Gold Medal in 1969.

 36 
Mario Capecchi
(Nobel-Prize Winning Italian-American Molecular Geneticist)
Mario Capecchi
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Verona, Italy

Mario Capecchi is a molecular geneticist who received the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Oliver Smithies and Martin Evans. They received the prize for discovering a method to create a knockout mouse, a genetically modified mouse in which a certain gene is turned off for experimental purposes. In 2001, Capecchi received the National Medal of Science.

 37 
Salvador Luria
(Microbiologist)
Salvador Luria
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1912
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: February 6, 1991

Nobel Prize-winning Italian microbiologist Salvador Luria is best remembered for his work on bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria. He had also chaired Microbiology and later, the Center for Cancer Research at MIT. As a political activist, he was against nuclear weapon testing and was once banned from receiving funds.

 38 
Eusebio Kino
(Italian Jesuit, Missionary, Explorer, Mathematician and Astronomer)
Eusebio Kino
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1645
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Predaia, Italy
Died: March 15, 1711

Eusebio Kino was a Tyrolean missionary, explorer, geographer, astronomer, and cartographer. Nicknamed Father Kino for his missionary work, Eusebio worked closely with the indigenous Native American people, including the Sobaipuri, Tohono O'Odham, and other Upper Piman populations, as part of his exploration. He also led an overland expedition in the Baja California Peninsula, proving that it is not an island.

 39 
Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia
(Mathematician)
Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia
3
Birthdate: 1499 AD
Birthplace: Brescia, Italy
Died: December 13, 1557

Niccolò Fontana Tartaglia was the first to apply math to the science of ballistics. During the French invasion of Brescia, his jaw was sliced by a sword, causing him a speech difficulty, and thus gaining him the nickname Tartaglia, or "Stammerer." His Nova Scientia remains a significant work on mechanics.

 40 
Emilio Segrè
(Physicist)
Emilio Segrè
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tivoli, Italy
Died: April 22, 1989

Emilio Segrè was an Italian-American physicist who is credited with discovering a subatomic antiparticle called antiproton, for which he received the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959. He is also credited with discovering the elements astatine and technetium. Also a prolific photographer, Emilio Segrè documented people and events which are preserved at the American Institute of Physics.

 41 
Silvio Micali
(Computer scientist, University teacher)
Silvio Micali
0
Birthdate: October 13, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Palermo, Italy
 42 
Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro
(Mathematician)
Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro
2
Birthdate: January 12, 1853
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lugo
Died: August 6, 1925

Gregorio Ricci-Curbastro pioneered the study of absolute differential calculus, or Ricci calculus, which later came to be known as tensor analysis. His studies were later used by Albert Einstein in his discovery of the theory of relativity, which is why the Ricci tensor is also known as the Einstein tensor.

 43 
Bruno Pontecorvo
(Physicist, Nuclear scientist)
Bruno Pontecorvo
2
Birthdate: August 22, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pisa
Died: September 24, 1993

Bruno Pontecorvo was an Italian and Soviet nuclear physicist. He was an early assistant to the physicist Enrico Fermi. He studied physics at the University of Rome La Sapienza under Fermi and participated in Fermi's experiment showing the properties of slow neutrons. This experiment eventually led the way to the discovery of nuclear fission.  

 44 
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
(Italian Physiologist, Physicist and Mathematician)
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
2
Birthdate: January 28, 1608
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: December 31, 1679

While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.

 45 
Renato Dulbecco
(Virologist)
Renato Dulbecco
2
Birthdate: February 22, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Italy
Died: February 19, 2012

Renato Dulbecco was an Italian-American virologist whose work on oncoviruses earned him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975. Over the course of his illustrious career, Renato Dulbecco also won other prestigious awards, such as the Marjory Stephenson Prize, Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize, and Selman A. Waksman Award in Microbiology.  

 46 
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
(Geneticist)
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza
2
Birthdate: January 25, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: August 31, 2018
 47 
Riccardo Giacconi
(Astrophysicist)
Riccardo Giacconi
2
Birthdate: October 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Genoa
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Riccardo Giacconi was a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy. Born in Italy, he later went to the U.S. to pursue his research as a Fulbright scholar. He was the man behind the launch of the Einstein Observatory and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
 48 
Carlo Rubbia
(Physicist)
Carlo Rubbia
3
Birthdate: March 31, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gorizia, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Carlo Rubbia is an Italian inventor and particle physicist who helped discover the W and Z particles. His work earned him the 1984 Nobel Prize in Physics, which he shared with Simon van der Meer. Rubbia has received many awards, including 27 honorary degrees. In 1984, he was honored by the American Academy of Achievement with the Golden Plate Award.

 49 
Galileo Ferraris
(One of the Pioneers of AC Power System and Inventor of the Induction Motor)
Galileo Ferraris
2
Birthdate: October 31, 1847
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Livorno Ferraris, Italy
Died: February 7, 1897

Galileo Ferraris was an Italian university professor, physicist, and electrical engineer. He was one of the pioneers of AC power system. He is also credited to be the inventor of the three-phase induction motor although he never patented his work. He worked at the Italian Industrial Institution and later at the Italian Electrotechnical Association.

 50 
Giuseppe Piazzi
(Astronomer, University teacher, Mathematician)
Giuseppe Piazzi
2
Birthdate: July 16, 1746
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ponte in Valtellina
Died: July 22, 1826

Italian Theatine priest, astronomer and mathematician Giuseppe Piazzi discovered and identified the first asteroid Ceres at Palermo Astronomical Observatory that he established in Palermo, Sicily. He first demonstrated the large proper motion of the binary star system 61 Cygni in the constellation Cygnus. He also supervised compilation of the Palermo Catalogue of stars and completion of the Capodimonte (Naples) Observatory.