I was born in Tolmezzo, in northeastern Italy, on 22 February 1984. As a high school student at the Institute Malignani, I was involved in various scientific olympiads under the supervision of Eliana Ginevra and Renzo Pozzo. I received an honorable mention in the Italian physics olympiads and a special award at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, which I joined after being awarded first prize at the Italian national competition.
In 2003, I enrolled at the University of Pavia, among the oldest in Europe, founded in 1361. In Pavia I was also a fellow of the Collegio Borromeo and a student of the Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori (IUSS), one of the three grandes écoles in Italy, together with the Scuola Normale Superiore and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa. In 2006, I graduated summa cum laude in physics (110/110 e lode in the Italian system). I continued with a graduate training in condensed matter, which I completed summa cum laude in 2009.
The first course I took in the history of science was a IUSS course on the foundations of Einstein’s relativity theory, offered by Jürgen Renn (MPIWG). On that occasion, I came to understand that I loved history as much as I loved natural science. In addition to the mandatory courses in physics and specialized classes in condensed matter, I did undergraduate work under Fabio Bevilacqua, former president of the European Society for the History of Science, and graduate research under Lucio Fregonese, former president of the Italian Society for the History of Physics and Astronomy. With them I worked on the history of Western science from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to both my mentors: it was primarily thanks to their infusing within me the passion for research that I decided to pursue a career in the history of science.
In 2009, I moved to the University of Chicago where I focused on historical methods under Avi Sharma (now at TU Berlin) for one year. In 2010, I joined the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science. I did most of my doctoral work under Robert Richards, Leo Kadanoff, and John Heilbron (UC Berkeley and Oxford). In 2016, I defended a dissertation on the spread of Newtonianism in early modern Italy, parts of which were published in Annals of Science. Crucial was the support of Domenico Bertoloni Meli (IU Bloomington) and Stephen Stigler, who joined my doctoral committee. In 2014–16, I served as the Lead Community Fellow of International House at the University of Chicago under the directorship of Denise Jorgens. Fundamental at this stage of my development was the presence of Paolo Cherchi, with whom I had several inspiring conversations while living in Hyde Park, as well as Dario Maestripieri, who provided me with crucial directions in the period that followed my graduation.
In 2017, I started postdoctoral research with the support of a Faculty Research Grant from the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge (2018–20), and I began collaborating with Benoît Roux and Giovanni Ciccotti (University of Rome “La Sapienza”), who have been crucial in orienting me towards computer simulations. I then joined the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society as a research fellow (2019–21). A notable work produced in that period boasted a collaboration with Martin Karplus (Harvard University). In fall 2020, I was awarded the prize for best communication in the History of Physics at the 106th National Conference of the Italian Physical Society, and I accepted an offer to join the faculty of the Department of History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Peking University, where I am currently an assistant professor in the history of science.
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