Luciano Maiani, President of Italian CNR, visits the ESRF


On 8 April 2011, the ESRF and neighbouring ILL welcomed a delegation from Italy headed by Professor Luciano Maiani, President of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), the entity that funds and coordinates a major part of the country’s public research. CNR also represents the Italian interests in the ESRF and ILL Council.

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Professor Maiani was accompanied by the Heads of the Italian delegations to the Councils of the ESRF and the ILL along with other high-ranking officials. The objective of the visit included exploratory discussions how to increase the visibility of the ESRF in various scientific communities in Italy, notably in the context of stimulating industrial innovation from publicly funded research.

Today, Italian scientists account to close to 13% of the users of the ESRF, with an important community in solid-state and nuclear physics. More recent fields like geosciences and environment, new materials and sustainable energy research are however less prominently represented.

Professor Maiani noted with satisfaction the high representation of Italians among the ESRF’s scientists and Ph.D. students; with 35%, they actually represent the biggest group among the many nationalities of the Ph.D. students.

After a visit of the accelerator main control room, the visit comprised ESRF beamlines ID21 and ID23 as well as the CRG beamline GILDA BM08, which is operated by the CNR. The afternoon included a visit to the installations of the neighbouring ILL.

“I am very pleased in the interest the CNR is taking in the ESRF and in widening the benefits of the ESRF for Italy’s researchers both academic and industrial. Working together with Sincrotrone Elettra, its national light source, there will be a bright future ahead for synchrotron science in Italy”, was the joint conclusion made by Francesco Sette and Luciano Maiani at the end of the visit.

Francesco Sette showing microscopic samples of Roman wall paintings from Pompeii.

Francesco Sette, ESRF Director General, showing microscopic samples of Roman wall paintings from Pompeii that have been studied at the ESRF beamline ID21 to better understand blackening of originally red pigments.


Explanation of operation of the accelerator complex.

Andrea Franchi explaining operation of the accelerator complex. From left to right:  Professor Carlo Maria Bertoni, Head of Delegation for Italy, ESRF Council, Manuel Rodriguez-Castellano, ESRF Director of Administration, Professor Maiani, and Francesco Sette.


Demonstration of automated sample changing and positioning at beamline ID23.

Gianluca Cioci, Industrial liaison scientist, demonstrating automated sample changing and positioning at beamline ID23.