Antonino Zichichi

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Antonino Zichichi.

Antonino Zichichi (Italian: [antoˈniːno dziˈkiːki]; born October 15, 1929) is an Italian physicist who has worked in the field of nuclear physics. An ISI highly cited researcher[citation needed], he has served as President of the World Federation of Scientists and as a professor at the University of Bologna.


Zichichi was born in Trapani, Sicily, in 1929. He has collaborated on several important discoveries in the field of sub-nuclear physics and has worked in some of the most important research laboratories in the world (Fermilab in Chicago, CERN in Geneva, etc.). He is known to the Italian public for his popularization of scientific ideas, both as the author of numerous books and essays and because of his appearances on television programs. Zichichi places an emphasis on trying to demonstrate that there is no contradiction between science and the Catholic faith.

In 1963, he founded the Centro Ettore Majorana of Erice, dedicated to scientific culture.[1][2]

He was president of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare from 1977 up to 1982 and in 1980 he strongly backed the creation of the Laboratori Nazionali del Gran Sasso. Currently, he is an emeritus professor of physics at the University of Bologna. He is president of the World Federation of Scientists, an organization concerned with the fight against planetary emergencies.[3] He is an ISI highly cited researcher.[4]

Zichichi was at the center of a diplomatic incident during the elections for director of CERN: a letter from the Ministry of Research nominated him for the position, since there was an informal rotation of seats taking place. But the pressure brought to bear on the part of Italy in favor of Zichichi caused a sharp break at CERN between Italy and the supporters of other candidates. The candidacy of Zichichi was rejected by 12 votes and a German, Herwig F. Schopper, was elected in his place. The Italian government threatened to retaliate by cutting its funding of CERN, passing to the status of non-contributing observer nation.[citation needed]

Another incident involving Zichichi concerned a Eucharistic pantomime which took place at L'Aquila, where a chorus of students begged Zichichi to explain the mysteries of the atom, after which there followed a conference. The episode caused another rupture: he was sharply criticized by one large section of the University heads, and appreciated by another, with the particular support of the leaders of the Christian Democrats, the party to which Zichichi was tied.[citation needed]

In his essay L'irresistibile fascino del tempo ("The Irresistible Fascination of Time") he cites the rule of the "Perfect Calendar" in an attempt to improve on the Gregorian Calendar by eliminating three days every 10,000 years. In this system, the days of the year are 365, plus one every four years, minus three every four centuries, and minus three every 10,000 years. Zichichi therefore accepts the idea of not considering as leap years the years 4,000, 8,000 and 12,000 which, according to the Gregorian calendar, would be leap years. The definition of a high-precision calendar (superior to the Gregorian) has been studied at various times and places: in particular, the Persian calendar defined in the 11th century is very precise and one was created by Milutin Milanković at the request of the orthodox church.

In November 2012 he accepted an offer from newly elected Sicilian president Rosario Crocetta to become the new Regional Minister for Cultural Heritage. In March 2013 he was removed from this position by Crocetta.

Honors and assignments[edit]


  • L'infinito, Lausanne, G. Galilei, 1988; Milano, Rizzoli, 1994; Milano, Nuova Pratiche Editrice, 1998.
  • Scienza ed emergenze planetarie. Il paradosso dell'era moderna, Milano, Rizzoli, 1993.
  • Perché io credo in Colui che ha fatto il mondo, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 1999, ISBN 88-428-0714-1
  • L'irresistibile fascino del Tempo. Dalla resurrezione di Cristo all'universo subnucleare, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2000, ISBN 88-515-2004-6
  • Subnuclear Physics. The first 50 years highlights from Erice to ELN, Singapore, World Scientific, 2000.
  • Galilei divin uomo, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2001, ISBN 88-428-0943-8
  • Il vero e il falso. Passeggiando tra le stelle e a casa nostra, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2003, ISBN 88-428-1078-9
  • Galilei. Dall'Ipse Dixit al processo di oggi. 100 risposte, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2004, ISBN 88-428-1174-2
  • Tra Fede e Scienza. Da Giovanni Paolo II a Benedetto XVI, Milano, Il Saggiatore, 2005, ISBN 88-428-1310-9
  • Creativity in Science, World Scientific, 1996
  • Giovanni Paolo II. Il Papa Amico della Scienza, Marco Tropea Editore, 2011, ISBN 88-558-0180-5
  • Zichichi, A.,"Bruno Pontecorvo and his vision"; the content of the paper is a part of the special volume published by the Italian Physical Society (2013) to celebrate the Hundredth Anniversary of Bruno Pontecorvo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zichichi, Antonino (July 2006). "Ettore Majorana: genius and mystery". CERN Courier. 46 (6): 23–26.
  2. ^ Zichichi, Antonino (October 2009). "The queen of all sciences and Intelligent Design". CERN Courier. 49 (8): 42.
  3. ^ "The World Federation of Scientists home page". WFS. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  4. ^ "ISI Highly Cited: Antonino Zichichi". Institute for Scientific Information. Retrieved July 23, 2010.

External links[edit]