Fondazione Sigma-Tau

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Fondazione Sigma-Tau is an institution that aims to promote and share scientific knowledge and interdisciplinary dialogue between branches of learning. It was created as a charitable organization and is recognized by law with Presidential Decree No. 648 of 4 August 1986. Chaired by Silvia Cavazza, Sigma-Tau acts as a national and international point of reference for research development, cultural debate and the promotion of scientific progress, introducing for the first time, the concepts of entirety and complexity normally vested in the humanities.

Fondazione Sigma-Tau fosters outreach and development activities, such as seminars, conferences, lectures, round tables and events, in collaboration with universities, research institutes, and the world of culture and science.


Since 1989, Fondazione Sigma-Tau has launched important projects and many conferences and meetings from which a vast number of publications have arisen, such as the volumes published by Bari based Editore Laterza, from the Lezioni Italiane (Italian Lessons) cycle, and the proceedings from SpoletoScienza in particular.

Spoleto Science[edit]

Spoleto Science festival (SpoletoScienza) – the precursor of the many outdoor literature and philosophy festivals, and venue par excellence of cultural contamination – was established in 1989 as an add-on to the banner of the Festival dei Due Mondi (Festival of the two worlds), with the début title What is knowledge? (Che cos’è la conoscenza?); seemingly simple yet at the same time strongly representative of the character of the scientific and intellectual world. It became an event able to capture the curiosity of the public and anticipate trends in thinking. Each year in the halls of the cloister of San Nicolò, the most important names in global scientific learning and artistic creativity meet to compare practices and respective languages. Topics discussed vary from the debate Mente, Corpo e Linguaggio: cosa ne pensano i ... Robot? (Mind, body and language: what do robots think?) in 2003, to Indagine sul futuro di Gaia (Investigation into the future of Gaia) on global climate change organized in 2006, followed a year later with a symposium on La Scienza nell’era della sua comunicazione digitale (Science in the era of digital communication), and the 2009 and 2010 editions that focused on the themes of energy, disease and ageing.

Fondazione Sigma-Tau Laboratory[edit]

Active from 1996 to 2006 as a Spoleto Science festival focus area, the laboratory not only analyzes the elements that identify and characterize the medical profession, but also the more sensitive aspects in the field of conditions that affect the human body; studying them for metabolic and energetic profiling in particular. The round tables of Fondazione Sigma-Tau Laboratory, which often used work groups and role-playing, were geared to increasing and spreading information on themes such as the doctor-patient relationship and error management in medicine, cancer as a metabolic syndrome, and also the testing of financial management models in the National health system.

Italian lessons[edit]

Following the Anglo-American lecture model, and paraphrasing Italo Calvino, the Italian lessons project (Lezioni italiane), active since 1991, offers informal seminars at university campuses with a scientist from Italy or elsewhere. A wide audience of non-specialists are introduced to a cutting-edge scientific or philosophical research topic, based on European directives of continuing education and using non-technical language. The project has produced on average two titles every year, published by Laterza and translated into other languages.

Permanent forum on scientific reasoning[edit]

Launched in 1999 with the round table, Biotechnologies of germ cells – opportunities and limits (Biotecnologie delle cellule germinali − opportunità e limiti), the forum aims to grow a debate in Italy on the social effects of scientific research, through a discussion that helps to ensure a more complete understanding of the decisions made and shared.

Science on-stage[edit]

This project was the brainchild of Luca Ronconi, then director, and Sergio Escobar, of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, that emerged from the need to refresh the dramatic structure through a genuine intellectual challenge. The project was launched in 1999 with the theatrical interpretation and staging of scientific texts. What this immediately revealed, as confirmed by Giulio Giorello, professor of Philosophy of Science at the University of Milan, was “one of the most powerful means with which to come to terms with the natural and technical transformations of reality, and one of the most extraordinary opportunities for achieving a truly universal community.”

Lessons on the Medicine of Complexity[edit]

An international symposium in Milan on the interaction between the metabolic system and the DNA of cells in 1999, marked the launch of the project Lessons on the Medicine of Complexity (Lezioni sulla Medicina della Complessità), aimed at understanding the current, innovative prospects offered by the metabolic approach to disease, in the field of research of degenerative pathology and the limitation of damage caused by ageing. In November 2010, 11 years after its début, the project celebrated Mitochondrial DNA Day with a conference attended by Masashi Tanaka, leader of the Core Research Team of Genomics for Longevity and Health at Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology.

Continuing Education in Medicine (CEM)[edit]

During 2002-2006, Fondazione Sigma-Tau established a program of continuing education in medicine, for the vocational training and retraining of public and private health professionals, which includes 150 training credits.

On the radio: Moebius[edit]

Continuing with the central theme promoted by Fondazione Sigma-Tau, science communication had top billing on the scientific program broadcast on the Radio 24 radio station with Moebius on air.

Latest projects[edit]

The carnitine website Carnitina Official Site launched in 2010 is one of the most important sources of information online on carnitine worldwide. Promoted by Fondazione Gianni Benzi and Fondazione Sigma-Tau, the website can be found at [1].

Spoleto Science Festival Publications[edit]

  • Alterando il Destino dell’umanità (2006)
  • Il governo della scienza (2003)
  • La nuova Odissea (2002)
  • Aree di contagio (2000)
  • Limiti e frontiere della scienza (1999)
  • La medicina di Darwin (1998)
  • Il patto col diavolo (1997)
  • Il sapere della guarigione (1996)
  • In principio era la cura (1995)
  • Il caso e la libertà (1994)
  • La passione del conoscere (1993)
  • Immagini e metafore della scienza (1992)
  • La narrazione delle origini (1991)
  • Che cos'è la conoscenza? (1990)

Publications from Italian Lessons[edit]

  • EBM. Medicina basata sull'evoluzione (2007)
  • Scienza e politica. La lotta per il consenso (2005)
  • Penna, pennello e bacchetta. Le tre invidie del matematico (2004)
  • Tempo delle cose, tempo della vita, tempo dell'anima (2003)
  • Galileo e il fotodiodo. Cervello, complessità e coscienza (2003)
  • La fabbrica delle storie (2002)
  • Davanti alla morte (2002)
  • I giovani pazienti di Galeno (2001)
  • La mente non funziona così (2001)
  • Le logiche del delirio. Ragione, affetti, follia (2000)
  • La medicina come scienza filosofica (1998)
  • Gene, organismo e ambiente (1998)
  • La svolta semiotica (1998)
  • Il calderone di Medea. La sperimentazione sul vivente nell’Antichità (1996)
  • Sonno & sogno (1996)
  • L’avvenire della psicoanalisi e la causalità psichica (1995)
  • Biologia e filosofia della mente (1995)
  • Oltre l’interpretazione (1994)
  • Siamo soli? Implicazioni filosofiche della scoperta della vita extraterrestre (1994)
  • Le leggi del caos (1993)
  • Le politiche della ragione (1993)
  • Modelli psicoanalitici. Mito, passione, memoria (1992)
  • Il pragmatismo: una questione aperta (1992)
  • Perchè il mondo è matematico? (1992)
  • Un know-how per l'etica (1992)
  • Il testo del tempo (1992)
  • Ascesa e declino degli intellettuali in Europa (1992)

Fondazione Sigma-Tau conferences – participating Nobel Prize winners[edit]

(New York, 30/5/1912 – Rockville, 29/12/2004) Biochemist

(Uddingston, Scotland, 14/07/1924 – 22/03/2010) Pharmacologist

(Catanzaro, 22/2/1914) Biologist

(Melbourne, 27/1/1903 - Locarno, 2/5/1997) Neurophysiologist

(New York, 1/7/1929) Biologist

(Boston, 21/3/1932) Biochemist and physicist

(New York, 11/12/1925) Neuroscientist

(27/02/1926, Windsor, Canada) Doctor and neuroscientist

(Brooklyn, N.Y. 31/5/1941) Biochemist

(Vienna, 7/11/1929) Neurologist, psychiatrist and neuroscientist

(Montclair, New Jersey, 23/5/1925 – New York, 2/02/2008). Microbiologist, one of the founders of modern biotechnology

(Turin, 22/4/1909) Scientist and Italian senator

(20/5/1944, Landsberg am Lech) Physicist and biophysicist

(Moscow, 25/1/1917 - Bruselles, 28/5/2003) Chemist and physicist

(28/5/1942, Des Moines) Biochemist and neurologist

(Adelaide, 11 June 1937) Scientist and doctor

(Uppsala, 1924) Doctor and neuroscientist