Piero Angela

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Piero Angela

Piero Angela 2013.JPG
Born (1928-12-22) 22 December 1928 (age 92)
OccupationScience Journalist
Years active1952–present
Height1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
ChildrenAlberto Angela
AwardsKalinga Prize (1993)

Piero Angela Grand Officer OMRI (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjɛːro ˈandʒela]; born 22 December 1928)[1] is an Italian television host, science journalist, writer and pianist.

He started as a radio reporter, then became a foreign correspondent, and established himself as the host of the Rai newscast. He is best known as the creator and presenter of broadcasting programs modeled on BBC and David Attenborough documentaries, and also for his scientific journalism published in numerous publications.[2]

Angela has written thirty-three books, which sold over three million copies, received many honorary degrees, made over sixty documentaries and hundreds of television episodes, won seven Telegattos and eight times won the national television directing award.[3]

Early life[edit]

Angela was born in Turin, the son of Nella Maglia and Carlo Angela, an anti-fascist doctor, who was awarded the Medal of the "Righteous among the Nations" on 29 August 2001.[4]

At the age of one Angela nearly died from pneumonia. Several years later had a broken leg reconstructed without anesthesia and at the age of 12 underwent an appendicitis operation; the surgery went on for two and a half hours due to complications. [5]

He attended the classical high school in Turin.[6][7]

Piero Angela wrote that rationality was taught to him by his father.[8] According to his colleague Gigi Marzullo "his perfect self-control and his sympathetic friendliness is a reflection of his shy nature and encoded in the genetic code of this Piedmontese education in rationality and tolerance”.[9] Angela did well in almost all studies, but he did the minimum of work required.[5] Angela said he received "a very Piedmontese education: very rigid, with very strict principles, including that of diffidence, never exhibiting".[9] Angela wrote referring to his school education:

"Personally, I got bored mortally in school and I was a bad student. All those involved in teaching should constantly remember the ancient Latin motto "ludendo docere", that is, "teach with fun". "[10]


Individuals who are most successful (and not only men) are usually strong inside and courteous outside. It's a bit like the piano. I always remember what my old piano teacher used to say to me: to have a good touch you need steel fingers in velvet gloves ... Maybe in life it is like that.[8]

— Piero Angela

Angela began taking private piano lessons when he was seven years old; he later developed an interest in jazz music. By 1948, he played in various jam sessions in Turin jazz clubs using the name Peter Angela.[11]

In 1948 he was noticed by the then young entrepreneur Sergio Bernardini, who invited him to play on the opening night of the Capannina in Viareggio.[12] By the early fifties Angela formed with drummer Franco Mondini and various double bass players a jazz trio. The trio was often joined by soloists, such as Nini Rosso, Franco Pisano, Nunzio Rotondo, and the former cornetist of Duke Ellington, Rex Stewart. Angela and Mondini played with Nunzio Rotondo's quartet for some time.[13] He also played at this time with Franco Cerri, with whom in 1946, they would ride their bicycles to hear the concerts from outside of a Turin restaurant because they were unable to buy tickets.[14]


At the end of 1951, Angela began collaborating on a program on the history of Jazz for RAI. By 1952 he stopped playing music and began working full time as a journalist. First as reporter and contributor. Angela has spent nine years in Paris, four years in Brussels as a correspondent and toured America as a correspondent for RAI.

His wife, Margherita Pastore, gave up her career as a dancer and married Piero when she was 19, and went with Angela to Paris. According to Margherita: "We didn't make a decision, but the strange thing that you have inside and that makes you act sometimes not completely rationally, but beautifully. That same thing that had already bewitched us at first glance, during a birthday party in the home of mutual friends." While in Paris their daughter, Christine, and son, Alberto, were born. Angela has an audio recording of the birth of his two children.[5]

Fabiano Fabiani asked to come to Rome to work on television. Fabiani said to Angela: "Enough with the speaking the news on radio, I want the journalists on television." In 1968 Angela was the first anchor alternating with Andrea Barbato on the National Television News at 13.30, the lunch time edition of the news.[3]

Angela has written 33 books which have sold over three million copies, received many honorary degrees, made about sixty documentaries and hundreds of television episodes, won seven Telegacts and eight times the national television directing award.[5][3]

In 1969 Angela left RAI newscast with the idea of making longer more detailed programs: "I realized that what really interested me was doing not deal with ten news items a day, but the news for a year".[5]

Scientific journalism[edit]

Piero Angela along with his son Alberto in 1993

Influenced by the documentary lesson of Roberto Rossellini, in 1968 Piero Angela produced a series of documentaries entitled The Future in Space, on the theme of the Apollo program; during the filming carried out in the United States he also made numerous live connections for RAI on the occasion of the launch of the Saturn V carrier which brought the first astronauts to the moon.[5] Then began a long activity of scientific disclosure that in the following years led him to produce numerous information transmissions including "Destination Man" (Destinazione Uomo), "From zero to three years" (Da zero a tre anni), "Where does the world go?" (Dove va il mondo?), "In the darkness of light years" (Nel buio degli anni luce), "Critical investigation of parapsychology" (Indagine critica sulla parapsicologia), "In the cosmos in search of life" (Nel cosmo all ricerca della vita). Starting from 1971 he hosted, for Rai 1, a series of scientific TV programs about astronomy, biology, global economy, parapsychology and others.[2]

In 1981 he started his most famous show, Quark which, as of 2019, is still active although in different forms. Quark was hosted weekly until 1983, and spawned a large number of specials and spin-offs dedicated to several scientific topics, from dinosaurs to human biology, from history to anthropology, from astronomy and cosmology to economy.

"The title is a bit curious and we borrowed it from physics, where many studies are in progress on certain hypothetical subnuclear particles called, precisely, quarks, which would be the smallest bricks of matter known so far. It is therefore an exploring into things", explained Angela during the first episode in 1981.[15]

The Quark formula was at the time particularly innovative: all the technological means available and the resources of television communication were used to familiarize them with the topics covered: the BBC and David Attenborough documentaries, the Bruno Bozzetto cartoons used to explain the most difficult concepts, the interviews with the experts exposed in the clearest possible language compatible with the complexity of the topics, the explanations in the studio. From the basic program several spin-offs were born, some of which are still produced: naturalistic documentaries ("Special Quark" and "Il mondo di Quark"), financial ("Quark Economia") and politicians ("Quark Europa").

Piero Angela in 2006

In 1984 Angela produced "Quark's Pills" (Pillole di Quark), a thirty-second spot on technical, scientific, educational, social, medical topics, which was broadcast at variable times on Rai1. In the same year Angela created the first talk show for mixed entertainment for scientific dissemination: six first nights live from the Foro Italico, with guests from the world of culture, science, entertainment and sport on stage to interact with the audience.

In 1995 Quark was succeeded by SuperQuark, lasting two hours instead of one. Starting from 2000, Piero Angela and his son Alberto introduced Ulisse, a monographic show dedicated to human history and discoveries.[16]

In 1986 and 1987 he conducted two prime-time shows on climate issues from the Turin Palazzetto dello Sport in front of eight thousand spectators: atmosphere and oceans, followed by three television series that exploited new computer graphic: a journey inside the human body ("The Wonderful Machine"), in prehistory ("The Planet of the Dinosaurs"), and in space ("Journey in the Cosmos"). These series, created in collaboration with his son Alberto, were translated into English and sold in over forty European, American and Asian countries, including Arab and China countries.

In 1988 he is also Italian Quark, a series of documentaries of nature, environment, exploration, animal world produced and made by Italian authors, including Alberto Angela [his son] himself, who made some documentaries in Africa.

In his autobiography he described the circumstances that led to Superquark, when in order to counter competition with Mediaset it was necessary to have a strong program in the early evening up until the Nightly Newscast. Brando Giordani, then director of RAI 1, phoned me asking me to do a "Quark" of two hours instead of one."

Piero Angela in 2014

In fact, in 1995 Superquark was born, during which, on June 4, 1999, two thousand episodes of the Quark Project and related subsidiaries were celebrated. That same year are also the Superquark Specials, monothematic evenings on subjects of great social, psychological and scientific interest, and the collaboration in the television program Domenica in, in which Piero Angela was the anchor of a space dedicated to culture. In 1997 "Quark Atlante – Images from the planet" was born from a Quark rib.

Finally, since 2000 Piero and Alberto Angela have been authors of Ulysses, a monographic installment program concerning historical and scientific discoveries.[16]

Parallel to the popularizing activity on television, Piero Angela has carried out and still carries out publishing activities, always with information content. He has long been the editor of the "Science and Society" [Scienza e società] column in the weekly TV series, Smiles and Songs (Sorrisi e Canzoni). Angela was also the founder and supervisor of the monthly Quark, which he founded in 2001 and dissolved in 2006 due to lack of funds. The monthly magazine, inspired by the television program dealt with scientific topics in a manner accessible to the public.[17][circular reference] Piero Angela is also the author of over thirty books, many of them translated into English, German and Spanish, with a total circulation of over three million copies.[16]

Other activities[edit]

Piero Angela shakes hands with 12 year-old Marina Brunello at the Turin 2006 chess olympiad.

In 1989 Angela was one of the founders of CICAP, a scientific committee to promote scientific education and the critical thinking and devoted to verification of allegedly scientific disciplines such as parapsychology. In May 2016 he was appointed Honorary President.[16][18] A slogan of the association, "We must always have an open mind, but not so open that the brain falls to the ground", has become a phrase frequently attributed to Angela, although in reality it is attributed to many people.[19]

In 1996 the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICOP) presented Angela with the Responsibility in Journalism Award.[20] In his program Investigation on parapsychology (1978) he revealed methods and tricks used by mediums and gurus in their activities; the interest to debunk the quackery was the basis of the birth of CICAP (Italian Committee for the Control of Claims on Pseudosciences), of which he is still honorary president.[5]

In 2000 Piero Angela was sued for defamation by two homeopathic associations (FIAMO and SIMO in a civil case and a criminal case), following the broadcast of Superquark of 11 July 2000 in which the homeopathic medicine was said to have no scientific foundation. [27] Angela, defended by lawyers Giulia Bongiorno and Franco Coppi, was acquitted in both cases and the judge recognized the unscientific nature of the discipline.[21][5]

Angela has also written a large number of popular books, starting with L'uomo e la marionetta in 1972. Many were in collaboration with his son Alberto.

On religions and deities Angela has an agnostic approach and considers death a "nuisance".[5]


  • Angela has received many honorary degrees. In addition to numerous awards in Italy and abroad, in 1993 he received the Kalinga Award for scientific dissemination by UNESCO and in 2002 the gold medal for the culture of the Italian Republic.[5]
  • He received seven telegatti, of which one oversaw his entire career - awarded on 22 January 2008.[5]
  • On 3 October 2010 he received the Special Jury Prize of the Literary Award Giuseppe Dessì.
  • The asteroid 7197 discovered by astronomers Andrea Boattini and Maura Tombelli bears his name: Pieroangela.[5]
  • There is a gastropod mollusk named Babylonia pieroangelai in his honor[5]
  • Padua, a city linked to Galileo, recognized its honorary citizenship for its "contribution of excellence given to scientific dissemination".[22]
  • Turin, his own hometown, on October 23, 2017, decided to give him honorary citizenship for "the living confirmation of the scientific tradition of the city" and having contributed with his professional career to increase "culture and knowledge" of the Italians also through the television medium ".[23]


  • Honorary degree in Natural Sciences- University of Camerino, 26 January 1988
  • Honorary degree in Biology- University of Ferrara, Ferrara 15 February 1992
  • Honorary degree in Biological Sciences - University of Palermo, Palermo 30 June 2001
  • Honorary degree in Physics- University of Turin, Turin June 23, 2003
  • Honorary degree in Veterinary Medicine- University of Bari, Bari 18 November 2004
  • Honorary degree in Materials science and technology- University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome 5 April 2016
  • Honorary degree in Applied Biology and Experimental Medicine- University of Messina, Messina 24 November 2017
  • Honorary Degree in Communication Science and Technology University of Siena, Siena 15 June 2019
  • Honorary degree- American University of Rome, Rome
  • Diploma honoris causa in Piano- International Piano Academy "Incontri da maestro", Imola

List of television programs[edit]

All the following programs have been broadcast by Rai Uno.

  • Il futuro nello spazio (1968)
  • Destinazione uomo (1971)
  • Da zero a tre anni
  • Dove va il mondo?
  • Nel buio degli anni luce
  • Indagine sulla parapsicologia (1978)
  • Nel cosmo alla ricerca della vita (1980)
  • Quark (since 1981), and related sister projects:
    • Pillole di Quark (since 1983)
    • Il mondo di Quark (since 1984)
    • Quark Economia (1986)
    • Quark Europa (1986)
    • Quark Speciale
    • Quark Scienza
    • Enciclopedia di Quark (1993)
    • Superquark (since 1994)
    • Speciali di Superquark (since 1999)
  • La macchina meravigliosa (1990)
  • Serata Oceano (1991)
  • Il pianeta dei dinosauri (1993)
  • Viaggio nel cosmo (1998)

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Extraordinary Story of Human Origins By Piero Angela and Alberto Angela ISBN 978-0879758035
  • The Extraordinary Story of Life on Earth Hardcover – March 1, 1996 By Piero Angela and Alberto Angela ISBN 9781573920438
  • Sharks!: Predators of the Sea by Piero Angela Publisher: Courage Books (1722) ASIN B01K3HAY4G
  • Ti amerò per sempre. La scienza dell'amore (Italian) Hardcover[I will Always Love You. The science of love] Language: Italian ISBN 978-8804514909
  • Stregati dalla Luna: Il sogno del volo spaziale da Jules Verne all'Apollo 11 (Audible) Maria Giulia Andretta (Author), Marco Ciardi (Author), Piero Angela (Author), Laura Righi (Narrator), Audible Studios
  • Da zero a tre anni. (Italian) Unknown Binding – January 1, 1990 [From zero to three years.] by Piero ANGELA - (Author)
  • La macchina per pensare (Italian) Paperback – 1990 Piero Angela Paperback: 286 pages Publisher: Garzanti (1990) Language: Italian ISBN 978-8811520238
  • Nel buio degli anni luce [In the darkness of light years] Paperback Publisher: Milano, Garzanti (January 1, 1977) Language: Italian ISBN 978-8811517184
  • Tredici miliardi di anni. Il romanzo dell'universo e della vita [Thirteen billion years. The novel of the universe and of life] Apr 20, 2017 Piero Angela Paperback Publisher: Mondadori (April 20, 2017) Language: Italian ISBN 978-8804679035


  1. ^ Ravizza, Simona (1 July 2010). "Piero Angela «Sono del 28 e guido bene, più pericolosi i ragazzi»" [PIERO ANGELA "I'm from 1928 and I drive well, young people are more dangerous"]. Corriere della Sera (in Italian): 27. Archived from the original on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 24 Oct 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Angela, Piero". Enciclopedie on line, Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  3. ^ a b c CRESTO-DINA, DARIO (7 December 2008). "Piero Angela". Retrieved 29 October 2019. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ "CARLO ANGELA 1875 - 1949". Gariwo. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Menietti, Emanuele (22 December 2018). "90 cose sui 90 anni di Piero Angela" [90 things about the 90 years of Piero Angela]. Post (in Italian). Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  6. ^ "D'Azeglio\Liceo Classico Statale Storia" [High school D'Azeglio]. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Assoicazone Ex Allievi del Liceo Classico Vittorio Alfferi di Torino" [Association of alumni of the Vittorio Alfieri Classical High School in Turin]. Archived from the original on 21 November 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  8. ^ a b Angela, Piero (1995). Viaggi Nella Scienza [Travels in Science]. Garzanti. p. 208. ISBN 881152024X.
  9. ^ a b Marzullo, Gigi (1999). Bellidinotte: Guerrieri moderni & Cavalieri d'altri tempi [Bellidinotte: Modern Warriors & Knights of the Past] (in Italian). Alfredo Guide Publisher. pp. 9, 16. ISBN 8871883047.
  10. ^ Angela, Piero (1985). La macchina per pensare [The thinking Machine] (in Italian). Garzanti libri. ISBN 9788811739685.
  11. ^ Gatto, Gerlando (18 December 2015). "Parla Toni Lama L'epopea dello Swing Club nella Torino degli anni '60 e '70" [Toni Lama talks about the epic era of the Turin Swing Club in the 60s and 70s]. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  12. ^ Izzo, Alessandra; Tarli, Tiziano (10 February 2017). Italian Nightclubbing: Deliri, follie e rock’n’roll negli storici club del Bel Paese [Italian nightclubbing. Delusions, follies and rock'n'roll in the historic clubs of the beautiful country] (in Italian). Arcana. ISBN 9788862318273.
  13. ^ Basso, Marco (11 December 2008). "Piero Angela suona il jazz" [Piero Angela plays jazz]. La Stampa (in Italian).
  14. ^ "Piero Angela racconta il jazz di Franco Cerri" [Piero Angela talks about the jazz of Franco Cerri] (in Italian). Spettacolo. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  15. ^ Berti, Barbara (22 December 2018). "Piero Angela compie 90 anni. Le frasi celebri del 'papà' di Quark" [Piero Angela turns 90 years old. The famous phrases of Quark's "dad"] (in Italian). Quotidiano.net. Retrieved 3 November 2019. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ a b c d "Piero Angela". Biografie. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  17. ^ "Quark_(rivista)".
  18. ^ "Piero Angela nominato "Presidente onorario" del CICAP". Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  19. ^ By all means maintain an open mind, but not so open that your brain falls out. (quoted as a proverb in The Skeptical Inquirer, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, 2001, vol. 25, p. 67)
  20. ^ "CSICOP Award Winners". Skeptical Inquirer. 20 (5): 7. 1996.
  21. ^ Longhin, DIEGO (13 May 2018). "La lezione ironica di Piero Angela: "La velocità della luce non si decide a maggioranza"" [Piero Angela's ironic lesson: "The speed of light is not decided by majority"]. la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  22. ^ Quaranta, Silvia (23 February 2016). "A Piero Angela la cittadinanza onoraria di Padova" [Piero Angela is made an honorary citizen of Padua]. di Padova il Mattino. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  23. ^ "Torino, cittadinanza onoraria a Piero Angela" [Turin, honorary citizenship to Piero Angela]. ask news (in Italian). 23 October 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2019.

External links[edit]