INFN: Aim and organization
The mission of the INFN is to promote, coordinate
and carry out the research on the
fundamental constituents of matter of the Universe, i.e. the research in Nuclear, Subnuclear
and Astroparticle Physics, by developing the necessary technologies
in close connection with the
University and in an international environement.
- Collaborate with other scientific
and technological Italian and foreign research centres contribute
to the formation process of Europe.
- Work with organizing efficiency and preserve the freedom of
- Promote the scientific excellence by developing advance
instrumentation and involving the National Industry.;
- Take care of the diffusion of
scientific culture specially between the young people;
- Promote the formation of the young people in the fields of
applied and fundamental research;
- Intensify the interplay between the research activities and
the transfer of knowledge therefore making
the Italian Enterprise more competitive;
- Development different applications of Nuclear and
Subnuclear techniques in the fileds of medicine, cultural
assets and environment;
- Promote the image of Italian science and technology in the
The activities of the INFN are based on two
types of complementary research structures: the Divisions and the
National Laboratories. The Divisions are located in University
department buildings and exploit the close connections between the Institute and University.
The National Laboratories are large
infrastructures available to the national and international
scientific community. At the moment , the institution is made up of
19 divisions, 4 national laboratories, 11 connected groups, the EGO (European
Gravitational Observatory) Consortium, the CNAF computer Centre,
the Central Administration in Frascati and the Presidency in Rome.
The INFN staff counts approximately 2000
personal employees and approximately 2000 university employees involved with the institutes activities. To
these numbers one must add approximately 1300 students that are graduating
students, scholarship students and PHD students.
The history of the Division of Turin
History, it is known, is made by men and facts.
The facts are very simple: the National Institute of Nuclear Physics was
Rome on the 8th
of August 1951. The purpose was to coordinate the
scientific activities of the study center for Nuclear Physics of Rome, the
study centre of the fast ions of Padova and the experimental and theoretical
centre of Nuclear Physics of Torino. The following year, a governing decree
stated that the INFN was made up of divisions and therefore to the existing
three was added the department of Milano and the Laboratory of Cosmic Rays of
An event of such importance, able to give a new and innovating imprint
to the physics research from after the war to today, does not happen by
chance but as a consequence of a relevant cultural environment which acts
as a substrate for the development of new ideas.
In November 1948, Gleb Wataghin
Torino from Brasil, after having founded a school of physics of
Together with Romolo Deaglio and Mario Verde they formed a team of high international level.
These events obviously needed a political coverage which was given by
another great inhabitant of Torino, Professor Gustavo Colonnetti
, a professor of Science of Construction at the Politecnico and president of the CNR.
Thanks to him, the Italian participation at the CERN, strongly wanted by Edoardo Amaldi but largely opposed by the politicians, became a reality.
Gleb Wataghin (Torino), Gilberto Bernardini
(Rome), Antonio Rostagni (Padova), Pietro Caldirola (Milano) and
Edoardo Amaldi (Rome), finally managed to fulfill Enrico Fermi's
already in the heroic years of Via Panisperna, he had understood that to
carry on the studies of nuclear physics at an international competitive
level, the funds available in each single university were not sufficient
and therefore a national board that could coordinate the construction
of a large accelerator was necessary. The formal demand asked by Fermi to
Mussolini in 1937 was rejected.
The ill-famed racial laws were soon approved, therefore Enrico Fermi and
Bruno Rossi had to flee to the USA and then came the war.
After the war, the country begins its moral and physical
reconstruction and so does physics research, which like the entire
country had come out of the war in pieces. During these years,
FIAT was interested in basic research and the peaceful use of
nuclear energy. The CEO of the company,
Vittorio Valletta, with knuckle-duster tried to
diversify the interests new and promising fields.
The FIAT and CNR took part
in the construction of the Testa Grigia Laboratory for the study
of cosmic rays, in Cervinia. The opening occurred on the 11th
January 1948 in the presence of various authorities
and helped finance trips to the USA for several researchers. The aim was to
find an accelerator typology feasible in Italy.
The laboratory was built in the highest place
in Italy which was supposed to be accessible all year round with a
cableway. In practice one could be isolated for entire weeks and the
lucky ones where the technicians or researchers who could skii!!
The construction was promoted by the Centro
Romano, directed by Gilberto Bernardini (who later became the first director of
the INFN), Claudio Longo (architect), Ettore Pancini, with the collaboration of Marcello Conversi and
Edoardo Amaldi. The laboratory became the meeting point of various physicists
of different universities and this created a very strong, personal,
scientific and trustworthy bond between them all, which then consented the birth of the INFN.
The Turin team, made by Gleb Wataghin, Carola Maria Garelli,
Marcello Cini and others, developed research on penetrating showers with
techniques of Geiger Muller counters in coincidence.
This research continued until the 1960's and
some elderly technicians or professors still remember the motion of lead bricks that weighed 13kg each.
was visited by the
participating members of the 1st
International Congress of
Cosmic Physics, which was held in Como in 1949, among them Enrico Fermi
and Bruno Pontecorvo.
Thanks to his bursting enthusiasm, Wataghin was
able to convince Vittorio Valletta to enter the FIAT in a joint
association with the CNR and University for
the construction of the 100 MeV Synchrotron of Turin
It was the years 1951-1959, the INFN had just been founded and was very
busy in the construction of the
electrosynthroton of Frascati (1000MeV) and participated only marginally to the
construction, contributing to the purchase of the rephasing capacitors
that allowed to increase the energy of the electrons from 60 to 100 MeV.
Only with the following functioning and
experimenting working phase of the machine, did the institute fully participate
with its technicians and instrumentation.
The FIAT took part in the project and
construction of the premises in the yard of the department and its
infrastructure. The work was carried out rapidly because the FIAT was a
powerful industry and made all the contracting companies to work well and
quickly. The machine
was designed for the Brown-Boveri
by Rolf Wideroe
, an Engineer of Norwegian origin who invented the Linear Accelerator in 1927, teacher of Bruno Touschek and
universally recognized as the genius and magician of accelerators. He was
helped by H. Nabholz (Swiss) and L.Gonella (Torino). Unfortunately they
were behind schedule with the construction because the machine, which was very original
and innovative, took longer than expected to develop. In 1956 the Brown-Boveri accepted the
request by the Turin Physicists to install a Betatron (31MeV), which was
produced by a company for medical reasons. The Betatron was installed in the
premises equipped in the meantime for the syncrothron. A large part of the
experiment on the gigantic nuclear resonance was carried out with the betatron.The synchrotron
finally arrived in 1959 with great joy and relief.
From 1951 to 1980
The historical period from the origins of the
INFN to 1980 is described in The history of the Physics Institute
by Vittorio de Alfaro. The part concerning the INFN is complete and
accurate and it is very difficult to find anything better!
The Division of Turin today
Alessandria Connected Team, founded in the year 2000
close by the University of Piemonte Orientale Amedeo Avogadro
is attached to the Department of Turin
and is made up of Experimental and Theoretical Physicists under the
direction of Prof. Alberto Lerda. Like the other Connected Teams of the
the Alessandria group has its own local self-governing system but is
administered by the department of Turin. They carry out their
institutional tasks using their staff and attached scientists.
There are approximately 90 staff members in the Departement, of which
1/3 are researchers. The partners are approximately 220 of which 62
are research responsibles, university research and teaching staff that carry
out research activities mainly in the department.
They are equalized to the staff and therefore
can have managerial responsibilities in the departments. The
remaining attached personnel is very variegated and soars from
graduating, PHD and post-doc students to technical and technological staff.
The research activities take place in the
Institute of Physics in Via P.Giuria 1 and in the Technological
Laboratory in Via Sette Comuni 56.
In the Technological Laboratory there are machine tools for the
construction of Detectors and assembly and test areas for the detectors.
The division built important parts of the experimental apparatus installed
in different laboratories around the world for example: CERN in Geneva,
SLAC in San Fransisco, Laboratori di Frascati of the INFN, JINR in Russia, AUGER in Argentina and the laboratories of Yangbajing in Tibet.
The theoretical and data analysis activities take place in the local structures.
The entire list of all the current scientific
activities of the division would take too long to mention and would also be a
little boring and therefore I will just mention a few that have or have had a
large impact on the technical structures of the division.
More details can be found in dedicated sections experimental research
The researchers of Turin are giving a very
large contribution to the experiments on the Large Hadron Collider(LHC), in
construction at CERN (Geneva), by participating to the construction of
three detectors for CMS and three detectors for ALICE.They
to experiments which study the spin structure of the nucleon and
the CP violation, responsible for the matter-antimatter asymmetry of
our world. Astroparticle Physics
(Auger) and Undergroung Physics (LVD) are also subjects of research, as
well as Nuclear Physics both at very high energy (experiments at the
CERN SPC (S?)) and at low energy (Hypernuclear Physics).
Finally one must not forget the technological research, which is a very important resource for our
society, for example: Research in Medical
Physics or the application of Parallel Computing technologies (GRID),
which are developed by the department for
the LHC experiment and the early diagnosis for
The Theoretical Physics in Turin has always
been of very high quality and perfectly enclosed in a world wide view. Turin
has been and is an attraction for theoretical physicists of
very high level from all over the world: Gleb Wataghin, Mario Verde,
Tullio Regge, Sergio Fubini, Vittorio de Alfaro are just a few names.
At the moment the Turin theoretical physicists
are interested in Spin, Astroparticle, Nuclear and
LHC Physics and String Theories. Computational biology and the study of
Turbulent Systems recently became part of the ongoing activities.
More details of all the
experiments and theoretical activities may be found at the pages of scientific
of the department.
The future is at our door and debates are
beginning in view of the participation to the future experiments at the Linear
Collider, where and when it will be built, and to the experiments with
antiprotons at the GSI of Darmstadt, as well as the upgrade of the LHC experiments.