I write about science, mathematics and space. For adults and children

The mathematics of the virus. Numbers to understand and defeat the pandemic

Pietro Battiston, Roberto Battiston

Those who present humans and viruses simply as two opposing sides are wrong. There are viruses that give humans a big hand - no matter whether those humans are good or bad! - and there are humans who give viruses a big hand - almost always bad viruses! An epidemic spreads through the population following the relatively simple rules of a game that has been played since the dawn of time. The problem is figuring out exactly what the rules are each time in order to win against the virus.

The first dawn of the cosmos. From the big bang to life in the universe, the scientific adventure that is changing the way we see the world.

Roberto Battiston
Rizzoli, 2019

What are time and space? How are they connected to the Big Bang? What is our place in the universe? Where do we come from? What awaits us in the future? Are we an interplanetary or even interstellar species? With an expert hand and narrative flair, Roberto Battiston guides us to discover the deepest mysteries of space.

Space in the making. My years at the Italian Space Agency

Roberto Battiston
La nave di Teseo, 2019

"Today the minister, to my surprise, informed me of the dismissal of the post of ASI President. It is the first spoils system of a research organisation. Thank you to the thousands of people with whom I have shared four fantastic years in Italian space." With this message, on 6 November 2018, Roberto Battiston announced his departure from the Italian Space Agency. A sudden change, imposed by politics, becomes for the author the opportunity to tell for the first time from the inside the world of Italian space. It is a great adventure that starts in the laboratories and research centres scattered across Italy and reaches hundreds of kilometres above our heads, making an essential contribution to the astronaut missions, the in-orbit experiments designed to improve our lives, and the network of satellites that observe the Earth and help prevent and manage natural disasters. The Space Agency is also an important instrument of diplomacy, capable of leading international projects that have important economic and geopolitical repercussions for Italy, a true space economy in which we can play a leading role.

Quantum mechanics. Explained to those who know nothing about it

Roberto Battiston
Castelvecchi, 2018

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the study of atoms provided results that could not be explained by Newtonian mechanics: the analogy between the atomic structure and a microscopic solar system did not hold up. Faced with a wealth of data that was incomprehensible within a well-established theoretical framework, a group of young scientists tried the only possible way: changing the rules of the game. Thanks to Bohr, Schrödinger, de Broglie, Heisenberg and Dirac, a theory took shape that would change our way of doing physics and looking at the reality around us forever: quantum mechanics. Battiston, with the expertise of a scientist and the clarity of a populariser, takes us by the hand and leads us into the mysterious field of this theory with its infinite applications, showing us all the fantasy of nature and the shifting boundaries of human knowledge.

Dialogue between an artist and a scientist

Roberto Battiston, Franco Venanti
Futura (Perugia), 2012

Can art and science meet? Of course they can, as long as it is a fair match. Provided, in short, that the "contenders" are animated by a sincere wish to discuss and accept other's point of view, respecting their reasons. With the necessary flexibility, and without anyone trying to act as a staunch defender of their own opinions.