I was born in Trento in 1956. I graduated in Physics at the Scuola Normale di Pisa and I got my PhD at the University of Paris IX, Orsay. Since 1992 I have been Full Professor of Experimental Physics at the Department of Physics, University of Trento. In addition to my research activities, I am involved in popularising science through books, interviews and participation in events.


Author of more than 460 papers published in international journals, for more than 35 years I have been involved in international research projects in the field of experimental physics of fundamental interactions: strong interactions, electroweak interactions, search for antimatter and dark matter in cosmic rays. I have coordinated scientific projects of great size and complexity, in the field of accelerator physics at CERN, Stanford and in space. In particular, together with Nobel laureate Samuel C.C. Ting, I coordinated the realization of the experiment for the search of antimatter, installed on the International Space Station (AMS). I contributed to the realization of the Italian-Chinese LIMADOU-CSES satellite for the study of seismic phenomena from space. After the launch of the first satellite in 2018, the second satellite of the constellation is currently being built and will be launched at the end of 2022.

I am also working on:

  • developing magnetic systems to protect astronauts during prolonged stays in space;
  • the development of innovative methods for propulsion based on laser light ablation.


I was the President of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) for a four-year period (2014-18), representing Italy in the Italian, European and international space contexts. I have been committed to the popularization and use of space scientific data as a fundamental element for the development of the economy society and, in particular, of space economy issues, contributing to the approval of the national "Space Economy" plan based on public-private partnership. I proposed and supported the development of the first Italian public-private investment fund for space, Primo-Space, which is operational since 2020.

I often give talks on the topic of space exploration and Space Economy in several interviews for leading Italian newspapers.

Since 2019, I am a delegate for the European Parliament on the Board of EUSPA, the European Union Agency for Space Programmes.


Since 2012, I have been writing popular science essays, to explain science to the general public. The first book is an encounter between an artist and a scientist, in search of a challenging but still possible encounter between science and art. In 2018, I then tried to explain the puzzles of one of the most beautiful and important theories of the 20th century, quantum mechanics, to those who know nothing about physics. In 2019 I decided to explain space activities. The trigger was my sudden, politically-imposed resignation as President of ASI. I thus took the opportunity to narrate my adventure and that of the thousands of people with whom I shared four fantastic years, in the many laboratories and research centres on the ground and above our heads. And then, again in 2019, my bestseller with Rizzoli, "La prima alba del cosmo", where I tell some of the secrets of the universe from the Big Bang to today. Finally, 2020, the year of the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, where I am engaged, along with many other colleagues, in trying to understand and explain the epidemiological dynamics in "The mathematics of the virus".

The next book? You'll find out soon.



I am very active in popularising science. I have spoken on invitation at hundreds of national and international conferences and I have long held a monthly page in Le Scienze. I am currently a columnist for La Stampa and l'Adige. I regularly appear in Repubblica, Corriere della Sera, La Stampa, Domani and other national newspapers.

I have been the organiser of several international conferences dedicated to space science and advanced technologies (Trento 1999, Elba 2002, Washington 2003, Beijing 2006, CERN 2012, Rome 2019, 2020, 2021, Trento 2022).