The Changing Landscape Of Italian Astronomy
The establishment of Italian astronomy dates back to the middle of the 19th century, when Italy became a unified state. For a long time, Italian astronomy was developed in astronomical observatories and, only after the end of World War II, astronomy began growing in several universities, with research groups eventually taken in charge by the Italian National Research Council (CNR). As a result, Italian astronomy is nowadays organized in three main branches: astronomical observatories, CNR institutes and universities. Recently (1999), the twelve astronomical observatories merged into a National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), whereas in 2001 also the eight existing CNR ins titutes involved with astrophysical studies have been grouped in three new CNR structures. A further reform is expected in the course of 2003, with these CNR institutes merging into INAF. The funding system is shortly described in this chapter, giving also data on permanent positions in astronomy, together with information about the university education, the research lines in the various institutions as well as the most relevant astronomical projects. A few comments about the general social context and a short “travel guide” through Italian astronomy close the paper.
KeywordsAstronomical Observatory Permanent Position Italian National Research Council Travel Guide Cosmic Physic
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