of Philosophy
University of Bologna
via Zamboni, 38
40126 Bologna, Italy
tel. +39.051.2098353
fax: +39.051.2098670 Email:

About this site

Giuliano Pancaldi

International Centre for the History of Universities and Science (CIS), Department of Philosophy and Communication, University of Bologna

Via Zamboni 38 > 40126 Bologna - Italy
Tel. and fax: +39-051-2098331 > E-mail:

Curriculum Vitae

Current position

Professor of the History of Science, and Head, International Centre for the History of Universities and Science, University of Bologna.

Coordinator, Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Science, Cognition, and Semiotics (PSCS), University of Bologna (


D.Phil., History of Science, University of Oxford
Laurea, Philosophy of science, University of Bologna
Engineering undergraduate studies, University of Bologna


Domus Galilaeana, British Academy-Wolfson Foundation, Accademia dei Lincei, Fulbright, Dibner Institute/MIT


Volta: Science and Culture in the Age of Enlightenment
(Princeton University Press, 2003; paperback edition: 2005) > Reviews
Darwin in Italy. Science across Cultural Frontiers (Indiana University Press, 1991)
Charles Darwin: “storia” ed “economia” della natura (Florence, La Nuova Italia,1977)
La generazione spontanea nelle prime ricerche dello Spallanzani (Domus Galilaeana, 1972)

Books edited

Conoscenza e incertezza ai tempi del web (2015, with Francesco Martini)
Electricity and Life. Episodes in the History of Hybrid Objects (2011)
Impure Cultures. Interfacing Science, Technology, and Humanities (2010, with Massimo Mazzotti)
Charles Darwin, L’origine delle specie (1859), new Italian translation by Giuliano Pancaldi, Giuliano Pancaldi ed. (BUR, Rizzoli, Milan, 2009)
Augmenting Comprehension. Digital Tools and the History of Ideas (2004, with Dino Buzzetti and Harold Short)
Natura, cultura, identità. Le università e l'identità europea (2004)
The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science (2003, with James Bartholomew, Jim Bennett, Frederic L. Holmes, Rachel Laudan. Editor in Chief: J. L. Heilbron)
Electric Bodies. Episodes in the History of Medical Electricity (2001, with Paola Bertucci)
Alessandro Volta: Elettricità. Scritti scelti (1999)
Luigi Galvani International Workshop. Proceedings (1999, with Marco Bresadola)
Cento anni di radio. Le radici dell’invenzione (1995, with Anna Guagnini)
Le università e le scienze / Universities and the sciences (1993)Maurizio Bufalini: medicina, scienza e filosofia (1990)
Teleologia e darwinismo. La corrispondenza tra Charles Darwin e Federico Delpino (1984)
I congressi degli scienziati italiani nell’età del positivismo (1983)
Evoluzione: biologia e scienze umane (1976)

Promoter and co-organizer of the International Summer School in History of Science (1988-2006), a joint initiative of scholars from Berkeley, Bologna, Paris, and Uppsala.

Promoter and head, since 1991, of the International Centre for the History of Universities and Science at the University of Bologna.

Promoter and coordinator, since 2007, of the international PhD programme in Science, Technology, and Humanities (now: Philosophy, Science, Cognition, and Semiotics - PSCS), University of Bologna.

Coimbra Group representative, University of Bologna, 1991-1999.
Member of the Steering Committee of the Coimbra Group, Brussels, 1995-1999.
Director, Department of Philosophy, University of Bologna, 1997-2000.

Member of the editorial board

The British Journal for the History of Science (Oxford and London), 1989-1993
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (Berkeley), 2007-
Intersezioni. Rivista di storia delle idee
(Bologna), 1981-
Minerva. A Review of Science, Learning and Policy (London), 2000-2007
Nuncius. Annali di storia della scienza (Florence), 1986-2004
Physis. Rivista internazionale di storia della scienza (Rome), 1991-
Social Studies of Science (London), 1981-1993

Professional societies

Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences (Membre effectif)
History of Science Society
Società Italiana di Storia della Scienza
Accademia delle Scienze dell’Istituto di Bologna (Correspondent)

Main articles and chapters in books

"Materialities of the scientific process. What can be learnt from the history of electricity in an old university town", Jahrbuch für Europäische Wissenschaftskultur, forthcoming.

“Modern science in Italy”, in H. R. Slotten, R. L. Numbers, D. N. Livingstone (eds.), Modern Science in National, Transnational, and Global Context (The Cambridge History of Science, Vol. 8), Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.

"Traiettorie della modernizzazione. Cosa si puo' imparare dalla storia dell'elettricita' in un'antica citta' universitaria", in Annarita Angelini, Marco Beretta, Giuseppe Olmi (eds.), Una scienza bolognese? Figure e percorsi nella storiografia della scienza, Bononia University Press, 2015, pp. 223-242.

"The physics of imponderable fluids", in J. Buchwald and R. Fox eds., Oxford Handbook of the History of Physics, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 267-298.

"What is life? A historical survey", in Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, John Wiley & Sons, December 2012, DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023957

"The web of knowing, doing, and patenting: William Thomson's apparatus room and the history of electricity", in Nature Engaged.Science in Practice from the Renaissance to the Present, Mario Biagioli and Jessica Riskin eds. Palgrave Macmillan (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History), 2012, pp. 263-285.

"Deluc, Davy, and the impact of the battery on natural philosophy", in Jean-André Deluc Historian of Earth and Man, J.L. Heilbron and R. Sigrist eds. Genève, Slatkine, 2011, pp. 277-298.

The case and the canon in laboratory life”, in The Case and the Canon. Anomalies, discontinuities, metaphors between science and literature, A. Calanchi et alt. eds., Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011, pp. 261-280.

"Capire Darwin: scienza e società dall''Origine' alla genetica personalizzata", «Studi germanici», 2011, pp. 7-21

“Purification rituals: reflections on the history of science in Italy, in Impure Cultures. Interfacing science, technology, and humanities, edited by Massimo Mazzotti and Giuliano Pancaldi, Bologna Studies in History of Science, vol. 12, 2010, pp. 233-247.

"On hybrid objects and their trajectories: Beddoes, Davy and the battery", Notes and Records of the Royal Society, 2009 (63), pp. 247-262.

Evoluzione casuale o Intelligent Design?”, in Genesi e natura. Racconti di creazione e modelli scientifici, Brescia, Morcelliana, 2009, pp. 159 – 185.

"Interpreting the early age of electricity", in 2007 IEEE Conference on the History of Electric Power, WASHINGTON D.C., IEEE, 2008, pp. 212 - 221 (IEEE Conference on the History of Electric Power, Newark, 3-5 August 2007).

“Evoluzionismo in Italia: nuove prospettive di ricerca”, in La nascita della paletnologia in Liguria. Personaggi, scoperte e collezioni tra XIX e XX secolo, Istituto Internazionale di Studi Liguri, 2008, pp. 31 – 39.

“The Republic of Letters in Transition: William Thomson and Natural Philosophy ca. 1850”, in Michal Kokowski (ed.), The Global and the Local: The History of Science and the Cultural Integration of Europe, Krakow, Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2007, pp. 49-55.

“Wartime chemistry in Italy: Industry, the military, and the professors”, in Roy MacLeod and Jeffrey A. Johnson (eds.), Frontline and Factory: Comparative Perspectives on the Chemical Industry at War,1914-1924, Springer (Archimedes: New Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology), 2007, pp. 61-74.

The articles Biogenetic law, Biology, Darwinism, Evolution, Extinction, Fact and theory, Galvani and Volta, Holism, In vitro fertilization, Instinct, Instruments (biological), Lamarckism, Law of science, Levi Montalcini, Life, Museum, Naturalism and physicalism, Nature, Network and virtual college, Organism, Priority, Progress, Rational/irrational, Tacit knowledge, Teleology, Zoology in The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science (2003, above)

“L’evoluzionismo darwiniano:successi e controversie”, in Storia della scienza, direttore Sandro Petruccioli, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, vol. VII, L’Ottocento, Roma, 2003, pp. 850-856.

“Appropriating invention. The comparative reception of the Voltaic battery in Europe”, in Marie-Noelle Bourguet, Christian Licoppe, H. Otto Sibum (eds.), Instruments, Travel; and Science, Routledge, 2002.

“La retroguardia qualitativa”, in Storia della scienza, direttore Sandro Petruccioli, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, vol. VI, L’età dei lumi, Roma, 2002, pp. 231-236.

“The social uses of past science: celebrating Volta in Fascist Italy”, in R. Zwilling (ed.), Natural Sciences and Human Thought, Springer, 1995, pp. 217-224;

“The technology of nature: Marx’s thoughts on Darwin”, in I. B. Cohen (ed.), The Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences, Kluwer, 1994, pp. 257-274;

“Vito Volterra: cosmopolitan ideals and nationality in the Italian scientific community between the Belle époque and the First World War”, Minerva. A Review of Science, Learning and Policy, 1993, pp. 21-37;

“Electricity and life. Volta’s path to the battery”, Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences, 1990, pp. 123-160;

“Darwin’s intellectual development”, in D. Kohn (ed.), The Darwinian Heritage, Princeton University Press, 1985, pp. 259-263;

“Scientific internationalism and the British Association”, in R. MacLeod and P. Collins (eds.), The Parliament of Science. The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1831-1981, Science Reviews, 1981, pp. 145-169;

“The history and social studies of science in Italy”, Social Studies of Science, 1980, pp. 351-374;

Science popularization and multimedia

Exhibition: “Radio: da Marconi alla musica delle stelle” / “The wireless revolution”, Bologna 1995, New York 1996.

Online multimedia

“Bologna: le scienze, i libri, la città” (1998),
“Bologna Science Classics Online” (2000-),

(May 2016)