Science and life of a geologist through his papers. the personal archive of Giovanni Capellini in la Spezia

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This study of the life and work of the Italian geologist Giovanni Capellini (1833-1922) started in 2005 during the process of restoring and reorganizing that portion of his personal archive kept at the Academy Lunigianese of Sciences in La Spezia, Italy. Until now, little has been written on the scientific achievements of Giovanni Capellini, resulting from a sixty year career. This contribution aims to offer an overview of the scientific biography of Capellini, his publications and manuscript documents, and the main contents of that portion of his personal archive housed in La Spezia. Capellini began his long career in the natural sciences by educating himself in La Spezia, after which he enrolled in and graduated from the University of Pisa, Italy. He concluded his formal education with one year of educational travel in Europe. At the age of twenty-seven, Capellini obtained the professorship of geology at the University of Bologna and remained there for sixty years. During his career, he achieved several important goals, among them the reorganization of the Geological and Paleontological Museum of the University of Bologna. The Museum was founded in 1871 and soon became an institution recognized for its excellence in Italy and throughout Europe. By the conclusion of his career in 1922, he was a professor of international fame, Senator of the Kingdom of Italy, and supporter of international scientific dialogue as an indispensable means for the advancement of knowledge. Capellini always promoted the diffusion of natural sciences studies, both within Italy and throughout Europe. He contributed to three regional mapping projects that were incorporated into the geological map of Italy. Above all, he educated many generations of young professionals who contributed to Italy's economic and cultural life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-149
Number of pages28
JournalEarth Sciences History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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