Composition and Activities


The Group now consists of one Ordinary Professor, five Associate Professors, a research worker, one technologist, one technician, three scholars, four contracted collaborators and one visiting researcher.
A collaborator from another Department also helps permanently. Five members have got doctorates, two of which come from centres of excellence abroad.


In the Science Faculty there are degree courses in Physics (where also the specialisms of Education and History of Physics take place), Chemistry and Natural Sciences. In addition, there is an annual improvement course in Physics Teaching for secondary school teachers and we are currently working on a two-year specialist course for the same category.


Book series

In 1985 the Pavia University History of Science Series was founded. It is divided into four sections and to date 22 volumes have been published (another 4 are in preparation):

Primary Sources

In course of publication are volumes containing the works of Directors of the "A.Volta" Institute of Physics ( Belli, Giulotto) and translations, with commentaries, of historic texts on the development of the concept of energy (Haas, Maxwell, Hertz, Afanassiewa).


Catalogues of volumes on the Historical Bases of Physics, of the important collection of Academic Acts in the University library, and of antique book and instrument exhibitions.


Contributions, debates and comments by contemporary Italian and foreign writers

Teaching guides

Introduction to Case Studies for school teachers and students (Galileo, Coulomb, Oersted, Lorentz, Michelson, Einstein)

CD-ROM Series

It started in 1992, and, to date, there are 6 CDs, in two versions, for Windows and Mac:

Coulomb and Electrostatics (1992)

An in-depth introduction to several aspects of Physics. (Only for Mac.)

Clavis Scientarum (1995)

Detailed catalogue of the two thousand volumes in the Physics History Collection, complete with frontispieces.

Electro-magnetic Induction (1995)

Un case study sulla scoperta e sulle interpretazioni dell'induzione elettromagnetica da parte di quattro grandi scienziati (Faraday, Maxwell, Lorentz, Einstein)

The Physics section of the University's Museum of History (1998)

Catalogue with files and multiple photographs of nineteenth-century Physics instruments. Can be consulted according to alphabetical order, author, period, constructor and discipline.

Volta's Physics Laboratory (1998)

Wonderful historical and didactic analyses of the 120 instruments of Volta in the Pavia Museum. With over 100 (mostly 3D) animations

Volta's Inventions

3D animations of the instruments invented by Volta.

Web sites

Pavia Project Physics.

The Group has been present on the Web since 1996, with its own site dedicated to Pavia Project Physics. This also includes the Book Series and the University's History Museum.

History of Science Division of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science.

The Group has been given responsibility for the official site of the International Society for the History of Science. The site presents a detailed introduction to the Society's activities, to national societies, centres and museums all over the world, as well as to the documentation on the Web.

European Physical Society: Interdivisional Group on the History of Physics.

The official European group site


The official Volta Celebrations site, presenting all the activities.

Multimedia Presentations

Many classes and lectures are now held by Group members, with multimedia software preparation. All these presentations now make up a highly useful archive for the dissemination of scientific culture.


Eight tele-conferences were run in 1998-9, with the help of Telecom, for eight schools in the Provinces of Pavia, Como and Milan. This technological experiment was considered a success and we are now studying possible interaction with web sites and E-mail.


A series of exhibitions were held in 1990, 1994 and 1999, showing old books and scientific instruments.

TV Broadcasts

On the occasion of the voltaic celebrations, collaboration in "Volta's Sparks" and other regional broadcasts. Production of the video "In the Steps of Volta".