Gianni Fochi


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Hello! I was born in Pisa in 1950 and I've got a laurea degree in chemistry in 1973. The Scuola Normale Superiore, i. e. the institution where I've worked as a research associate, decreed my perfezionamento (PhD) in chemistry in 1981. Among the courses it offers, I have held a series of seminars for freshmen on the chemical applications of thermodynamics; in addition, I have taught general and inorganic chemistry at Pisa university (curricula for the agronomical courses).

I wrote a highschool textbook ("La chimica ragionata", i. e. "Explained chemistry", Istituto Geografico De Agostini, 1990) and I'm a coauthor of the booklet "Primi passi in termodinamica" (i. e. "First steps into Thermodynamics", Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 1990), for any type of university students who come across chemistry during the first curricular year. For them I wrote a textbook for freshmen, published by Edizioni della Normale.

       I've carried out experimental research in eterogeneous working environments: at the department of chemistry and industrial chemistry of Pisa university, at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule of Zurich (E.T.H.) and at The "G. Donegani" Institute in Novara (Piedmont). The latter was part of the Montedison group, when I was there (1976-1981). I've also been a member of the scientific board of ANPA (the Italian agency for protecting the environment) during the last thirteen months of its existence (Sept. 2001 - Oct. 2002).

       Since 1988 my interests have extended to the popularization of chemistry in its various aspects (culture, applications, history, environment), as a freelance coworker of newspapers and magazines: for this activity, in 1992 I was awarded a Federchimica (Italian association of chemical industry) prize "For an intelligent future". On June 5th 2001 I've been awarded a Voltolino prize for science popolularization. I'm also a lecturer for the general public and study the problems of scientific journalism. With regards to the latter field, I think it's worth mentioning my successful participation in the third edition of Pirelli INTERNETional Award, as well as a regular column ("Errare humanum est..."), which I've been writing for over ten years for La Chimica e l'Industria, the official monthly magazine of Società Chimica Italiana (S.C.I.). In such a column I pointed out the chemical blunders of the Italian media, which the readers of the magazine had discovered and communicated to me. On mid '99, the column was renamed "Specchio deformante" (deforming mirror) and included also media reports where chemistry, right or wrong, was put in a bad light.

       Moreover, I've been one of the judges for the Italian section of the Ford motor company conservation and environmental grants.
This double faced activity in research and popularization afforded me some job opportunities, where understanding technical and scientific matter, as well as rendering it suitable for laymen was necessary: collaboration with ENEA (the Italian organism for energy, technological innovation and environment) and, for the translation of a German magazine into Italian for image promotion, with Hoechst.

       In addition, I was the chairman of workshops on chlorine (Assobase) and on how to get rid of urban waste (Alba and Bra, Piedmont).
I've been a freelance member of the Italian Journalists Board since 1990 and, since a few years later, of U.G.I.S. (Union of Italian Science Journalists), and so also of E.U.S.J.A. (European Union of Science Journalists Association). In 1998 I started my collaboration to The Alchemist webzine. On January 1999 the first issue of The European Chemist (edited in U.K. on behalf of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker) has been published, containing an article of mine on the bonds between the Pisan chemical department and the industrial world.

       At the end of September 1999 the first of my books for laymen has been released within a successful series of Longanesi publishing company ("La lente di Galileo"). This book reached its third edition and is still on sale within the low cost editions of TEA, after beeing issued also in Spanish Version by RobinBook (Barcelona).

       In 2010 Longanesi published a new book of mine : "Fischi per fiaschi nell'italiano scientifico" (i. e., "Mistakes in scientific Italian"), a short dictionary of terms, which belong to both scientific and colloquial Italian, but conflicting in their meaning. A new book of mine, "La chimica fa bene" (i.e.,  chemistry is beneficial) is on sale since October 10th, 2012 (publisher: Giunti). Some parts therein popularize science, but my own ideas can also be found in its pages: shortly, I think that the image of chemistry is altered by both irrational environmentalists and certain chemists. 
       Since September 2011, I have occasionally took part to a feature of RAI UNO TV, "UNO Mattina", with a collaboration contract.
 

 

Last update: January 26th, 2015.

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