Adriano buzzati-traverso and the foundation of the international laboratory of genetics and biophysics in naples (1962-1969) [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 33 (3):489-513 (2002)
Despite a long tradition of research in applied genetics, particularly in agricultural research, in Italy the transition to the new knowledges and techniques of molecular biology was long and difficult. Political and financial constraints made academic institutions very slow to grasp the importance of molecular approaches to biology and medicine. In fact, the main studies concerning problems of molecular biology took place inside non-academic institutions. We reconstruct the complex paths leading to the birth of the International Laboratory of Genetics and Biophysics (LIGB) in Naples, and describe its work and activities in the period in which it was directed by its creator, Adriano Buzzati-Traverso, between 1962 and 1969. The origins of the LIGB are inextricably bound to the growth of biophysical research at the University of Pavia and at the Higher Health Institute in Rome. For a short period, with the aid provided by Italian and European physicists to biological research on the effects of nuclear radiation, LIGB became a focal point in European molecular biology. In 1968 the scientific and educational activities of the LIGB dramatically fell victim to the contradictions of the Italian academic and scientific system, and to the political climate which emerged in Italy at the time.
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