Farewell to Giovanni Bignami, great astrophysicist and former President of INAF and ASI
The Italian scientific community is in mourning for the loss of Giovanni Bignami, an internationally renowned astrophysicist and science writer and former President of the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) and of the Italian Space Agency (ASI). The Italian scientist passed away suddenly while in Madrid where he was carrying out his research activities.
Born in Desio on 10 April 1944, Bignami was one of the most active and respected Italian astrophysicists. He took part in the design and construction of a number of scientific satellites and was involved in the 20 year long work that led to the understanding of Geminga, the first neutron star with no radio emission. A prominent member of the Accademia dei Lincei, Bignami was President of ASI and INAF, and was the first Italian President of COSPAR, the Committee on Space Research.
He was currently Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the IUSS in Pavia and was Chair of the Board of Directors of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, the world’s largest and most powerful radio telescope, an array of thousands of radio antennas located in South Africa and Australia. An extraordinary science writer, Bignami was the author of a number of popular science books. An asteroid has been named after him: 6852 Nannibignami.