The earth sciences in the scientific letters of Giovanni Capellini

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Massimo Caciagli
Graziano Ferrari


Giovanni Capellini (1833-1922) was one of the leading representatives of the Italian and international scientific community from the mid-19th century until 1922, the year of his death.

Professor of Geology at the University of Bologna from 1860, geologist, palaeontologist and archaeologist, in 1871 he organised, straight after the unification of Italy, the 5th International Congress in Archaeology and Prehistoric Anthropology, first in Italy, and in 1881 brought to Bologna, for the first time ever in Italy, the 2nd International Geological Congress. His studies and publications strongly influenced the geological thinking of his times.

At the Archiginnasio Library in Bologna there are as many as 30,000 documents from his scientific letters (The Capellini Archive), the result of an intense correspondence he had with geologists, seismologists, astronomers and meteorologists, but also with people from the world of culture and politics. The letters relating to the earth sciences, from scientific but also political point of view, are the majority. The archive includes letters from more then 4,300 senders, of which at least 25% foreign ones incuding Charles Lyell (geologist), Emmanuel Friedlaender (volcanologist), Philip Eduard De Verneuil (naturalist), Henry James Johnston Lavis (volcanologist).

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How to Cite
Caciagli, M. and Ferrari, G. (2009) “The earth sciences in the scientific letters of Giovanni Capellini”, Annals of Geophysics, 52(6), pp. 667–677. doi: 10.4401/ag-4624.

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