Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rubbia to be nominated "Senatore a vita" in the Italian Senate of the Republic.

Summer has gone and with it also my excuses to avoid writing. As a new (academic) year resolution, I commit myself to write more often and also to cover some specific research projects I'm recently involved in.

Anyway, I'm glad today to restart my writings with this news: yesterday Prof. Carlo Rubbia was created "Senatore a vita" (lifetime Senator) of the Italian Senate of the Republic. According to the Italian Constitution, the President of the Italian Republic can create up to 5 lifetime Senators among Italian citizens who have outstanding merits in science, arts, or social life. 

Nobel Laureate Prof. Carlo Rubbia

Carlo Rubbia will share honor and responsibility together with architect Renzo Piano, Prof. Elena Cattaneo, and conductor Claudio Abbado. As Napolitano himself put it, these nominees are an ideal 'passing the baton' after some historic lifetime senator has recently passed away (like Prof. Rita Levi Montalcini). 

In Italy the news was followed by a flood of polemics: some advocated the fact that lifetime senators are yet another entry in taxpayers' bill, whereas the center-right-wing party [that is, Berlusconi's] pointed out that all new lifetime Senators were somehow center-left oriented and that this might be seen as a way to rearrange the equilibrium of the political forces within the Parliament.

Leaving this debate aside, here we welcome this news with a note of great satisfaction. Not only because Prof. Rubbia (together with Simon van der Meer) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1984 "for their decisive contributions to the large project, which led to the discovery of the field particles W and Z, communicators of weak interaction", but also because being governed by such outstanding people (who have excelled in disciplines Italy is --or at least used to be-- worldwide famous for) should be the ultimate goal of any democratic country. 

The new lifetime Senators have been also previously committed in political, management and social activities; for example, among other important positions, Rubbia has been President of ENEA (National agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) and for long time he has been at the forefront to develop sustainable sources, like solar energy. 

Thus, at least today, I am pretty proud of my country, how long will it last? :)

Entering the debate for a microsecond, is't hilarious that the very same people who criticize Napolitano's nominees, are actually part of the Parliament and as such, it's worth recalling, they are NOT directly elected by people during elections?!? [in a few words, with the present electoral law (the infamous 'Porcellum'), Italian citizens can only vote for some party and it is the latter to decide who is eventually going to the Parliament]. Thus, these people advocate some personal consensus that in fact they don't have... In this regard, I'd like to know, if really the people were to judge where to save money from, which senators would send back home. The new ones or some of these characters?

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