A small institute and a great opportunity

The Enrico Fermi Research Center (CREF) was founded in 1999 law and only recently the famous building in Via Panisperna has been completely restored and can be used for its scientific purposes. The idea was to give back the famous building in Via Panisperna to a scientific use that would honor the memory of the fundamental discoveries of the Fermi’s group that took place in that place. The first element was to establish a museum in the building with the original finds of Fermi’s experiments integrated by appropriate modern audio-video systems that would make the understanding of these historical events accessible to the new generations as well.

In addition to this dutiful homage to the memory of prestigious past events, however, something more original and current was also thought of. Fermi was a scientist oriented to the future and to a particularly innovative vision of science. In this perspective it was decided that, in addition to the historical aspect oriented to the past, CREF also had its own research activity oriented to the present and the future. As in Germany, for example, the memory of Max Planck is mainly honored by a large network of prestigious scientific institutes, so it was proposed that CREF also become a nucleus of particularly original and innovative research, precisely in the spirit that has characterized Enrico’s activities. Stop.

The CREF must not be a small replica or collateral support of the activities already carried out by other institutions. Wanting to do something original and of a high level even with small dimensions, it is natural to focus on the new scientific issues that appear on the horizon with increasing frequency. Often these bloods are interdisciplinary and in general in the area of ​​Complex Systems.

In the Italian scientific world, disciplinary groupings tend towards a sectorization of research that does not favor interdisciplinarity. On the other hand, it is clear that the small and agile CREF can have the role of quickly orienting itself towards new, particularly current and innovative activities. CREF can therefore seize this strategic opportunity, that is to be an institution that stimulates innovative scientific issues, that is, an incubator for start-ups of a scientific nature. The elements that favor this opportunity are the undoubted prestige of the CREF and its headquarters and also its limited size which becomes an advantage to be able to make quick and effective decisions in identifying new strategic issues. From this point of view, however, the idea is to be totally open to new developments and proposals that can also come from the outside. As for the specific issues, it is clear that reference will be made to the principles and style of Physics but interpreted in a modern key and with a focus on social relevance and possible collaborations with companies and other institutions.

For example, Ettore Majorana, of the Fermi group, wrote an article in 1930 entitled: “The Value of Statistical Laws in Physics and Social Sciences”. This visionary article, published posthumously in 1942, posed a problem that is particularly relevant today especially considering it from the perspective of Big Data. Therefore, in addition to themes that are characteristic of more traditional physics but selected for their originality, we intend to develop themes such as data science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, of which Complexity and Economic Fitness represent a very current example.