The Fermi’s last present to Italy

After the war Fermi is interested in the revival of science and technology in Italy. In 1948 he wrote to Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi in support of an increase in research funds. In 1949 he participated at a conference in Como and visited the Olivetti factories in Ivrea, drawing attention to the emerging electronic technology. In 1950 he held a series of seminars in Rome and Milan. His memorable lectures at the Varenna School of the Italian Physics Society in 1954, just a few months before his death, are part of Fermi’s latest scientific gift to Italy. These are the words of the physicist Giulio Racah, in a seminar in Pisa in 1958, to recall Enrico Fermi’s suggestion on how to use a considerable funding for the University of Pisa: “Make an electronic calculator”. The birth of computer science in Italy is therefore also due to Fermi. While privileging physics, Fermi never underestimated the importance of numerical computation. He was a pioneer in the use of electronic computers and one of the creators of numerical simulation methods.