Paolo Brenni (20 March 1954 – 4 December 2021)
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our dear President Paolo Brenni, who died suddenly on the night of 3-4 December 2021. We extend our condolences to his wife Andrea and his family.
Paolo was born in Mendrisio (Ticino, Switzerland) the 20th of March 1954.1 He studied experimental physics at the University of Zürich, where he graduated in 1981. He than specialised in the history of scientific instruments and of precision industry in the period from the beginning of 18th century to the mid-20th century. He soon started to work in Italy, first for the University of Pavia, where he restored and catalogued the physics collection of the university museum, and after in Florence for the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza and for the Fondazione Scienza e Tecnica.
Since 1992 he was researcher for the Italian CNR (National Research Council) and he worked in Florence for the above mentioned institutions and in Paris (where he was associate researcher to the Centre de Recherche en Histoire des Sciences et des Techniques). He collaborated with various European and American museums, astronomical observatories and various scientific institutions for the preservation and the study of historical scientific instrument heritage. He contributed to catalogue, reorganise and restore several collections of instruments both in Italy and aboard.
Paolo has been a great support to the Scientific Instrument Society for many years and has served as President since 2005. He was always very convivial, a great friend to the Society, and of course a fount of knowledge on scientific instruments. Many members of the Society fondly remember the overseas study tour he organised to Florence and Arezzo in 2007, which, typically of Paolo, included an evening invitation to his house with food, wine and live musical entertainment. He was an active President of the Society, who could always be relied on to contribute and represent the Society in his capacity as the Society’s figurehead.
He will be sorely missed by the entire scientific instrument community.
1] Text partially based on Paolo’s curriculum on the Harvard University website.