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The Embassy of Italy in Washington DC celebrates Italian research in the world. The highlight of celebrations is on women and on the essential role of Italian female scientists and researchers

Washington DC, April 8, 2019 – On the occasion of the Italian Research Day in the World, an initiative organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. is hosting on April 9, 2019 the photographic exhibition “Life as a Scientist” in cooperation with Bracco Foundation and a high level panel discussion with renowned Italian and American scientists.
The high level panel discussion is organized to recognize the cooperation between Italy and US in science, research, and technology and to honor the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. Italian Ambassador to the US, Armando Varricchio, will open the conference with Jonathan Margolis, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space, and Health at the Department of State. The panel will be moderated by Anna Bowser, Director of Innovation at the Wilson Center, and will include 4 prominent scientists and researchers: Barbara Berrie, National Gallery of Art; Paolo Bonato, Harvard Medical School; Emilio Frazzoli, ETH Zürich/Aptiv, Boston; Patrizia Rossi, Jefferson Lab. The event will also feature a video on the personal and professional stories of two Italian researchers and scientists in the US, Veronica Bindi, University of Hawaii/NASA, and Barbara Marchetti, eCampus University/Catholic University of America. According to estimates of the National Science Foundation (NSF), there are more than 15,000 Italian researchers in the US and the number of Italians professors in US colleges and universities grew by 6% in the past 10 years. Last December Italy and US also celebrated, with over 200 Italian and American scientists, the 30th anniversary of the bilateral Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.
The event will include the premiere of the exhibition “Life as a Scientist”, which is part of the “100 women against stereotypes” initiative, created in 2016 from the Pavia Observatory and the Association of female journalists Gi.U.Li.A, in collaboration with the Bracco Foundation and with the support of the European Commission’s Representation in Italy. Indeed, women are seldom consulted by the media as experts and the series of portraits “Life as a Scientist”, by acclaimed photographer Gerald Bruneau, was specifically commissioned to help overcome the bias often associated with the work of women in science and technology and to bring the general public closer to their achievements. Laboratories, universities and operating rooms—temples of research and knowledge—are, in fact, the places of work where every day women are committed to advancing the frontiers of knowledge. The portraits will remain displayed inside the Embassy also for the next few months.

“This exhibition highlights Italian female expertise in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a key element for growth and progress and as a driving force of the excellent bilateral relations between Italy and the United States. It opens a window onto the daily lives of exceptional Italian women – biologists, chemists, engineers, astrophysicists, mathematicians, surgeons and computer scientists – who, through their work and accomplishments, are fostering the cultural shift needed to ensure that gender parity is achieved in every segment and sector of society” said Ambassador Armando Varricchio.

“We are deeply honored that the Italian Ambassador to the US, Armando Varricchio, has chosen our initiative on this prestigious occasion”, said Diana Bracco, President of the Bracco Foundation. “Our photographic exhibition is especially important because it tells, thanks to the photographs by a great professional, of the role that women were able to achieve in the world of science. This new awareness by women all over the world is an extraordinary lever for social and political change. Of course, there is still a long way to go, and our project “100 women against stereotypes” is just a small step forward. But something is definitely changing worldwide: indeed, in 2019, the Swedish Academy of Sciences have decided, for the first time, to invite the scientists responsible for nominations to take into greater consideration both gender and geographical diversity”.

The Italian Research Day in the World will be celebrated in the US with events organized by the Italian Consulates in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in partnership with local Universities and research centers, the Italian Institutes of Culture and the Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation. The initiatives are meant to mark the quincentenary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death and to celebrate the relevance of scientific and technological cooperation between Italy and US in sectors like health, engineering, space and innovation.