Francesco Luzzini

Visiting Scholar
Visiting Scholars are established scholars, as evidenced by significant publications and broad academic experience, spending a fixed term as guests at the MPIWG for research purposes. They may be externally funded or receive a Research Fellowship from the MPIWG.
Department I
PhD, Edition Open Sources Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oklahoma Libraries
11. Januar 2017 to 31. Dezember 2017

Francesco Luzzini (PhD, History of Science, University of Bari; BA/MA, Natural Sciences, University of Milan) is Research Affiliate at the University of Insubria (Research Center for the History of Mountains, Material Culture, and the Earth Sciences). His work deals with the natural and medical sciences in Europe during the early modern period. From January 2015 to December 2016 he was Edition Open Sources Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oklahoma Libraries.

Within the Anthropocene Project, Francesco’s research focuses on a historical period (late XVII - early XVIII century) which is conventionally described as the “prehistory” of Anthropocene – that is, a moment when human activities had not yet impacted on the Earth’s environment so much to extend their effect to the geological and ecological levels. Still, it was in these very years that natural philosophy, medicine, experimentalism, and traditional technologies started to interact significantly, leading to the definition of new scientific practices and methods. Relying on field research, the newborn Earth sciences gained knowledge (and most of their terminology) from a number of technical and practical activities such as mining, chemistry, metallurgy, engineering, hydraulics, and even pottery and farming. This interdisciplinary cross-pollination proved to be crucial, as it set the basis for the explosive rise of human technologies, as long as of the dramatic impact they would exert on the environment in the following centuries.

Currently, Francesco is working towards a critical edition of Antonio Vallisneri’s Primi itineris per Montes Specimen Physico-Medicum (1705): an unpublished manuscript containing an exceptionally wide array of geological, medical, geographical, technical, ethnographic, historical, and archaeological data. Vallisneri (1661-1730), a major figure of his time in the field of medical and natural sciences, wrote this report in 1705, after a journey he made in the Northern Apennines.



- (Jan 2017 -) Research Affiliate, Department I, MPIWG (Berlin, DE)

- (Jan 2017 -) Research Affiliate, University of Insubria (Varese, ITA)

- (Jan 2015 to Dec 2016) Edition Open Sources Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oklahoma Libraries (Norman, OK, USA)

- (Jul to Dec 2016) Visiting Scholar, Department I, MPIWG (Berlin, DE)

- (Oct 2015 to Oct 2016) Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Insubria (Varese, ITA)

- (2012 to 2015) Adjunct Professor of History of Biology, University of Milan (Milan, ITA)

- (2014) Research Fellow, Linda Hall Library (Kansas City, MO, USA)

- (2012) Research Fellow, Linda Hall Library (Kansas City, MO, USA)

- (2010 to 2012) Adjunct Professor of History of Geology, University of East Piedmont (Vercelli, ITA)

- (2010 to 2013) Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of East Piedmont (Vercelli, ITA)



- (2016 -) Councilor, The History of the Earth Sciences Society (

- (2012 -) Column Editor, «Acque Sotterranee», Italian Journal of Groundwater (

- (2009 -) Scientific Manager, Electronic Inventory of Antonio Vallisneri’s Correspondence (

Selected publications: 

Luzzini, F. (2016). Da Apollo alla Serenissima: le terme dei Colli Euganei. Acque Sotterranee. Italian Journal of Groundwater, 5(1), 49-50. doi:10.7343/as-2016-214.


Luzzini, F. (2016). Description, analogy, symbolism, faith: Jesuit science and iconography in the early modern debate on the origin of springs. Acque Sotterranee. Italian Journal of Groundwater, 5(2), 65-67. doi:10.7343/as-2016-223.


Luzzini, F. (2016). L’Itale terre a vagheggiare inteso: la regolazione dell’Adige nel XVIII secolo tra storia e scienza. In V. Rovigo (Ed.), Il fiume, le terre, l'immaginario: l'Adige come fenomeno storiografico complesso; atti del convegno, Rovereto, 21-22 febbraio 2013. Rovereto (TN): Edizioni Osiride.


Luzzini, F. (2016). Per tingere i panni in nero: le fonti di Vitriola. Acque Sotterranee. Italian Journal of Groundwater, 5(3), 79-80. doi:10.7343/as-2016-233.


Luzzini, F. (2016). Review of: Tortora, Alfonso: L’eruzione vesuviana del 1631: una storia d’età moderna. Roma: Carocci editore 2014. Aestimatio, 11, 364-369.


Luzzini, F. (2016). The Edition Open Sources project: towards a critical edition of Antonio Vallisneri’s manuscript 'Primi Itineris Specimen' (1705). In D. Calcaterra, S. Mazzoli, F. M. Petti, B. Carmina, & A. Zuccari (Eds.), Geosciences on a changing planet: learning from the past, exploring the future (pp. 905-905). Roma: Società Geologica Italiana. doi:10.3301/ROL.2016.79.


Luzzini, F. (2015). Per infera ad astra: o del contributo gesuitico al dibattito sull'origine delle sorgenti nel XVII secolo. In D. Generali (Ed.), Le radici della razionalità critica: saperi, pratiche, teleologie; studi offerti a Fabio Minasszi (pp. 755-767). Mimesis: Milan-Udine.

Teaching activities
University of East PiedmontAdjunct Professor of History of Geology
University of MilanAdjunct Professor of History of Biology


Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 
Boltzmannstraße 22 
14195 Berlin 

Curriculum Vitae