Roberto has been a Research Scholar in Department I since 2013; he also works with the Research Program on the History of the Max Planck Society (GMPG). After having received his MSc in Physics (2007), Roberto Lalli earned a PhD in International History at the University of Milan (2011) with a dissertation on the controversial reception of relativity theories in France and the USA. He is a historian of modern physical sciences whose work focuses on the interconnections between social and epistemic factors in the production and circulation of novel products in theoretical physics and in the international standardization of scientific practices during the twentieth century.
From 2011 to 2013, Roberto was a Postdoctoral Fellow on the STS Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), under the supervision of David Kaiser. He has published extensively on the history of relativity theories, on the international and inter-institutional transfer of quantum theory, and on the evolution of editorial practices in physics. He is currently elaborating new methodologies based on the concepts and tools of the network theory in order to jointly analyze the evolution of scientific knowledge in physics, the creation of transnational scientific communities, and the developments of scientific institutions.
Changing Contexts and Practices of Basic Science during the Twentieth Century
Networks, Network Science, and Knowledge Graphs
The Formation of the Research Field of General Relativity—Social Networks and Semantic Modeling
The Renaissance of General Relativity in the Post-World War II Period
The Role of Institutions and Commissions in Forming Research Agendas: Networks and Mass Digitization
Lalli, R. (2016). ‘Dirty work’, but someone has to do it: Howard P. Robertson and the refereeing practices of ‘Physical Review’ in the 1930s. Notes and Records, 70(2), 151-174. doi:10.1098/rsnr.2015.0022.Read More
Blum, A. S., Lalli, R., & Renn, J. (2015). The reinvention of general relativity: a historiographical framework for assessing one hundred years of curved space-time. Isis, 106(3), 598-620. doi:10.1086/683425.Read More
Lalli, R. (2015). 'The Renaissance of physics’: Karl K. Darrow (1891–1982) and the dissemination of quantum theory at the Bell Telephone Laboratories. In R. Pisano (Read More
Ed.), A bridge between conceptual frameworks: sciences, society and technology studies (pp. 249-273). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-94-017-9645-3_14.
Lalli, R. (2013). Anti-relativity in action: the scientific activity of Herbert E. Ives between 1937 and 1953. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 43(1), 41-104.Read More
Lalli, R. (2012). The Reception of Miller’s Ether-Drift Experiments in the USA: The History of a Controversy in Relativity Revolution. Annals of Science, 69(2), 153-214.Read More
Lalli, R. (2011). Effetto Sagnac (1913): Storia di un mancato dibattito nella Francia degli anni '20. Quaderni di Storia della Fisica, 17(1), 47-81.Read More
Lalli, R. (2014). A new scientific journal takes the scene: the birth of reviews of modern physics. Annalen der Physik, 526(9/10), A83-A87. doi:10.1002/andp.201400810.Read More
Renn, J., Wintergrün, D., Lalli, R., Laubichler, M., & Valleriani, M. (2016). Netzwerke als Wissensspeicher. In J. Mittelstraß, & U. Rüdiger (Read More
Eds.), Die Zukunft der Wissensspeicher: Forschen, Sammeln und Vermitteln im 21. Jahrhundert (pp. 35-79). München: UVK Verlagsgesellschaft Konstanz.
Cold War Seminar Series
Margaret Thatcher, the Cold War, and International Science in the 1980sMORE
Cold War Seminar Series
Changing Channel: What is Science Diplomacy and How Could It Help Us to Better Understand Cold War Science?MORE
Opening New Windows on the Cosmos: Astrophysics and Astronomy in the History of the Max Planck SocietyMORE
Centenary Conference on the History of General RelativityMORE
An Intellectual Life Across DisciplinesMORE
Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities
Invited talk at the Image, Knowledge Gestaltung. An Interdisciplinary Laboratory. Humboldt Universität
Invited talk at the 36th Congress of the Italian Society for the History of Physics and Astronomy (SISFA)
invited talk at the conference Publish or Perish? Scientific Periodicals from 1665 to the Present, Royal Society, London
Space-Time Theories: Historical and Philosophical Contexts, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Invited talk at the 99th Congress of the Italian Physical Society (SIF), Trieste
SILFS 2014, Triennial International Conference of the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Rome.
6th International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science
“An Intellectual Life across Disciplines: Colloquium in Honour of John Stachel’s 85th Birthday,” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany
Fishbein Workshops for the History of Science and Medicine, at the University of Chicago
Invited talk at the 33th congress of the Italian Society for the History of Physics and Astronomy (SISFA), Acireale
HSS/BSHS/CSHPS 3-Society 2012 Meeting, Philadelphia, PA
HSS Annual Meeting, Cleveland, OH
Fourth conference on the History of Quantum Physics, San Sebastián, Spain