• International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019

    Stumbling Rocks

    Last September, during a solemn and memorable ceremony, the University of Pisa mustered all the Italian Universities to commemorate the expulsion of Jewish lecturers and students  in compliance with the Racial Laws promulgated in 1938 by the Fascist regime. 

    Eighty years after that infamy, the Pisa event marked a significant day of remembrance and elaboration, with the official apologies of the academy, and with the posting of a commemorative plaque. A long lasting tangible sign.

    Currently in Italy, that looks dangerously bewildered, revisionism and fake legitimacy seem to take over and creep in. Moreover, also because of the inevitable passing of the last Holocaust Witnesses, there is a need I would say urgent that even places, and not just people, "talk" to us.

    The example that I bring here is that of the "Stolpersteine", i.e. the stumbling blocks that only recently arrived in Italy. They bring evidence, in a successful cooperation between Art and Memory, on the broken lives of those who were hunted by the Nazis and the Fascists up until the extreme consequences. A visible testimony and an evidence suitable to all who walk down the street. 

    If you do not stumble, your eyes will notice the stone. Reading those names, looking at the dates of birth and of death of unknown people generates an almost instinctive desire to try to get some more information. The initiative is gradually extending from North to South Italy for persecuted people because of race or politics, anti-fascist priests and soldiers who refused to join the Fascist Social Republic (RSI) after the armistice.

    A patrimony of memories that, if wisely implemented, perhaps will save us from the abyss. 

    Adam Smulevich


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  • Keep dreaming



    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.1


    Dr. Martin Luther King was born on January 15, 1929, ninety years ago. And on January 21, 2019 the US will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The “black redeemer”.

    Apparently there are several fundamental reasons why we hate and discriminate other members of our own species.

    Among these, a different content of melanins in our melanocytes that determine the color of the skin, hair and eyes.

    Maybe a different silhouette and look.

    Or maybe a different language or dialect.

    Maybe a different set of habits? Everybody has different traditions.

    The recurring word is “different”. It comes from a Latin verb, differre: separate one from the other, carrying away, diversify.

    Out of ignorance and narrow-mindedness, some people may be scared by ethnic variety, and feel vulnerable before human migrations. And the astute politicians know how to ride this wave of insecurity.

    Earth has no borders. When you fly in a plane you do not see colorful flags flapping in the wind. You rather see one land, with rivers, hills, plains and mountains, woods, deserts, oceans, plants and animals. Happily different and diverse. Offering resources and opportunities to everybody.

    Entropy pushes toward mixing, and enthalpy can help.

    Thank you Martin Luther King for your dream. It is still ours, your voice will resound in our ears at least until diversity will imply exclusion, discrimination and segregation.


    1. “I have a dream...” © 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. (https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf. Last accessed on Jan 06, 2019).
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  • Noblesse oblige


    Nov 11, 1918: the end of World War I. The first of the two worldwide useless slaughters. The first where chemistry played a huge damned role.

    No heroes. No winners. No warriors. No justice. No peace. It’s a pity that peace lasted only 21 years after that.

    Just a red ocean of blood and a gigantic bunch of miserable, ripped human remains, pieces of bodies thrown here and there, mutilations, mixed with torn photographs, letters, medals, dirty clothes, small signs of lost innocent lives, in the fumes of an idiotic apocalypse.

    A triumph of weeping people. Silently crying tears of death, suffering, rapes, starvation, losses and despair.

    Every single country has its own temple to the Unknown Soldier. Impressive burials for one single dead young man representing all those who died with no name.

    You hypocrite! Celebrating the sacrifice of the many victims does not dismiss the conviction of war criminals with their smoking guns.

    There is only one sincere way to celebrate the end of WWI: Stop all wars! Now.It’s a dream, a fantasy, an illusion. Wars are so lucrative.

    Rather, remember the spontaneous cease-fires around Christmas day in those years between the opposed soldiers, in their muddy trenches. Suddenly the nobody’s land became everybody’s land. They were real men, they knew what brotherhood, comprehension, peacefulness, real hard work means.

    And this is what we want to celebrate. Make their sacrifice useful.

    Peace be with you all.


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  • One face. No race


    Greeks and Italians look pretty similar. They have similar habits. Landscapes, fragrances and food are almost identical. There is a popular expression that reflects this peculiar opinion. In English it sounds like "One face. One race". 

    Apart from being a funny and well-matched expression, it implies the existence of a race for humans.

    In the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the promulgation of the fascist Racial Laws in Italy on 17 November 1938, that paved the way to the most atrocious abomination perpetrated against innocent people, we do reaffirm that a human race does not exist at all. Genetics and science in general cannot be abused to justify this repugnant lie.1 

    In the present time rumors, fears, hatred and resentment against other people reappear at all latitudes. And some add fuel to the flames.

    We do not want to fall again and again in the same situation as 80 years ago.

    We all have one face. And there is no race. 

    Firenze, 28 September 2018 

    1: Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza. Genes, Peoples, and Languages (translated by Mark Seielstad), North Point Press: New York, 2000.


    Cover page of the journal "Difesa della razza" (The defense of the race).

    The first issue was published on 5 August 1938, until 1943, in Rome.

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  • Remembering Prof. Kåre Larsson


    In memory of Kåre Larsson (1937-2018).

    Kåre passed away yesterday, March 25, 2018, after a long suffering because of a stubborn illness that he fought corageously, like a lion.

    We will never forget his fairness and peacefulness, we will always be grateful for his gigantic contribution to Colloid Science and close disciplines. The scientific community mourns for his loss. R.I.P.


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  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2018


    By the rivers of Babylon we sat down; there we wept when we remembered Zion.
    On the willows near by we hung up our harps.

                                                                            Psalm 137

    Memory ought to produce a degree of uneasiness, otherwise it serves no purpose.  
                                                                           Luigi Dei, Molecules of an author in search of memory, FUP 2013

    We do celebrate the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and we honour the defenceless innocent victims of one of the most purulent events in the history of mankind. We pay homage to the survivors who witness that tragedy in our times, and every single time the wound bleeds. And to those who provided a refuge to unknown brothers and sisters, without looking the other way before the nazi ferocity.

    It may happen again. Tomorrow. Or maybe today. Watch out: the evil looks banal.

    Firenze, January 27, 2018

    Pierandrea Lo Nostro

    On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day and in collaboration with our publisher Firenze University Press, we are honored to offer perpetual and irreversible open access to “Molecules of an author in search of memory" by Luigi Dei. To its Scientific Committee - that includes Luigi Dei and Roald Hoffmann - and to the larger scientific Community, Substantia confirms its commitment for justice, liberty and truth. Wherever and whenever on earth. 


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