The "Galileo Galilei Medal" Award
When the GGI was established as a National Centre for Advanced Studies, INFN created the "Galileo Galilei Medal" award in honour of the founding father of the scientific method and of modern physics.
Starting from 2019, the Galileo Galilei Medal will be assigned every two years by a special committee appointed by the INFN president with the contribution of the GGI director, the chair of the INFN commission for theoretical physics and the INFN executive board.
The medal is assigned to one or more scientists (three at the most) who, in the 25 years before the date of the award, have achieved outstanding results on the areas of theoretical physics of interest to INFN, such as fundamental interactions between elementary particles, including gravity and nuclear phenomena.
The Galileo Galilei Medal 2019 was awarded to Juan
Martin Maldacena with the following motivation:
"For his ground-breaking ideas in theoretical physics, and
especially for the discovery of duality between gravity
and ordinary quantum field theory, with far-reaching
implications." Born in Buenos Aires in 1968, Juan Martin
Maldacena is one of the most influential theoretical
physicists in the last decades. His ideas have opened
new scenarios in string theory, field theory and quantum
gravity. He is currently a member of the Institute for
Advanced Study in Princeton (USA).
The members of the Selection Committee of the 2019 Galileo Galilei Medal were Sergio Ferrara, John Iliopoulos, Helen Quinn, Gabriele Veneziano (chair) and Edward Witten.
The Galileo Galilei Medal has been crafted by Picchiani&Barlacchi, the famous florentine workshop with over a century of tradition in the crafting of artistic and commemorative medals, plaques and trophies.
The history of Picchiani&Barlacchi began in 1896, when craftsman Gastone Picchiani began making medals in a small workshop in a cellar with a pantograph paid for in instalments. Picchiani's skill enabled him to open a workshop, with his brother, in the very central Via de' Fossi, where he hired three other craftsmen.
In 1921, the firm became Picchiani&Barlacchi. Bruno Barlacchi was a bookkeeper who had begun keeping Picchiani's accounts in 1915. He had a passion for medals and his instinct told him that they had immense potential in the world of sport. In 1950, Picchiani left his business to Barlacchi, and the workshop moved to his current premises in via Petrarca.
The products are crafted using traditional methods, beginning with the drawing, then the creation of a plaster model, the casting of the model, the reduction using the pantograph, the production of the die and finally the minting. Numerous famous sculptors have worked on the creation of the moulds for the products of Picchiani&Barlacchi.
In addition to the old pantographs, which are still used today, and other machines necessary for the production of the medals and plaques, the premises host an extensive archive of minting dies, which would allow the reconstruction of the history of Italy and the world from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.