A decline and fall in the future of Italian Astronomy?

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics – Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics

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Scientific paper

On May 27th 2010, the Italian astronomical community learned with concern that the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) was going to be suppressed, and that its employees were going to be transferred to the National Research Council (CNR). It was not clear if this applied to all employees (i.e. also to researchers hired on short-term contracts), and how this was going to happen in practice. In this letter, we give a brief historical overview of INAF and present a short chronicle of the few eventful days that followed. Starting from this example, we then comment on the current situation and prospects of astronomical research in Italy.

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