Gianni Tofani (Photo from Italian Regional Television News)
Modified on Tuesday, 17-Dec-2019 11:01:34 EST by Ellen Bouton, Archivist (Questions or feedback)
Contributed by Luigina Feretti
Gianni Tofani was born in August 1938 and suddenly passed away in February 2015. He was an Engineer, but his life has been deeply tied to Astronomy, in particular to Radio Astronomy and he became a full Astronomer at the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri. He started his activity by contributing in the development of pioneering radio telescopes for solar observations and later he gave a fundamental contribution to the realization of the two antennas in Medicina (Bologna) and Noto (Siracusa, Sicily). He was among the key people who participated in the construction of the Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT), as Principal Investigator of the project and member of the management Board.
He has been particularly active in the technological field, with the development of equipments and receivers to optimize the performances of radio telescopes, but he also carried out scientific research, encompassing several topics, from spectroscopic studies of the galactic star forming regions, to HII regions associated with O and B stars, to the emission of water masers.
He held positions of great responsibility, as the Director of the CNR Institute CAISMI (Centro Astronomia Infrarossa e Studio del Mezzo Interstellare) in Firenze, and, from 2002 to 2005, the Director of the INAF Istituto di Radioastronomia of Bologna. In the international context, he was the promoter of the participation of Italy to several EU programs, notably SKADS and RadioNet. In the latter, he played an active role both in research, with the development of radio instrumentation, and in management, with his participation to the RadioNet Board, where he also served as Chairman. He had a vision of the development and coordination of radio astronomy at a European level, with the primary goal of having Italy to play a major role in the European VLBI Network. He also fostered the Italian participation to the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) and strongly supported the creation in Bologna of the Italian INAF node of the ALMA Regional Center Network. He has been for several years President of the Italian section of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI).
He was a very constructive, calm, and positive person. He was a real old time gentleman. His personality was appreciated worldwide. His elegance, kindness, openness and competence will always be remembered.