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Tito Arecchi

ICO mourns the passing away of Prof. Fortunato Tito Arecchi.

photo   Fortunato Tito Arecchi, born in Reggio Calabria, Italy, in 1933, died on 15 February 2021, in Florence. He was Emeritus Professor of Physics of the University of Florence and ICO Vice President 1981-1984. Tito, as was simply named by all of us, went much beyond Optics, joining deep scientific knowledge and insight with a profound humanistic culture. He started his pioneering activity on lasers in 1957 at Centro Informazioni Studi Esperienze in Milan. In 1970, he won the Chair of  Professor of Physics in the University of Pavia and in 1975 he moved to Florence, where he got the position of Professor of “Higher Physics”and was President of the “Instituto Nazionale di Ottica” for 25 years, promoting new research lines, as pattern formation in extended media, complex phenomena and cognitive processes. He published more than 450 papers and worth of note are the first demonstration of the deterministic chaos in CO2 laser or generalized  multistability. Classification of lasers in A, B and C classes are related to him. He also promoted quantum optics, optical metrology, optoelectronics and applications such as testing laboratories and industry collaborations.  


He taught in many international institutions, such as the MIT,  Stanford University, or the IBM Research Laboratories in Zurich. Worth mentioning is his founding, in 1980, of the Specialisation School in Optics, a post degree School of the University, unique in Italy, that he directed until 2003.  He was one of the five founders of the SIOF (Società Italiana di Ottica e Fotonica), fellow of  OSA and honorary member of the SIF (Italian Society of Physics). In 1995 he received the Max Born Award from the OSA: “For many contributions to photon statistics of lasers, cooperative atomic radiation effects, and laser instability and chaos” and in 2006 he received the Enrico Fermi Award from the Italian Society of Physics (SIF): “For his pioneering contribution to the knowledge of the coherence phenomena in matter and radiation, in particular for the first experimental demonstration of the statistical properties of coherent radiation”. 

In words of Prof. Paolo de Natale, remembering the place where INO was located in Florence: “Arcetri was home to ageless, universal scientists like Galileo Galilei, that here spent the last ten years of his life, or Enrico Fermi, who spent a few years teaching at the Physics Department of Florence University. Therefore, it seems natural for me thinking of Tito, working within this peculiar environment, as a multi-faceted man of Italian Renaissance”.

The ICO Community will miss him.

Roberta Ramponi, Anna Consortini and Paolo de Natale