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A new pathway for Italy-Australia cooperation

by Jean-Francois Desvignes-Hicks

A new book entitled “What if they never existed?” is due for publication in Australia this July (07/2008). The book which focuses on nine of the most significant scientists who have changed the world is not only narrated in words but also in pictures: ten canvas oil paintings inspired by these personalities. The book aims to raise the awareness of both laymen and young people about the importance of research and science and in particular for education. For the author development in research and education has played, and will continue to play the most fundamental of roles in the quality of our daily life. “Today it is impossible to conceive of a world without mobile phones, washing machines or for that matter any one of the electrical appliances that we use in our everyday life”, says the author, Nicola Sasanelli.

In “What if They Never Existed” Nicola Sasanelli focuses on nine significant scientists in history whose works and discoveries have helped change the world. Scientific Attaché at the Italian Embassy in Canberra since 2001, Dr Nicola Sasanelli is also an accomplished artist with works in collections around the world, and inspired by these scientists he has created a collection of paintings as a tribute to them. The ten paintings featured in the book have been donated to NICTA (National Information Communication Technology Australia in Canberra), where they are on permanent display.

His book carries the message that for important research to continue there must be strong support from politicians and laymen alike, and that there is a need for young people to be imbued with the same curiosity and excitement that first compelled him to study science and to become a researcher.

The publication of “What if They Never Existed” has been generously sponsored by Vodafone and all profits from the sales are to be used to establish a scholarship fund for science and research studies for Australian and Italian students.

It is critical that we keep finding new ways to pinpoint resources and funding not only for research, but also for international cooperation” says Nicola Sasanelli. The initiative of the Science Attaché of the Italian Embassy in Canberra is a new approach that has been attempted in Australia before in this sector. With this in mind FEAST will assist the Italian-Australian research community in promoting “What if They Never Existed” to be launched early in July.

All orders of the book can be placed directly to Ms. Paula Nagel who is responsible for administering the Scholarship Fund ( Please note that there is a 20% discount price available for orders of ten or more copies.

For more information about Australia-Italy Science and Technolgy cooperation please visit the office of the science attaché at ARIA, the Italian-Australian research network (Associazione per la Ricerca tra Italia e Australasia) has branches in five states and territories in Australia.

Further information