Born in Rome in 1955. Maturità Classica (60/60), Liceo Mamiani, Rome. Laurea in Fisica (110/110 summa cum laude), Sapienza University of Rome; Thesis on surface excitons, under the supervision of M. Altarelli, F. Bassani and R. Del Sole. Since then employed at:
Bell Labs (1, 2, 3), Murray Hill, NJ (1979-1981); Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (1981-1982); Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung, Stuttgart (1982-1984); CNR, Centro Fisica Stati Aggregati ed Impianto Ionico, Trento (1984-1988) and University of Trento (Associate Professor, 1988-1991), La Sapienza, Roma (Associate Professor, 1991-1999; Full Professor, 2000-present).
My field is the theory of
electronic states. Between 1979 and 1981 I have contributed, with M. Schlüter and D. R. Hamann, to the development of electron-ion potentials, by now a standard tool in electronic-structure calculations. Later on, in the groups of F. Bassani (Pisa), O.K. Andersen (Stuttgart) and G. Jacucci (Trento), I have used these "norm-conserving pseudopotentials" to study defects, surfaces and interfaces in semiconductors. The study of solids has periodically led me back to atoms, many-fermion theory and Density Functional Theory. In collaboration with D.M. Ceperley I defined in the late eighties a novel pseudohamiltonian for quantum Monte Carlo and went on working on pseudopotential theory vs. QMC for a few more years, then on electronic correlations in model quantum systems like the 2D Hubbard Hamiltonian and the homogeneous electron gas in 2D and 3D, including a modified e-e interaction (1, 2), of interest for new formulations of the Density Functional Theory. In the last ~20 years, in collaboration with L. Boeri, I have studied the electron-phonon interaction in superconducting MgB2, CaAlSi, graphite intercalation compounds
as CaC6, and, more recently (2018-2021), in high-pressure polyhydrides (see e.g.
# 39, 40, and 42 of the publication list) and doped boron-carbon clathrates. Just before retirement I contributed to a revisitation of mercury's superconductivity
(after 111 years) which, "Physics" listes in the top 10 papers of 2022.
I have published about 50 papers in collaboration with students and colleagues from various part of the world, with shorter and longer visits at Berkeley (1987), Urbana (1989), KITP Santa Barbara (1994; 2002), Cornell (1998), presenting my results at conferences and schools in Europe and the USA. These results have altogether received, so far, about 7400/5400 citations,* of which about 4000/3000 belong to my most-cited article, Pseudopotentials that work (which in 2004 ranked #49 out of the 100 most cited Physical Review articles of all times), and about 500/350 to my 2002 study on the correlation energy and spin polarization of the 2D electron gas, my second most-cited article; my h-index is 30/27.
Over the years I have supervised ~60 theses and dissertations and held a few specialistic lecture courses in Italy and abroad, plus regular graduate and undergraduate courses on Many Body Theory (1987-1991), Electromagnetism (1991-94; 2001), Condensed Matter Physics (1993-95; 2000), Quantum Theory of Solids (1995-2004), Elementary Mechanics I and II to Physics freshmen (2002-2006; 2021 ), Numerical Methods for Quantum Systems (2005, 2006), a basic course on Atomic, molecular and solid-state physics (2007-2008, 2016‐2021 ; its lecture notes were published as a booklet in 2014, reprinted in 2017), Condensed Matter Physics (2008), the first course of Mechanics and Thermodynamics to Math freshmen (2013-2015), and advanced courses on Computational Condensed-Matter Physics (2014, 2015), Computational Statistical Mechanics (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), and Computing Methods for Physics (2020, 2021).
Scientific and managing responsibilities have absorbed quite some energy. I have been PI of the national program "Statistical mechanics and strongly correlated systems" (1997-1999), Head of the Condensed Matter Area of my Department (2005-2008), Review Committee member for the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (2007-2009). But the most demanding community service came with my election to the Italian Parliament, which implied a 5-year leave of absence (2008-2013). Moreover, shortly after my return to the University, I was elected Director of the Physics Undergraduate and Graduate studies and member of the Faculty Council, so only after 2017 I was truly back to just research and teaching. In 2023 I retired.*see Google Scholar / Web of Science (last update: 3/2023)