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> Enrico Boggio Lera Issue: 2014-2 Section: General

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From 6th to 9th June 2012 in Catania’s Boggio Lera Scientific High School there were various manifestations celebrating the 150th years by the born of the famous physicist who is entitled the school.

Enrico Boggio Lera was born in Bardonecchia, on 6th March 1862. His father, engineer, was there to build the Frejus tunnel.

After school studies, he attended the Pisa Normal High School with full marks.

When he was 23, he took a degree in Physics and Mathematics with a thesis about “Kinematics of continuum” with full marks and publication right paid by State.

In 1887 he obtained teaching in Sassari’s Technical High School where he met the city’s primary doctor’s daughter, Virginia Manca.

He married her and they had 7 sons.

Since 1892 he taught in Catania’s Gemmellaro Technical High School; since 1893 he began teaching on the Viticulture and Oenology (now Eredia Agricultural High School) too.

After some promotions from both schools, on 1st October 1923 he had the title of “Professore del Ruolo di Onore della Pubblica Istruzione”, then the one of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Corona d’Italia” and the one of “Cavaliere Ufficiale” because of exceptional merit of teaching.

Since 1904 he taught at the Catania’s University, he ended on 1932 because of pension.

He gave another help to science until 1952, when he left it because of music that he loved.

On 7th November 1956, when he was 94, he died.

The sculptor Emilio Greco build a statue in his honour, placed on the “Viale degli uomini illustri” in the Bellini Park. A square, near “Cibali” stadium, has his name.

His scientific production was various in physics and chemistry.

A lot of his publications are in “Accademia Gioenia”, an other lot were lost. His book “Galileo Galilei: vita ed opere”, printed by “Casa Editrice Vallardi”, is very interesting.

At the school, during manifestations, were done the most important physical experiences made by Boggio Lera in Gemmellaro High School’s laboratory with his own instruments.

In fact, when in 1923, was founded the first Scientific High School in Catania, with authorization of the provincial administration, a lot of physical instruments, some used by him, were given by the Gemmellaro High School to the new school. That instruments were the beginning of a Physics Laboratory who grew buying new instruments.

Most of the old instruments were unused and at the event were restored: a good team of teachers fixed almost 200 instruments, making them fully functional. On 8th and 9th June were shown at school to a big audience a lot of experiences, including the wireless telegraphy. Those experiences were done by Boggio Lera in July 1897 and Catania’s newspapers wrote about that on 17th, 31st July and 3rd August 1897. Those experiments were done shortly after Marconi’s ones, about which newspapers wrote in June 1897. Were shown and described to the public a lot of X rays tools built by Boggio Lera, used by him to do the first radiographies.The famous scientist was very interested by meteorology so he built a tool who notices and records storms: that tool was very wanted by meteorology stations all over the world. In 1900 he received praise mail from Paris because his instrument reported a storm 3 hours before its arrival. “Richard” factory of Paris produced and sold a lot of them.He was a big scientist, reserved, who refused honors and who didn’t use his inventions for profit.One of his students wrote: “The joy of making that, of emptying his genial heart, of thinking, only him without applause, the possible applications of his inventions, was enough for him”.One of his sons doesn’t agree with him, because he said: “In life you need to do, to can do and to notify all you can do”.



  • Books consulted: Enrico Boggio Lera nella vita e nella storia (S.E.I. Printing, 1963)
  • Boggio Lera: La tradizione di un Liceo (Marino typography, S. Barbara street 15, Catania, June 2001)