Mission and origins
The Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) is the Italian research agency dedicated to the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the laws that govern them, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR). It conducts theoretical and experimental research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear and astroparticle physics. All of the INFN’s research activities are undertaken within a framework of international competition, in close collaboration with Italian universities on the basis of solid academic partnerships spanning decades. Fundamental research in these areas requires the use of cutting-edge technology and instruments, developed by the INFN at its own laboratories and in collaboration with industries.
Groups from the Universities of Rome, Padua, Turin, and Milan founded the INFN on 8th August 1951 to uphold and develop the scientific tradition established during the 1930s by Enrico Fermi and his school, with their theoretical and experimental research in nuclear physics. In the latter half of the 1950s the INFN designed and built the first Italian accelerator, the electron synchrotron developed in Frascati, where its first national laboratory was set up. During the same period, the INFN began to participate in research into the construction and use of ever-more powerful accelerators being conducted by CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, in Geneva. Today the INFN employs some 5,000 scientists whose work is recognised internationally not only for their contribution to various European laboratories, but also to numerous research centres worldwide.