Erice Antenna Mast
It was a pleasure to return to Erice again in 1997 for the 12th course of the International School of Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy - Ultrafast Dynamics of Quantum Systems: Physical Processes and Spectroscopic Techniques. A total of 74 participants from 54 laboratories and 14 different countries (the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, The United Kingdom, and The United States) attended the meeting from June 15-30, 1997. I gave some introduction to this place in my Erice 1995 journal entry. I was able to exlore a bit more on this trip and offer some scanned photographs in this way to compliment my 1995 trip.
Torre Campanaria (Bell Tower) of Chiesa Matrice (Mother Church)
There was occasion to visit one of the Aegadian Islands (Favignana), the amphitheater of Segesta, and again a place we visited in 1995 called Custonaci, a seaside town (part of the province of Trapani) that affords some picturesque views of Monte Cofano. Overall it was another
splendid visit to Erice, although I suffered through it I am afraid, having not just caught a cold, but the flu I am fairly certain. I was much sicker than I let anyone know, but did get assistance from Rino in helping me select some medicine at the pharmacy for my symptoms. What can you do but carry on, eh? I would retire to an isolated corner somewhere when the cough got the better of me. Needless to say, Erice was enough for me this year and I canceled further travel that year and went straight home.
Chiesa Matrice (Gothic 14th century)
I thought I would take this opportunity to tell the story the Ettore Majorana Centre for Scientific Culture
(EMCSC), where the schools and workshops in Erice are held year round. Established in 1962, it is not an academy or university, but a place where scientists gather to share the latest knowledge in a given field in a multitude of disciplines spanning the sciences. At Erice, however, the spirit is that everyone who participates is a 'student' in principle, and this distinguishes the experience here from other places where there is a formal division between teacher and pupil. It doesn't always meet its ideal in this way, but endeavors to do so in the spirit of putting lecturer and audience on the same road to discovery. Anyway, there is a 20th century mystery story to add here, one that remains unsolved to this day.
Ettore Majorana Photo
EMCSC was named after Ettore Majorana
, an Italian physicist of great prominance at a young age in the 1930's. His work is still talked about today in the field of physics, and most recently on possible verification of the discovery of Majorana Fermions.
All that scientific stuff aside, here's the really mysterious part. In 1938 he dissapeared on a trip from Palermo
to Naples and was never seen again. There are many hypothesis for his dissapearance and some suspicious circumstances too, such as he withdrew all the money from his bank account prior to arriving in Palermo. There was some strange letters and cables involved as well. It's a real Italian mystery as to what became of him. There was some story in 2011 claiming he may have been identified in an Argentina photograph from 1955 with 10-points of similarity (I guess that is quite significant). The story of Ettore Majorana, nevertheless, lends an air of mystery to the Centre for Scientific Culture in Erice that he is named after and has carried his name for 50 year now since the first course held there in 1963. Dan Brown in 'Da Vinci Code' ways couldn't have written a better story in mystery...