The Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, also known in Italian as Scuola Normale (English: Normal School), is a higher learning institution in Italy. It was founded in 1810, by Napoleonic decree, as a branch of the École Normale Supérieure of Paris. Since its foundation it has operated a highly selective student admission procedure, and its main goal was, during that period, essentially to form the best college and high school teachers. Recognized as a "national university" in 1862, one year after Italian unification, and named during that period as "Normal School of the Kingdom of Italy", it then obtained its administrative autonomy in 1936, surviving the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. Since that period, the Normal School has become an entity separate from the University of Pisa, with complete administrative, didactic and regulative freedom. The Scuola, together with the University of Pisa and with Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, belongs to the Pisa University System.
Fields of study
The Scuola Normale offers classes in both arts and sciences. Currently the university offers the following classes :
- Ancient History and Classical Philology
- Italian Literature and Linguistics
- Art History and Archaeology
- History and Paleography
- Biological Sciences
- Computer Science
- Physics (PhD)
- Condensed Matter Physics (PhD)
- Molecular Biophysics (PhD)
- Mathematics (PhD Course)
- Mathematics for Finance and Business Technologies (PhD)
- Neurobiology (PhD)
- Molecular Biology (PhD)
- Chemistry (PhD)
In order to become a student at the Scuola Normale, or normalista, the candidate must pass an extremely selective admissions exam (there are only sixty candidates admitted out of nearly 1000 applicants on average every year), with questions ranging in the entire chosen field of study: for example, for a would-be Computer Science student, it's not sufficient to be an IT guru; successful candidates will also have much higher-than-average, valuable knowledge about mathematics and physics, too. The normalisti receive free housing, free lunches and dinners, and a monthly stipend.
The Scuola does not have a full programme of undergraduate and graduate studies; instead, the students follow the ordinary courses at the public University of Pisa, and complement them with additional classes and seminars taught by the professors of the Scuola Normale. The normalisti
are required to score high marks in their exams at the public university (average marks of at least 27/30 and no mark below 24/30) in order to maintain their scholarship.
The Ph.D. programme, instead, is separate and completely independent of the degrees at the University of Pisa. The Ph.D. course is called corso di perfezionamento
, and the students are called perfezionandi
The Scuola Normale is located in its original historical building, called Palazzo della Carovana, in Piazza dei Cavalieri, in the medieval centre of Pisa.
Nowadays, students are housed in four dorms located nearby in the city.
- Enrico Fermi, physicist and Nobel prize winner
- Carlo Rubbia, physicist and Nobel prize winner
- Giosuè Carducci, poet & Nobel prize winner
- Lamberto Cesari, mathematician
- Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, economist & politician, lifetime senator, former Prime Minister of Italy, former President of the Italian Republic, former Governor of the Banca d'Italia
- Massimo D'Alema, (withdrew), politician, former Italian Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Ennio de Giorgi, mathematician
- Giovanni Gronchi, politician, former President of the Republic of Italy
- Giovanni Gentile, philosopher and politician
- Fabio Mussi, (withdrew), politician, former Italian Minister of the University
- Vito Volterra, mathematician
- Guido Fubini, mathematician
- Luigi Bianchi, mathematician
- Leonida Tonelli, mathematician
- Jiyuan Yu, philosopher