Entitling CASY to Giuseppe Evangelisti

The idea mainly comes from two facts. First, the great debt for the pioneering contribution given by Prof. Giuseppe Evangelisti (1903-1981) to the development of Automatic Control in Italy and of its international links just after the Second World War, and, secondly, the sincere reconnaissance for his fruitful influence as a scientist, teacher and man not only within the University of Bologna but also at national and international level. A brief biosketch is reported in the following.

Giuseppe Evangelisti was born in Molinella near Bologna, Italy on November 25, 1903. He graduated cum laude in civil engineering at the University of Bologna in 1927. After a period of professional activity, in 1931 he joined the School of Engineering of the University of Bologna, where he obtained the "libera docenza" in Hydraulics (1936) and became Full Professor of Hydraulic Constructions in 1939.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Giuseppe Evangelisti was already a well-known scientist who was famous in particular for his brilliant results on the theory of the water hammer phenomenon and on the regulation of hydraulic turbines, on which his first work was published in 1941. During that difficult period of both moral and material reconstruction of the country he took advantage of his scientific reputation to renew relations, that had broken down for some time, with colleagues and university institutes within and outside Europe, encouraging visits, exchanging information and ideas and taking an active part in cultural initiatives in Italy and abroad. He was involved in many fields where he showed great competence and enthusiasm: as a member of the Higher Council of Public Education expert in university problems, as a scientist famous for his work in hydraulics in the National Committee of the Association of the Companies Supplying Electrical Energy, and as a high level consultant of public and private companies for the reconstruction of the country and the exploitation of its resources.

In the framework of these activities and commitments, at the beginning of the fifties he organized a trip to the USA, precisely to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to outline the state of the art in Italian hydraulic research. It was this exchange of ideas and experience on the theme of regulation that inspired the deep conviction, that was to characterize his subsequent activity for about twenty years, of the decisive and innovative importance of the newly emerging disciplines of Automatic Control and Computer Engineering. From then on Giuseppe Evangelisti used his scientific authority and organizational ab ility to found (1956) a Computing and Servomechanism Centre in Bologna, that was among the first in Italy, and set up university courses in Automatic Control and Computers, and finally a series of annual courses for the preparation of programmers and seminars specializing in the new techniques of Control and Computer-aided Design for technicians of a variety of firms and national companies, in particular ENI and ENEL.

Giuseppe Evangelisti was very active not only at local and national level, but also at international level. It is mainly thanks to his personal sensitivity and scientific reputation that Italy became, through an ad hoc Committee of the CNR (National Research Council), one of the first eight countries to officially join IFAC in 1957, at the constitution meeting held in Paris (see Automatica, How IFAC developed, vol. 14, no.1, p.73). In fact, by joining a small group of enthusiastic scientists and technicians from different countries, he played a remarkable role during the period of preparation of IFAC and the early years before and after the First World Congress in Moscow in 1960. He attended the famous Heidelberg 1956 Conference and was the only delegate from Italy to sign the well-known resolution "in favour of an international union of Automatic Control". As national representative he was elected member of the first Executive Council of IFAC (see Figure 2 in Automatica, vol.14, no.1, p. 55) from 1957 to 1961, and in this position contributed to the organization of the EC Meeting in Rome (March 1959) and the General Assembly in Chicago (September 1959). During the first Congress in Moscow in 1960 Giuseppe Evangelisti presented a technical paper and served as session chairman.

Giuseppe Evangelisti's scientific and technical work was characterized by broadness of interest, always supported by a rare explanational clarity and an original and rigorous mathematical approach. Mention must, in particular, be given to his fundamental contributions on the analysis of the water hammer in pressure water pipes, on the stability of permanent motion along channels, and on the realization of electrical simulators for complex transportation networks of liquids and high pressure gas. Finally, his pioneering book, The Regulation of Hydraulic Turbines, published by Zanichelli, Bologna, 1947, can be considered one of the first organic treatises of automatic control methods and the first control application of this specific subject.

His outstanding research work has achieved world-wide acknowledgment. He was a member of many academies and cultural institutions: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Accademia delle Scienze dell'Istituto di Bologna, Istituto Lombardo di Scienze e Lettere, Académie des Sciences de Toulouse, Institut Belge de Régulation et d'Automation, Association Suisse pour l'Automation. Professor Evangelisti was also a member of the Higher Council for Public Education from 1945 to 1954 and of the Higher Council for Health from 1964 to 1969. He received the Gold Medal for Education from the Italian Ministry of Public Education in 1966 and the doctoral degree honoris causa from the Technische Universitat of Munich, Bavaria in 1971 and finally he was awarded the title Professor Emeritus of the University of Bologna.

Giuseppe Evangelisti, as well as being a respected scientist, was an unforgettable teacher in many different areas (Hydraulic Constructions and Plants, Electrical Communications, Automatic Control, Applied Mathematics, Circuit Theory, Vibrations of concrete structures) and a constant source of inspiration to both colleagues and students alike. He will be remembered by all those that met him as a man of great humanity, affability, culture and faith. During the last period of his life, made difficult by illness and suffering, before he passed away on January 19, 1981, he was writing about the relationship between Man and Automation and the ever-present problems deriving from the possible dominance of the new technologies over the true values of mankind. His conclusion was that the existence of such serious problems apparently without a definite answer indicates nothing other than "the smallness of someone who is sent into raptures by his earthly world without ever seeing anyone above him or higher than him".