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The Liberty of Knowledge: Remembering Rita Levi Montalcini

27Jan9:00 am3:30 pmThe Liberty of Knowledge: Remembering Rita Levi Montalcini9:00 am - 3:30 pm(GMT+00:00) Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12 Street, New York, NY 10011

Event Details

Presented by the Consulate General of Italy, Centro Primo Levi, NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, Italian Cultural Institute, Italian Academy at Columbia University, Calandra Institute of Italian American Studies at CUNY.

January 29 at 6:00 pm
CUNY John Calandra Institute,
25 West 43rd Street
Research Notes on Italian Jewish Exiles in the United States, 1938-1945
Fraser Ottanelli (University of South Florida)

January 30 at 6:00 pm
NYU Casa ItalianaZerilliMarimò,
24 West 12th Street
The Longest Journey, The Deportation of the Jews of Rhodes

February 4 from 10 am to 8 pm
The Liberty of Knowledge. Remembering Rita Levi Montalcini

The Saga of the Nerve Growth Factor
Italian Cultural Institute, 686 Park Avenue, NY, (10 am to 1 pm)
Opening remarks : Riccardo Viale (ICI)
Introduction : Moses Chao (NYU)
Speakers : Ralph Bradshaw (UC/Irvine), Ruth Angeletti (Albert Einstein), Lloyd Greene (Columbia University)
Conclusions : Eric Kandel (Columbia University).

A Young Jewish scientist in Fascist Italy
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, (5 pm to 8 pm)
Opening remarks : Alessandro Di Rocco (NYU, CPL), PieroFassino (Mayor of Turin). Speakers: Annalisa Capristo (Center for American Studies, Rome), AntoninoCattaneo (FondazioneEbri).
Conclusions : Emma Bonino (Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs).

February 13 at 5:00 pm
Italian Academy at Columbia University,

1161, Amsterdam Avenue
Gender and Anti-Semitism: Women’s Rights Yesterday and Today
Victoria De Grazia (Columbia University), YasmineErgas (Columbia University), ElissaBemporad (CUNY).

About Rita Levi Montalcini
Rita Levi-Montalcini, the longest living Nobel Prize winner, died on December 30, 2012 at the age of 103. She established her fame by discovering the first nerve growth factor, NGF, in the 1950s. Her finding led to the identification of many growth factors, which have greatly influenced developmental biology, neuroscience, immunology and cancer. NGF and related neurotrophins are associated with learning and memory, pain, neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases) and psychiatric disorders.

Rita Levi-Montalcini represented a breed of scientist rarely seen today. Born into a traditional Italian Jewish family, she endured obstacles due to gender, religion and war. As a woman, her family reluctantly allowed her to pursue her studies and career. After medical school at the University of Turin, she became interested in neurology. However, with the promulgation of the fascist racial laws of 1938, Levi-Montalcini was not allowed to work. During the period of 1940-1943, she carried out her research on early chick embryonic development in a makeshift laboratory in her bedroom. She was eventually forced into hiding by the anti-Jewish persecution. From these early efforts, Levi-Montalcini used chick embryos to study the effects of target tissue upon nerve growth, giving rise to methods that made the isolation of NGF possible.

Rita Levi-Montalcini has been an inspiration for many generations of scientists, due to her exemplary life, as a neuroscientist, leader, politician, prolific writer and her dedication to education.

Rita was a staunch supporter of women in science. She promoted the careers of young women and established a foundation to assist African women with scholarships to further their education.

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