Image of Paolo electrical apparatus

Members of the Scientific Instrument Commission share a deep sense of loss at the sudden death of our past-President Dr Paolo Brenni on the night of 3-4 December 2021. We extend our condolences to his wife Andrea and his family.

Paolo’s contributions to the life and work of the Commission were immense and we remember them with affection and gratitude. He had an unparalleled knowledge of the historic instrumentation of the physical sciences and his enthusiasm for sharing this freely and generously was obvious to all. His engagement with instruments was unusual in spanning the theoretical and the practical: he fully appreciated their conceptual significance but at the same time was wholeheartedly engaged in demonstration as a tool of education in science and in history, and would undertake ambitious and demanding projects in conservation or, where appropriate, restoration, as well as extensive programmes of cataloguing for record or publication.

Further, Paolo’s friendly and welcoming attitude to others with – or without – shared interests, aided by his international practice and language skills, has contributed greatly to the openness valued and enjoyed by the Commission. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on in our community.

The Scientific Instrument Commission (SIC) encourages and promotes scholarly research on the history of scientific instruments. The SIC encourages preservation and documentation of collections of instruments and their use within the wider discipline of the history of science. To promote interest in the history of instruments the SIC holds annual symposia in different parts of the world, usually where there are important collections of instruments or centres of research and teaching.