Francesco Paresce Marconi
An inventor in his own right and an astrophysicist, Francesco Paresce Marconi assumed the chairmanship of the Marconi International Fellowship Foundation in 2001, succeeding Martin Meyerson, who was Chairman following the 1996 passing of Gioia Marconi Braga, the Foundation's founder and Dr. Paresce's aunt. He is the son of Guglielmo Marconi's eldest daughter, the late Degna Marconi Paresce, who died in 1998.
Dr. Paresce is currently the Acting Head of the Telescope Division of the European Southern Observatory in Munich, Germany and Project Scientist for the Very Large Telescope (VLT) Interferometer. He was awarded a U.S. Patent in 1974 for a resistive anode imaging device now used routinely in research satellites.
Born in London on April 11, 1940 he was taken by his parents to Italy at the age of 3 months coincident with Britain's entry into the Second World War. He grew up in Rome, and Washington, D.C. where his father was posted as an Italian diplomat. There he attended Landon School for Boys and the French Lycee. He left Washington at 18 with a Baccalaureat degree in philosophy. Back in Rome he attended the University of Rome where he received his undergraduate degree (Laurea) in Physics in 1965. From 1965 to 1967 he was a Research Fellow at the Frascati National Laboratory, part of the National Research Council once headed by his grandfather, Guglielmo Marconi.
In 1967 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of California at Berkeley, from which he received a Ph.D in Astronomy in 1972. While at Berkeley, he worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Astronomy and Space Sciences Laboratory and following his Ph.D. remained at Berkeley for 11 years, initially as a National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences Research Associate, and then as an Assistant and Associate Research Astronomer working on NASA sounding rocket and satellite projects. In 1975, he led a team of scientists in building instruments for the Apollo-Soyuz joint US-Soviet manned spacecraft program.
During that period he was granted a Junior Fellowship at the National Academy of the Lincei in Rome in 1976 and was also a NATO Senior Visiting Professor at the Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri in Florence in 1982.
Dr. Paresce moved from California to Baltimore, Md. in 1983 in order to take up an appointment as Senior Astronomer with Tenure for the European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera on NASA'a Hubble Space Telescope project. He was also Head of the Telescope and Instruments Branch of the Space Telescope Science Institute, a post he held until 1995. During that period, from 1990 to 1993, he also held the post of Full Astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory in Turin, Italy.
He joined the European Southern Observatory in 1995 as Senior Astronomer and now serves as Project Scientist for the VLT Interferometer.
In addition to his patent, number 3,395,354, he is a widely published author of more than 150 articles in peer reviewed scientific journals. His specialty is high spatial resolution observations of cosmic sources. He has won a series of NASA honors, including its Technical Achievement Award (1972), two Group Achievement Awards (1976 and 1991) and a Certificate of Recognition (1978).
Francesco Paresce Marconi is married to Dialta Malvezzi Campeggi of Bologna, Italy and has 3 married daughters living in Germany, Italy and the US.