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About this site

Anna Guagnini

International Centre for the History of Universities and Science (CIS), Department of Philosophy and Communication, University of Bologna

Via Zamboni 38 > 40126 Bologna - Italy

Anna Guagnini is tenure Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy of University of Bologna (appointed in 1998). She studied the philosophy of science at the University of Milan. She worked at the University of Lancaster (U.K.) and was chercheur associé in the CNRS, in the Centre de Recherche en Histoire des Sciences et des Techniques at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris before holding a Senior Research Fellowship at Linacre College, Oxford, from 1989 to 1992. From 1993 to 1997 she was research fellow at the Centro Internazionale di Storia delle Università e della Scienza (CIS) of the Università of Bologna

Her interests lie in the history of technology in late nineteenth/early twentieth century Europe, in particular the organization of technological education and research, the development in the industrial applications of electricity, and patenting regulations and practices in late nineteenth Britain.

Selected publications

Robert Fox and Anna Guagnini (eds.), Education, technology and industrial performance in Europe, 1850-1939 (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

Anna Guagnini and Giuliano Pancaldi (eds.), Cento anni di radio. Le radici dell'invenzione (SEAT, 1995)

Robert Fox and Anna Guagnini, Laboratories, workshops and sites. Concepts and practices of applied research in industrial Europe, 1800-1914 (Office for the History of Science and Technology, University of California, 1999)

with Robert Fox, “Starry eyes and harsh realities.Education, research, and the electrical engineer, 1880-1914”, The journal of European economic history (1994), pp. 69-92.

“Guglielmo Marconi: inventore e organizzatore”, in Renato Giannetti (a cura di), L'innovazione tecnologica (Ed. Ponte alle Grazie, 1996), 124-146

“Lo sviluppo delle radiocomunicazioni in Italia tra le due guerre”, in Raffaella Simili e Giovanni Paoloni (eds), Per una storia del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Vol. I (Laterza, 2001), pp. 365-405

“Patent agents, legal advisers and Guglielmo Marconi’s breakthrough in wireless telegraphy”, in History of Technology, special issue on Patents in History, 24 (2002), pp.171-201

“Technology”, in Walter Rüegg (ed.), A History of the University in Europe, Vol. III (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 593-635: German edition: Walter Rüegg (ed.), Geschichte der Universität in Europa, Band III (Verlag C. H. Beck München, 2004).

Robert Fox and Anna Guagnini, “Sites of innovation in electrical technology, 1880-1914”, in L’électricité en réseaux”, special issue of Annales historiques de l’électricité, vol. 2 (2004), pp. 159-172.


UMIST, Manchester (Ida Smedley McLean International Fellow, IFUW, 1980)

Churchill College, Cambridge (Fellow Commoner, 1988)

Clare Hall, Cambridge (Cambridge/Bologna University Fellow, 2000)

since 1998: Adjunct Research Fellow, Linacre College, Oxford.


Overseas partner project leader, “Patents in History: Studies in the Patterns and Institutions of Technological Change and Transfer” chaired by Professor Ian Inkster (University of Nottingham, UK). The 4-year project (2003-2006) is financed by the British Academy.

Project coordinator of the Bologna University research unit on Academic and scientific entrepreneurship in an historical and institutional perspective, (MIUR PRIN projects, 2006-2008) Project leader: Luigi Orsenigo (Università degli Studi di Brescia)

Member of the Editorial Board of History of Technology

Member of the Planning Committee of the Museum of Electrical Technology of Pavia (opened in February 2006)

Since 2003 member of the Comité d’Histoire de l’Électricité of the Fondation Électricité de France