Academic topics and reviews


topic 1.  Why on earth are some Italian academics laughed at and ridiculed by the scientific community? The wolf packs of "ordinari" professors

There is this perception, that the Italian university is based on clientelism and that many Italian professors (especially the so called "ordinari" professors) are nothing else than mediocre people who reached their position nurturing a network of relationships, even though they should not have been allowed to even serve as doormen.

In other words, a form of intellectual dishonesty which permeates the higher layer of the system, and has also connection in the judiciary system. Clearly, one might disagree with this view, however, sometimes objective evidence can’t be disproved.

Using the term in a broader meaning, people like Prof. Perotti or Prof. Paris , and many others (including the media), talk about “academic camorra”. Clearly this has (most often) nothing to do directly with the corresponding crime organization. However, there are some "analogies" which justify the common use of the term even in the media, being the use of physical violence replaced with other form of, more subtle, but not less effective, moral violence. Examples of that include exclusion from the system, impossibility to have justice through the ordinary means of justice (which are also connected with the academic and political system), persecution, through a creative use of the disciplinary processes and other vexatory instruments reachable through personal connections.

Sometimes the term "academic mafia" is also used, but we think that it should be avoided, as the mafia valued concepts such as "honor" and "respect", which are instead unknown the above mentioned "ordinari" professors. The word "Camorra", better captures the essence of the phenomenon, which is mainly organized in distinct wolf packs with a leader, abiding to no rule of intellectual honesty and well above the reach of the ordinary law, due to their connections. For instance, in trials I witnessed personally against them, they have lobbied to influence the judge, or they have make sure to buy the prosecutor by promising a promotion (eventually granted). While a member of the governing organ of judiciary system (CSM) was also directly involved as lawyer
(eg. senator Guido Calvi) in trials , and finally they have sistematically lied under oath (I know that by direct experience and can name precisely facts, and names whenever necessary) on facts that they knew well.

There is a form of mockery of the “Italian ingenuity” in this behavior. Clearly, not the same kind of ingenuity that can attributed  to Michelangelo, Einstein, Tesla, or Chopin. Not even the Carlo Gambino's shrewdness. It’s  more like the way how mediocrity finds its way in the world. In fact, the mediocre has no other choice to emerge that getting organized with others like him for reciprocal support, creating a self-referencing system and "wolf packs" (with apologies to wolves acting moved by hunger), from which all the participants draw, at the right time, greedy and dishonest benefits. It’s often an highly unjust benefit, because it is obtained defrauding (and often persecuting) people of clear superior value and dedication, just due to the system of relationships.



topic 2.  What's the root of problems in the Italian academic system

The fact that being a  professor "ordinario", for instance, has a legal, social, and substantial economic value and is achieved through a "public competition" (called "concorso") where the commission is formed by other "ordinari" professors.
This creates a real feudal system, where the positions are "exchanged" within a network of relationships and favors, and has, often, nothing to do with scientific contributions.
The result of most "competitions" are in fact well known before they are held, and the proceeding becomes an exercise in "public dishonesty". Although this might sound as illegal, the judiciary system does not prosecute it even if charges are pressed, but on the contrary, as a matter of evidence, protects it, due to the relationships between university, politics and justice (in other words, they are, in part, part of it, just as the politicians, who all have at least one, or more, relatives hired in a university). Politics uses this intellectually dishonest system, although in public speeches, clearly, the corruption is condemned. 

See for instance these cases or many others here.



Paper Reviews

PROF. ALFREDO RIZZI, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”

STATISTICA, anno LXIV, n. 2, 2004
“TEST DI PRIMALITÀ DETERMINISTICI E PROBABILISTICI”  [ Deterministic and Probabilistic Primality Tests ]  -  by Alfredo Rizzi



Let’s examine this paper published in the Italian journal "Statistics" ("Statistica"). This is the same journal where well know Italian geniuses, such as Prof. Paola Monari and  Prof. Mary Fraire have published their breakthroughs, for which the international scientific community will never be thankful enough (and which will also be reviewed in detail).

Someone inserted his name in this list of famous mathematicians”: , where also Riemann, Euler and Gauss are listed.

Therefore, w
e could not be more excited to learn from this "famous mathematician", who has published this masterpiece on such a prestigious international scientific journal (you may imagine how tough must be the refereeing process of this top journal). Let’s go through various statements appearing in this paper. 


The paper starts up with some triviality, scattering around names of actual mathematical geniuses, like Euler or Gauss, to convey the notion that the author has read something about the history of mathematics..

“Le questioni riguardanti i numeri primi hanno interessato molti studiosi sin dagli albori della matematica. Basti ricordare nell’antichità Euclide e negli ultimo quattrocento anni Fermat, Eulero, Legendre, Gauss, Hilbert. Gauss, nel 1801, nelle Disquisitiones Arithmeticae, affermava che il problema di distinguere i numeri primi da quelli composti e della fattorizzazione di questi ultimo è uno dei più importanti ed utili in aritmetica”

Then, suddenly, among these geniuses, a quotation emerges from the brother of the (ex) Italian Prime Minister (who happened to be a professor of mathematics).

Giovanni Prodi, ad una domanda postagli sui risultati che più lo avevano colpito, tra quelli conseguiti in matematica negli ultimi decenni ha risposto: “I teoremi probabilistici di primalità.”

Now, one trait of this kind of “ingenuity”, we clearly need to learn is: always quote the right persons. [We might recall that Prof. Alfredo Rizzi was nominated by the ministry in the Commission for retirement funds (Commissario nella
Commissione di Vigilanza sui Fondi Pensione), a well remunerated appointment. ] This kind of quotations are good, because, for instance, you can take a reprint of your paper and send it to the personality, with some dedication.

We all have to learn from this. Clearly, there is no point to be grateful to right great scientists in the field of prime numbers, those who have literally given their entire lives to pure research and struggled to be precise and rigorous in every single word they wrote (after all, that's what mathematics is all about).

The interesting part is when the author attempts to report the most basic results about prime numbers, such as their infinitude.

Sia P l’insieme dei numeri primi P = [1,2,3,5,7,11,13,...,n,....] ove n ha solo i divisori banali 1 ed n.

So according to the author 1 is a prime number. At this point, if you were a student at high school being examined, your professor would immediately send you away in shame.

But no. Even though we don't know any number theorists who think 1 is a prime, this must clearly be a sign of ingenuity and not a misprint, as the thing is even object of further “examples” which enlighten the unaware reader:

“Sia  Zn l’insieme degli interi primi con n. Ad esempio Z3 =[1,2], …

Here there is an attempt to evocate the Euler’s Totient function, but the author is totally missing to define the concept of coprime, mixing up primes and coprimes to n as if they were the same thing (in fact, 1 is coprime to itself).


At this point we are just at page 3 of 13. And I think I refuse to proceed any further, but you may continue and let me know. I think we got the idea.

While I sadly close the article, I cannot help seeing this sentence about the AKS primality test:

 “Teorema 11. La complessità asintotica dell’algoritmo è: Olog n

So, according to the great scientist and "famous" mathematician Prof. Alfredo Rizzi, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, the AKS algorithm has complexity Olog n (note it's "O" to the power of log n).

At this point we are speechless.

“Il risultato di M. Agrawal, N. Kayal e N. Safena, come si…

Adlemane, Pomerance e Rumely hanno fornito “

Poor Prof Adleman, poor Dr. Saxena !


The paper has also a summary where we can read:

“di teoria di teoria dei numeri con riferimento alle ricerche di Eulero, Fermat, Legendre, Rieman e di altri studiosi. Esistono molte espressioni che forniscono insiemi di infiniti…

I guess that Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann will be turning in his grave (btw, Riemann's grave site no longer exists).


In the abstract ( we can read again:

“He remembers the very important researches of Eulero, Fermat, Legen-re, Rieman and others scholarships.”


Just misprints? Sure it's likely that these kind of papers which require months of hard work, and have to pass a tough refereeing process might have some misprints. But where is the contribution of this paper if, not having anything original in it, it doesn't even represent at least an accurate review ?

This work - which is actually one of the best by this Author - was good enough to be published in the (prestigious, rotfl) "scientific" journal “Statistica”.

And the (proud) author of this work, Prof. Alfredo Rizzi "ordinario" professor at the University of Rome, and, as Giovanni Girone, has been president in many public competitions (**)

The scientific community noted in a public scientific discussion that the paper is not cited on citeseer:

"when looking for papers he had written. Seems he edited a volume of
conference proceedings once, but as far as citeseer goes, that's it -
seems he has no well-established published original work at all.

Even the paper you refer to isn't in citeseer ...

But that sort of thing happens in academia in other places than in
Italy. People who don't deserve promotion or tenure get it because of
who they know or for other academic political reasons.  It's not usually so blatant though."  .

Our Rating of the paper (0-10)

Originality: 0
Accuracy:  2

Total:     2


Other "famous" people connected with Alfredo Rizzi are: Prof. Giovanni Girone (University of Bari), author (according to his own claim) of a very ”famous” test (the discussion on Wikipedia points out, in brief, that does not actually exist such a thing like a "test by Girone" recognized by the international scientific community, and that, as the wikipedia articles notes too, he attempted to rename a statistic previously proposed by Corrado Gini, trying to get undue credit from such intellectual plagiarism. The links are also reporting many disturbing cases of clientelism where Prof. Giovanni Girone is the protagonist):

Prof. Mary Fraire and Prof. Paola Monari (next reviews). It is interesting to note, in theme of intellectual honesty, that - in public trial proceedings, Prof. Rizzi has compared Prof. M. Fraire to Luigi Galvani (in the sense of a "misunderstood genius"). 

[ This statement was made to justify his behaviour as a President of a Commission who has appointed (about 1 year before retirement) Prof. Mary Fraire as "Ordinario" Professor. In that context Prof. Fraire documented her scientifical activity essentially with 1 main paper published on the journal "Statistica" many years before. That paper, was a "review" of a preceding paper written by Prof. Rizzi. (It would be interesting to examine in detail both these papers too, although this has been already done in part, abiding by a Court order, in the context of criminal trial proceedings: see the official review here (files "CTUxx.jpg) )  ].

Il Giornale Concorso Pilotato, cattedra su Misura a Roma (Guido Mattioni)

La Repubblica Docenti a giudizio per il concorso truccato (Rory Cappelli)

L’Espresso Sociologia, il concorso truffa (Marino Bisso)

Svindel med stillinger i Italien (Thorkil Green Nielsen)

issue: 3/4/2009 di DMstud.bladet: