Paolo Farinella (13 January 1953 – 25 March 2000) was an Italian scientist very active in the field of planetary science and in particular in the study of asteroids and small bodies of the Solar System.
|13 January 1953
|25 March 2000 (aged 47)
|study of asteroids and small bodies in solar system
|Observatory of Brera
University of Trieste
Paolo Farinella was born on 13 January 1953 in Migliarino, close to Ferrara in Italy. He received his degree in 1975 at the University and the "Scuola Normale Superiore" of Pisa. After that he became a graduate student of Giuseppe (Bepi) Colombo and worked as a research astronomer at the Observatory of Brera.
From 1982 to 1998, he was a university researcher in Pisa, at the Department of Mathematics and at the Scuola Normale Superiore, teaching Physics and Celestial Mechanics. In the period 1992–1994 he was visiting professor at the Nice Observatory with an ESA "Giuseppe Colombo" fellowship.
In summer 1998 he won a national competition for a position of associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics in the Italian university, and starting from late 1998 he taught at the University of Trieste. Paolo Farinella died in Bergamo on 25 March 2000, due to heart failure.
His work as planetary scientist changed the view of the solar system revolutionizing the way orbital and collisional histories of asteroids are seen. He used his ideas in many fields of the space science that can be summarized in the following activities:
In 1980's Farinella was among the first scientists to conjecture the Yarkovsky effect to be responsible for the migration of small asteroids from the main asteroid belt into different and potentially resonant orbits, with possible risks of impact on Earth.
Paolo Farinella was a member of the editorial board of "Icarus" and an Associate Editor of "Icarus" and "Meteoritics and Planetary Science". He was a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and an affiliate member of the Division of Planetary Science (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society as well as a member of the Solar System Working Group of the European Space Agency.
He was very active into the astronomy popularization, writing dozens of articles that were mainly published by the Italian astronomical magazine “L'Astronomia”.
In June 2010, ten years after his death, an international workshop in his name was held in Pisa. The Paolo Farinella Prize was proposed at this workshop and is now given in his honor.
Asteroid 3248 Farinella is named after him.