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Pensa, Antonio

PENSA, ANTONIO

(b. Milan, 15 September 1874; d. Pavia, Italy, 17 August 1970)

anatomy, histology, embryology.

The son of Michele Pensa and Giuseppina Calzini, Pensa graduated in medicine and dsurgery at Pavia University in 1898, having studied at the institute diercted by Golgi. After lecturing in human anatomy at Pavia from 1900 to 1915, he became professor of this subject, first at Sassari (1915–1920), then at Parma (1921–1929), where he was also rector of the university, and finally at Pavia (1930–1948), where he was dean of the faculty of medicine from 1931 to 1945. From 1950 to his death Pensa was director of Pavia’s Center for the Study of Neuroanatomy. A distinguished teacher and member of numerous scientific academies, he had many pupils who became professors of anatomy or of other subjects.

Pensa made important contributions to human and comparative morphology, histology, and microscopic anatomy; animal and plant cytology; and embryology. He was the first to demonstrate Golgi’s “internal reticular apparatus” in nonnerve cells; the myoid elements of the avian thymus; the ways of development of the arteria intercostalis suprema; the structure and development of the avian Hewson-Panizza glands; the morphological changes of the chondriome and Golgi’s reticulum in the ossification zone; the presence of certain chondriosome-like and other morphologically comparable formations of the internal reticular apparatus in some plant cells; and the changing aspects of various cytoplasmatic organelles under different conditions. Through extensive research Pensa added to knowledge of the structure of the nervous system, especially to interpretation of the concepts inherent in Golgi’s doctrine of the diffused network and in that of the neuron according to Ramón y Cajal. His treatise on general histology (1926) contains many personal contributions.

Endowed with a wide-ranging general and humanist education, and interested in the history of the natural sciences and medicine, Pensa took part in founding the museum of the history of the University of Pavia. He was its director from 1938 until his death.

In 1976 a marble bust of Pensa was placed in the Aula Scarpa in the Anatomical Theater of the University of Pavia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

I. Original Works. There is no complete bibliography of Pensa’s publications. some of which are listed in Antônio Pensa, Attivita scientifica didattica ed accademica (Pavia, 1936); and “Notizie e pubblicazioni scientifiche di Antônio Pensa,” in Annuario della Pontifica Accademia delle scienze, n.s. 1 (1936–1937), 619–627. His most important writings are Trattato di istologia generalem (Milan, 1926; 5th ed., 1961); Trattato di anatomia sistematica, 2 vols. (Turin, 1933–1935), written with Giuseppe Favaro; and Trattato di embriologia generale (Milan, 1944).

II. Secondary Literature. See Alfonso Giordano, “Antônio Pensa,” in Rendiconti dell’Istituto lombardo di scienze e lettere, Parte generate e atti ufficiali, 104 (1970), 98–105; Enrica Malcovati, “Ricordo di Antônio Pensa,” ibid., 106–109; and Emilio Casasco, “Antônio Pensa,” in Annuario dell’ Università degli studi di Pavia per gli anni accademici 1969… (Pavia, 1975), 1045–1050, with portrait.

Bruno Zanobio

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Pensa, Antonio

PENSA, ANTONIO

(b. Milan, 15 September 1874; d. Pavia, Italy, 17 August 1970)

anatomy, histology, embryology.

For a detailed study of his life and work, see Supplement.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Pensa, Antonio." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 11 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Pensa, Antonio." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved December 11, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/pensa-antonio-0