Bianchi, Angelo

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(b. Casalpusterlengo, Italy, 20 December 1892; d.L Padua, Italy, 24 September 1970)

mineralogy, petrography.

Bianchi was the youngest of the nine children of Giacomo Bianchi, the district doctor of Casalpusterlengo, and of Maria Plainer. He studied at the classical lyceum in Lodi, and in 1910 he entered the University of Pavia to take a degree in natural sciences. He studied mineralogy under his uncle Luigi Brugnatelli and became his assistant while still a student. He graduated in natural sciences in 1915.

During World War I, Bianchi, an artillery officer in the Italian army, was wounded in battle on 3 September 1917; he was awarded the Silver Medal and the War Cross. Also in 1917 his father and his brother Camillo, an engineer, died in the influenza epidemic.

In the year 1922–1923 Bianchi taught mineralogy at the University of Sassari, and at the University of Padua from 1923; in 1926 he succeeded Ruggero Panebianco as professor of mineralogy at Padua and director of the Mineralogical Institute, which he reorganized. Also in 1926 he married Camilla Gallo. from Pavia; they had four children.

Bianchi’s first scientific interest was mineralogy. Through extensive collecting in the field and a rigorous analytic method, he studied the cleft minerals from Val Devero (Ossola, Piedmont) and from Miage (Mont Blanc), publishing classical descriptions beginning in 1914. His last contribution on the subject was published posthumously.

The collaboration, started in Padua, with Giorgio Dal Piaz, professor of geology, shifted Bianehi’s scientific interest to petrography. The collaboration continued from 1928 with Giambattista Dal Piaz, Giorgio’s son, who succeeded his father at Padua in 1942. The two scientists became brothers-in-law when Giambattista married Graziella Gallo, a sister of Bianchi’s wife.

In 1934 Bianchi and Dal Piaz published a long monograph on the crystalline formations of the eastern Alto Adige and nearby areas. The petro graphic analysis by Bianchi and the geologic inter pretation by Dal Piaz are closely connected, a method of research they continued in later studies on Adamello and in the Western Alps. In their monograph they established the pre-Alpine age of the bodies of granite metamorphosed into orthoschists. dating confirmed by radiometric methods, and they interpreted the crystalloblastic texture and the petrographic fades in the framework of the tectonics of the Alps.

Bianchi took part in two scientific missions in East Africa (then ruled by Italy) headed by Miehele Gortani (1936, 1938). He studied the granitic and migmatitic crystalline basement, and the volcanics associated with the rift system, in a region not scientifically explored until then, and the results were published between 1937 and 1974, He had previously studied the volcanics of the Dodecanese (1929–1930).

Other major research in collaboration with Giambattista Dal Piaz, on the Tertiary Adamello pluton. began in 1937. It involved several collaborators and was not completed when Bianchi died. A main contribution by him on the Adamello petrographic types appeared in 1970, Bianchi also investigated problems of ores and quarried stones.

Italian geological science is much indebted to Bianchi for his organizational activity. He headed the geologic section of the Italian National Research Council (CNR) from 1956 to 1968, founded and directed the CNR National Center for the Geologic and Petrographic Study of the Alps (1962–1968). and was president of the commission for the completion of the geologic map of Italy at the scale 1:100, 000 (1960–1965), which supervised the surveying and mapping of 140 sheets (over 250 for the whole nation) and completed its work in 1970, in time for the centenary of the Geological Survey of Italy, Bianchi was president of the Italian Geological Society (1937) and of the Italian Mineralogical Society (1949–1951). He was twice dean of the Faculty of Sciences of Padua University (1941–1943. 1943. 1949–1952), was prorcctor (1949–1958), and was a member of the Administrative Council for many years.

Bianchi ceased teaching in 1963 and became emeritus in 1969, He combined a great ability for scientific synthesis and excellent teaching skills. His textbook of mineralogy for university students is still widely used. He continued to work until the day before his sudden death. Bianchi did much to aid needy students: Italian refugees from Istria, Fiume. and Italian Dalmatia. which were sent to Yugoslavia after World War II; and Hungarian refugees in 1956.

Bianchi was an honorary member of the Swiss Society for Natural Sciences: a national member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and of the Accademia Nazionale dei XL; and of several regional cultural institutions, He won the Royal Prize for Mineralogy of the Accademia dei Lincei in 1932.

Bianchi left his rich collection of minerals to the Institute of Mineralogy and Petrography at Padua. The sulfate bianchite (Zn, Fe)SO4·6H2O, was named for him.


I. Original Works. Bianchi’s more than 100 publications include the following: “Ilmenite di Val Devero (Ossola),” in Rendiconti dell’ Accademia nazionale dei Lincei. 5th ser., 23 (1914), 722–727: “I minerali del Miage (Monte Bianco),” in Atti della Societd italiana di scienze naturali, 64 (1925). 132–174, with A. Cavinato: “La provincia petrografica effusiva del Dodecanese (Mar Egeo). Riepilogo e conclusion!/” in Memorie dell’ lstituto geologico dell Università di Padova, 8 (1930). 122–22; “La Val Devero e i suoi minerali. Atlante 1932,” ibid., alleg, 10 (1932), 1–15; “Monografia sull’Alto Adige orientale e regioni limitrofe. Studi petrografici,” ibid, 10 (1934), 1–243; “Atlante geologico-petrographico dell’Adamello meridionale, regione fra lo Stahic e il Caffaro,” ibid., 12 (1937), 1–16, with Giambaltista Dal Paz; “Osservazioni geologiehe e petrografiche sulla regione di Harar,” in Bollettino delta Società geologica italiana, 56 (1937), 499–516. with M. Gortani; Corso di mineralogia (Padua, 1968); “I tipi petrografici fondamentali del plutone dell’Adamello-Tonaliti, quarzodioriti, granodioriti e loro variela leucocrate,” in Memorie degti Istituti di geologia e mineralogia dell’University di Padova, 27 (1970), 1–148, with E. Callegari and P. Jobstraibizer;“Itinerari geologic! nella Dancalia meridionale e sugli altipiani Hararini. Etiopia, 1937–1941,” in Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei Missione geoloica dell’Azienda generale italiana petroli (A. G.I.P.) nella Damcalia meridionale e sugli altipiani Hararini (1936–1938), I (Rome. 1973), 1–237. with M. Gortani; and “Sulla presenza di sölvsbergiti in Africa orientale,” ibid., II (Rome, 1974). 201–231.

II.Secondary Literature. The studies on eastern Alto Adige were reviewed by F. Karl and G. Morteani in Tschermoks mineralogische and petrographische Mit teitangen, 7 (1960), 290–316; the scientific results on Adamello pluton, by C. Exner in Mitteilungen der Geologischen Gesellschaft in Wien54 (1961), 261–265.

Obituaries include Conrad Burri, in Verhandlungen der Schweizerischen naturforschenden Gesellschaft (1974), 233–236; Ezio Callegari, in Bollettino dell’Associazione mineraria subalpina, 7 (1970), 13–31; Giambattista Dal Piaz, in Celebrazione Lincee, 50 (1971), 131–31 and in Bollettino delta Società geologica italiana, 92 (1973), 3–24; Roberto Malaroda, in Atti dell’Accademia delta scienze di Torino, 106 (1972), 661–674; Giuseppe Schiavinato, in Rendiconti dell’Istituto lombardo, Accademia di scienze e latere, 105 (1971), 3–10; and Bruno Zanettin, in Atii dell’Istitato veneto dell’Accademia di scienze, latere ed atti, 129 (1971), 3–13, and in Atti e memorie dell’ Accademia patavina di scienze. lettere ed atti, 84 (1972), 39–65.

Giuliano Piccoli