by Claudio Scazzocchio
Editor’s Note: While it may be true that bacteria do not have neurons (at least not more than one per cell!), their modes of communication hint at a simple equivalent of a nervous system. But we need not apologize for the inclusion in this blog of a non-microbiological topic. The story here described has much poignancy and is relevant to all biologists.
The year 2012 was quite turbulent in Italian politics but it ended with a display of near unanimity. The reason was the posthumous homage to the oldest senator of the Republic and the oldest Nobel Prize winner, Rita Levi-Montalcini. In Italy, the President has the privilege of personally naming up to five senators–for–life, with all the legislative privileges and duties that entails. In 2001, President Ciampi appointed her to this post, which she held until her death at the age of 103 on December 30, 2012.