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Primo Levi

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The Art of Witness. Primo Levi did not consider it heroic to have survived eleven months in Auschwitz.

The Art of Witness

Like other witnesses of the concentration camps, he lamented that the best had perished and the worst had survived. But we who have survived relatively little find it hard to believe him. How could it be anything but heroic to have entered Hell and not been swallowed up? To have witnessed it with such delicate lucidity, such reserves of irony and even equanimity? Our incomprehension and our admiration combine to simplify the writer into a needily sincere amalgam: hero, saint, witness, redeemer. Levi's memoir beats Darwin to win science book title.

Primo Levi's haunting memoir of life as a Jew in Mussolini's Italy told through the unlikely metaphor of chemistry has been named the best science book ever written.

Levi's memoir beats Darwin to win science book title

The Periodic Table, published in 1975, fought off competition from Richard Dawkins, DNA legend James Watson, Tom Stoppard, Bertolt Brecht and Charles Darwin to win the vote at an event organised by the Royal Institution in London. "This book pinions my awareness to the solidity of the world around me," said former Guardian science editor Tim Radford, who was the book's advocate at the event. "The science book is the ultimate in non-fiction," he told the Guardian's weekly science podcast.

"You've got the entire universe and the entire sub-atomic world to choose from and everything that has happened in it. " Levi survived Auschwitz and later became a chemist in postwar Italy before committing suicide in 1987. But the book's champion, scientist and author Armand Leroi, urged readers to look beyond Lorenz's politics. The shortlist. The Stories of Six Righteous Among the Nations in Auschwitz. “...An Italian civilian worker brought me a piece of bread and the remainder of his ration every day for six months; he gave me a vest of his, full of patches; he wrote a postcard on my behalf to Italy and brought me the reply.

The Stories of Six Righteous Among the Nations in Auschwitz

For all this he neither asked nor accepted any reward, because he was good and simple and did not think that one did good for a reward....I believe that it was really due to Lorenzo that I am alive today; and not so much for his material aid, as for his having constantly reminded me by his presence, by his natural and plain manner of being good, that there still existed a just world outside our own, something and someone still pure and whole, not corrupt, not savage, extraneous to hatred and terror; something difficult to define, a remote possibility of good, but for which it was worth surviving....But Lorenzo was a man; his humanity was pure and uncontaminated, he was outside this world of negation. Perrone died in 1952 of tuberculosis and alcohol. 140, Primo Levi. Primo Levi e la lettera inedita: l’olocausto spiegato a una bambina.

Gli avevo chiesto:come potevano essere così cattivi?

Primo Levi e la lettera inedita: l’olocausto spiegato a una bambina

A 11 anni, nel 1983, avevo appena finito di leggere Se questo è un uomo. L’avevo letto durante le vacanze di Natale, e riletto pochi giorni dopo l’Epifania. Ma restavano domande senza risposta: esiste la malvagità? Se questo è un uomo era nella lista dei libri da leggere stilata dalla professoressa di italiano, Maria Mazza Ghiglieno. Neanche lei, che pure aveva sempre le domande e le risposte giuste, poteva risolvere il dilemma. Nemmeno per un attimo pensai che stavo scrivendo allo scrittore di fama planetaria. Primo Levi, su Nature la proposta di dedicargli uno dei nuovi elementi chimici. Dedicare a Primo Levi uno dei quattro nuovi elementi chimici entrati nella tavola periodica: la proposta arriva sulle pagine di Nature da parte del giornalista britannico Philip Ball.

Primo Levi, su Nature la proposta di dedicargli uno dei nuovi elementi chimici

Si chiamerebbe “Levium”, in onore dello scrittore e chimico italiano, autore di “Se questo è un uomo”, sull’orrore dei lager, e “La tavola periodica”, considerato uno dei più bei libri scritti sulla chimica, che ha saputo raccontare il dramma dell’uomo e la forza della scienza. Da pochi giorni la tavola degli elementi si è arricchita di quattri nuovi arrivi, provvisoriamente chiamati ununtrio, ununpentio, ununseptio e ununoctio.

A scoprirli sono stati tre diversi gruppi di ricerca, di Stati Uniti, Russia, e Giappone, e si è aperta ora la necessità di dare a questi elementi un nome definitivo. L’Unione internazionale di chimica pura e applicata (Iupac) ha invitato gli autori delle scoperte a scegliere dei nomi definitivi. Levi.