Nicola Sacchetti, 1936 - 2014
June 24, 2014 (PO31). Nicola Sacchetti was born in Florence (Italy) on April 5th, 1936 and died in Frascati (Italy) on the 1st of February 2014. He will be remembered as one of the pioneers in applied superconductivity, not only in Italy and Europe, but also in the U.S. and Japan. His ability in communicating knowledge and enthusiasm to young researchers made him one of the best teachers one could have met.
Born in Florence in 1936, he graduated in Physics at Genoa University in 1960. In 1962, soon after the completion of his master thesis, he joined the Magnet Group of the Frascati National Laboratory in Frascati, coordinated at that time by the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics, INFN.
His initial scientific activity, until 1970, was already devoted to physics of superconductivity, specifically the tunneling effect. He was among the first to develop tunnel junctions in Italy. Independently of it created a prototype installation for the production of Nb3Sn tape conductor based on liquid tin diffusion. In the same years he became involved in the completion of several superconducting magnets, among which the Nb3Sn solenoid able to produce the magnetic field of 11T in a volume then large enough for experimental purposes. In the following years, Nicola also started efforts to ignite interest in applied superconductivity at Italian industries such as Ansaldo and LMI.
In 1976 Nicola was appointed Director of Superconductivity Laboratory in the Fusion Department of CNEN (now ENEA) - in the frame of the EURATOM Association - and exerted that function until 1989. In this period he proposed the construction of the test facility SULTAN, to be built in collaboration with SIN (now Paul Scherrer Institute, PSI) at Villigen, Switzerland. This important step was the starting point of his and the ENEA Superconductivity Lab’s close and fruitful collaboration with Italian industries in the realization of large scale projects in the field of applied superconductivity. That brought these industries into deep involvement in the construction of important international experimental operations such as the LHC accelerator system and currently the fusion demonstrator ITER.
In 1974 Nicola became member of the CERN Machine Advisory Committee for S.P.S. In 1976 he became deputy member of the Advisory Group of Fusion Technology of Euratom, which had a role in the approval of the Tore-Supra tokamak project realized in Cadarache, France. In 1994 was appointed as Scientific Advisor for the Fusion Department in ENEA. In 1995 was appointed by MURTS (Italian Department for University, Research and Education) as consultant for the evaluation of large scientific projects in the field of cryogenics and applied superconductivity (such as ICARUS and a prototype model of ATLAS). He also contributed to the applied superconductivity community as member of International Organizing Committee of the MT conference.
Nicola had a strong passion for watercolor painting and some of his fine pictures are adorning the houses of most of his colleagues.