• About SNS

    The Scuola Normale Superiore is a public institute for higher education that in its two centuries of life has earned itself a special place, both in Italy and abroad, a place characterised by merit, talent and scientific rigour. Two types of course are available: the undergraduate course and the PhD course.The teaching activity is distributed among four academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Sciences, placed in Pisa; the Department of political and social sciences and the Ciampi Institute, located in Florence.  

  • Admission

    The evaluation for entrance to the first year of the undergraduate course does not include the high school leaving certificate, and the bachelor's degree is not taken into consideration in the entrance examination for the fourth year course. For each PhD course, candidates’ level of competence, talent, motivations and aptitudes to scientific research will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and research project and an interview.

  • Academics

    The Scuola Normale Superiore offers two types of course: the undergraduate course, leading to first and second level university degrees, and the PhD course, the international equivalent of the Italian Dottorato di ricerca.The teaching and research activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of  Sciences, and the Department of Political and Social Sciences.The first two academic structures, housed at the Pisa site, organize courses for both the  undergraduate course and the PhD course. The Department of Political and Social Sciences, situated in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, deals only with the PhD course.

  • Research

    A highly qualifying feature of the Normale way is the strong link between teaching and research that is a characteristic of both the undergraduate and the graduate programmes of the Scuola. The research structures of the two Faculties welcome students with a relevant study interest, enabling them to collaborate in a mature way with the activities of the researchers.

  • International

    The Scuola Normale is an institute of a decidedly international nature. Examinations for admission to the undergraduate degree course and for the PhD course are open to all citizens worldwide. A certain number of places on the PhD course are reserved for students from other countries. During the pre laurea and  post lauream teaching courses, study and research programmes are made available at overseas universities and research centres with which the Scuola forms an intense network of collaboration.  The doctorate course in particular is taught in a veritable graduate school in line with the highest international standards. 

Full Professor
Tel. +39 050 509253
fax +39 050 509045

Palazzo della Carovana

Classe di scienze
Piazza dei Cavalieri, 7
56126, PISA

See also:

Present Position: Professor of Theoretical Physics at Scuola Normale (since 2005)

  • Laurea in Ingegneria Elettronica (U. Roma, 29-07-1978), 110/110 e lode

Thesis: Propagazione di luce parzialmente coerente in fibre ottiche. Applicazione alla misura del profilo d’indice.
Advisors: Prof. B. Crosignani e Prof. Paolo Di Porto. Carosio Prize, 1979.

  • Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (Caltech, USA, 06-1979)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Theoretical Physics (Caltech, USA, 06-1983)

Thesis: Topics in supersymmetry theory

Advisor: Prof. J.H. Schwarz

Academic career:

  • Research Fellow (Caltech) 1983-84
  • Miller Research Fellow (U.C.Berkeley) 1984-86
  • Junior Faculty (U. Roma “Tor Vergata”) 1985-93
  • Associate Professor (U. Roma “Tor Vergata”) 1994-99 • Professor (U. Roma “Tor Vergata” ) 2000-05
  • Professor (Scuola Normale Superiore) 2005-

Awards and Honors:

  • Carosio Prize (U. Roma “La Sapienza”, 1979)
  • Miller Fellowship (U. of California, Berkeley, 1984)
  • SIGRAV Prize 1994 (with M. Bianchi)
  • Andrejewski Lecturer (Humboldt Universitat, Berlin, 1999)
  • Margherita HACK Prize for Science (INAF and Italian Ministry of Culture, Venice, 2014)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Award, 2018

Research activity:

Field Theory, Quantum Gravity, String theory, 2D Conformal Field Theory, Supersymmetry Breaking, Higher-Spin Gauge Fields, Early Universe and String Theory

INSPIRE profile: about 9700 citations, h=52, 2 TOP 500, 10 TOP 250, 21 TOP 100, 21 TOP 50 (October, 2018)


  • “String Theory”, eds. C. Procesi and A. Sagnotti (Academic Press, 1988)
  • “String Theory, Quantum Gravity and the Unification of the Fundamental Interactions”, eds. M. Bianchi, F. Fucito, V. Marinari and A. Sagnotti (World Scientific, 1992)


  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Classical Field Theory
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Mathematical Methods
  • String Theory
  • Classical Mechanics

Encyclopedia articles:

  • “Teoria delle Stringhe”, Enciclopedia della Scienza, vol. IX (Ist. Enc.Treccani, 2003)
  • “Supersimmetria”, Enciclopedia della Scienza e della Tecnica (Ist. Enc. Treccani, 2006, with F. Fucito)

Some visits to other Institutions:

U. Warsaw (1988,2014), DESY (1989), IHES (1990,1996), UCLA (1992,2015), Caltech (1992,2001,2015), E. Polytechnique (1992,1994,1995,1999,2005,2008,2014,2016,2018), CERN (1996,2004), CERN Scientific Associate (2005,2014), Inst. for Adv. Study, MIT, Harvard (1996), Humboldt U. (1999), E. Normale Superieure (2000), LPT-Orsay (2001), U. Cambridge, U. Oxford (2001), U. Uppsala (2004), LMU Munich (2008), U. Wien (2012), U. Paris VII (2007,2008,2009), Tokyo Metropolitan U. (2013)

Research Management:

  • National Theoretical Physics Committee, Gr. IV INFN (1988-1996)
  • Coordinator of the Italian nodes in three successive EU contracts
  • Coordinator of two successive INTAS contracts
  • Coordinator of the “Tor Vergata” node in two successive PRIN contracts
  • Coordinator of the “Tor Vergata” node for the contract INFN-TS11
  • National Coordinator of the PRIN project 2008-024045
  • Coordinator of the Italian nodes of the ERC-SUPERFIELD Project (Senior Grant awarded to Prof. Sergio Ferrara)
  • National Coordinator of the PRIN project 2009-KHZKRX

Referee for:

  • Phys. Rev. and Phys. Rev. Lett.
  • Phys. Lett. B and Nucl. Phys. B
  • Phys. Reports
  • Class. Q. Gravity
  • JHEP

Member of International Committees in: Belgium, France, Germany, UK, Israel, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, USA

Main contributions:

- The analysis of the 2-loop divergences in Einstein's theory of General Relativity:

  • M.H. Goroff and A. Sagnotti, “Quantum Gravity At Two Loops”, Phys. Lett. B160 (1985) 81 [255 cites],
  • M.H. Goroff and A. Sagnotti, “The Ultraviolet Behavior Of Einstein Gravity”, Nucl. Phys. B266 (1986) 709 [511 cites].

- The discovery of the link between type-I and type-IIB superstrings (now regarded as the prototype “orientifold” construction):

  • A. Sagnotti, “Open Strings And Their Symmetry Groups”, in Cargese '87, “Non-perturbative Quantum Field Theory”, eds. G. 't Hooft et al., p. 521, reprinted in arXiv:hep-th/0208020 [417 cites].

- The elucidation of the key properties of “orientifolds” (strings with different boundary conditions, spectra including different numbers of (anti)self-dual two-tensors, discrete deformations, generalized Green-Schwarz mechanism):

  • G. Pradisi and A. Sagnotti, “Open String Orbifolds”, Phys. Lett. B216 (1989) 59 [392 cites];
  • M. Bianchi and A. Sagnotti, “On The Systematics Of Open String Theories”, Phys. Lett. B247 (1990) 517 [504 cites],
  • M. Bianchi and A. Sagnotti, “Twist Symmetry And Open String Wilson Lines”, Nucl. Phys. B361 (1991) 519 [389 cites];
  • M. Bianchi, G. Pradisi and A. Sagnotti, “Toroidal compactification and symmetry breaking in open string theories”, Nucl. Phys. B376 (1992) 365 [349 cites];
  • A. Sagnotti, “A Note on the Green-Schwarz mechanism in open string theories”, Phys. Lett. B294 (1992) 196 [arXiv:hep-th/9210127] [426 cites].

- The elucidation of the key properties of Conformal Field Theory on non-orientable surfaces:

  • D. Fioravanti, G. Pradisi and A. Sagnotti, “Sewing constraints and nonorientable open strings” , Phys. Lett. B321 (1994) 349 [arXiv:hep-th/9311183] [93 cites];
  • G. Pradisi, A. Sagnotti and Y.S. Stanev, “Planar duality in SU(2) WZW models” , Phys. Lett. B354 (1995) 279 [arXiv:hep-th/9503207] [155 cites];
  • G. Pradisi, A. Sagnotti and Y.S. Stanev, “The Open descendants of nondiagonal SU(2) WZW Models”, Phys. Lett. B356 (1995) 230 [arXiv:hep-th/9506014] [153 cites];
  • G. Pradisi, A. Sagnotti and Y.S. Stanev, “Completeness Conditions for Boundary Operators in 2D Conformal Field Theory”, Phys. Lett. B381 (1996) 97 [arXiv:hep-th/9603097] [211 cites].

- The first example of a chiral four-dimensional open-string spectrum with three generations of matter:

  • C. Angelantonj, M. Bianchi, G. Pradisi, A. Sagnotti and Y.S. Stanev , “Chiral asymmetry in four-dimensional open- string vacua” , Phys. Lett. B385 (1996) 96 [arXiv:hep-th/9606169] [257 cites].

- The discovery of a 10D superstring theory (commonly referred to as the 0B' string), including both open and closed strings, non-supersymmetric but free of tachyons:

  • A. Sagnotti, “Some properties of open string theories”, arXiv:hep-th/9509080, presented at SUSY '95 (Palaiseau, giugno 1995) [169 cites];
  • A. Sagnotti, “Surprises in open-string perturbation theory”, Nucl. Phys. Proc. Suppl. 56B (1997) 332 [arXiv:hep-th/9702093] [140 cites].

- The identification of two novel phenomena related to the breaking of supersymmetry that can manifest themselves in the presence of open strings, “brane supersymmetry” and “brane supersymmetry breaking”, and a study of supersymmetric magnetic deformations of open-string spectra (equivalent to the introduction of suitably rotated branes, of interest for recent attempts to extend the Standard Model of Particle Physics):

  • I. Antoniadis, E. Dudas and A. Sagnotti, “Supersymmetry breaking, open strings and M-theory”, Nucl. Phys. B544 (1999) 469 [arXiv:hep-th/9807011 [137 cites];
  • I. Antoniadis, E. Dudas and A. Sagnotti, “Brane supersymmetry breaking”, Phys. Lett. B464 (1999) 38 [arXiv:hep-th/9908023] [252 cites];
  • C. Angelantonj, I. Antoniadis, G. D'Appollonio, E. Dudas and A. Sagnotti, ``Type I vacua with brane supersymmetry breaking,'' Nucl. Phys. B572 (2000) 36  [hep-th/9911081] [166 cites].
  • C. Angelantonj, I. Antoniadis, E. Dudas and A. Sagnotti , “Type-I strings on magnetised orbifolds and brane transmutation”, Phys. Lett. B489 (2000) 223 [arXiv:hep-th/0007090] [297 cites].

- A review article for Physics Reports on orientifold constructions:

  • C. Angelantonj and A. Sagnotti, “Open strings”, Phys. Rept. 371 (2002) 1 [Erratum-ibid. 376 (2003) 339] [arXiv:hep-th/0204089] [391 cites].

- The geometrical description, along the lines on the spin-1 (Maxwell) and spin-2 (Einstein) cases, for free higher-spin gauge fields:

  • D. Francia and A. Sagnotti, “Free geometric equations for higher spins”, Phys. Lett. B543 (2002) 303 [arXiv:hep-th/0207002] [221 cites];
  • D. Francia and A. Sagnotti, “On the geometry of higher-spin gauge fields”, Class.Quant. Grav. 20 (2003) S473 [arXiv:hep-th/0212185] [185 cites];
  • D. Francia and A. Sagnotti, “Minimal local Lagrangians for higher-spin geometry”, Phys. Lett. B624 (2005) 93 [arXiv:hep-th/0507144] [87 cites];
  • A. Sagnotti and M. Tsulaia, “On higher spins and the tensionless limit of string theory”, Nucl. Phys. B682 (2004) 83 [arXiv:hep-th/0311257] [215 cites];
  • D. Francia, J. Mourad and A. Sagnotti, “Current exchanges and unconstrained higher spins”, Nucl. Phys. B773 (2007) 203 [arXiv:hep-th/0701163] [102 cites];
  • D. Francia, J. Mourad and A. Sagnotti, “(A)dS exchanges and partially-massless higher spins'', Nucl. Phys. B804 (2008) 383 [arXiv:0803.3832 [hep-th]] [51 cites].
  • A. Campoleoni, D. Francia, J. Mourad and A. Sagnotti," Unconstrained Higher Spins of Mixed Symmetry. I. Bose Fields", Nucl. Phys. B815 (2009) 289 [arXiv:0810.4350 [hep-th]] [85 cites].
  • A. Campoleoni, D. Francia, J. Mourad and A. Sagnotti, "Unconstrained Higher Spins of Mixed Symmetry. II. Fermi Fields", Nucl. Phys. B828 (2010) 405 [arXiv:0904.4447 [hep-th]] [62 cites].

- The identification, starting from String Theory, of conserved currents and cubic couplings for massless higher-spin fields:

  • A. Sagnotti and M. Taronna, ``String Lessons for Higher-Spin Interactions,'' Nucl. Phys. B842 (2011) 299 [arXiv:1006.5242 [hep-th]] [142 cites].

- The proposal of a mechanism linking (high-scale) SUSY breaking and the onset of inflation, motivated by the “brane SUSY breaking” mechanism described above, and the investigation of its possible role in connection with the low value of the CMB quadrupole:

  • E. Dudas, N. Kitazawa and A. Sagnotti, ``On Climbing Scalars in String Theory,'' Phys. Lett. B694 (2010) 80 [arXiv:1009.0874 [hep-th]].
  • E. Dudas, N. Kitazawa, S.P. Patil and A. Sagnotti, “CMB Imprints of a Pre-Inflationary Climbing Phase”, JCAP 1205 (2012) 012 [arXiv:1202.6630 [hep-th]] [60 cites].
  • A. Sagnotti, “Brane SUSY breaking and inflation: implications for scalar fields and CMB distortion”, Phys. Part. Nucl. Lett. 11 (2014) 836 [arXiv:1303.6685 [hep-th]].
  • P. Fré, A. Sagnotti and A.S. Sorin, “Integrable Scalar Cosmologies I. Foundations and links with String Theory”, Nucl. Phys. B877 (2013) 1028 [arXiv:1307.1910 [hep-th]] [56 cites].
  • N. Kitazawa and A. Sagnotti, “Pre-inflationary clues from String Theory?”, JCAP 1404 (2014) 017 [arXiv:1402.1418 [hep-th]].
  • A. Gruppuso, N. Kitazawa, N. Mandolesi, P. Natoli and A. Sagnotti, ``Pre-Inflationary Relics in the CMB?,'' Phys. Dark Univ. 11 (2016) 68 [arXiv:1508.00411 [astro-ph.CO]].
  • A. Gruppuso, N. Kitazawa, M. Lattanzi, N. Mandolesi, P. Natoli and A. Sagnotti, ``The Evens and Odds of CMB Anomalies,'' arXiv:1712.03288 [astro-ph.CO], Phys. Dark Univ. 20 (2018) 49 [arXiv:1712.03288 [astro-ph.CO]].

- Constrained superfields and non-linearly realized supersymmetry, with applications to Cosmology:

  • I. Antoniadis, E. Dudas, S. Ferrara and A. Sagnotti, “The Volkov-Akulov-Starobinsky supergravity”, Phys. Lett. B733 (2014) 32 [arXiv:1403.3269 [hep-th]] [150 cites].
  • E. Dudas, S. Ferrara, A. Kehagias and AS, ``Properties of Nilpotent Supergravity,'' JHEP 1509 (2015) 217 [arXiv:1507.07842 [hep-th]] [59 cites].
  • S. Ferrara, M. Porrati and AS, ``Scale invariant Volkov–Akulov supergravity,'' Phys. Lett. B749 (2015) 589 [arXiv:1508.02939 [hep-th]].
  • E. Dudas, S. Ferrara and AS, ``A superfield constraint for N= 2 → N = 0 breaking,'' JHEP 1708 (2017) 109 [arXiv:1707.03414 [hep-th]].

- Abelian Multi-Field Generalizations of Born-Infeld Theory:

  • S. Ferrara, M. Porrati and A. Sagnotti, ``N = 2 Born-Infeld attractors,'' JHEP 1412 (2014) 065 [arXiv:1411.4954 [hep-th]].
  • S. Ferrara, M. Porrati, A. Sagnotti, R. Stora and A. Yeranyan, ``Generalized Born--Infeld Actions and Projective Cubic Curves,'' Fortsch. Phys. 63 (2015) 189 [arXiv:1412.3337 [hep-th]]