As in past two editions, also this year the Conference is dedicated to an illustrious colleague. This year this colleague is Renato Angelo Ricci, one of the most distinguished Italian Physicists, former President (and at present Honorary President) of Italy’s Physical Society and of Europe's Physical Society.

Prof. Ricci was alumn of one of the most prestigious University’s Institutions in Italy, the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, and after graduation completed his studies under Louis De Broglie and Frederic Joliot-Curie.

As a Professor, Renato teached in many Italian Universities: Turin, Naples, Florence and Padua and made reserch in laboratories all over the world. He was a most succesful teacher and many of the leading Italian nuclear physicists have been his alumni.

As a researcher he introduced in Italy the experimental study of nuclear spectroscopy and gave numerous and important contribution to this field. More recently he shifted to the high energy nuclear physics. He was one of the leaders of the experiments made at CERN with the antiproton beams and started there the relativistic heavy ion physics.

Not less important has been his activity as Administrator of Science, as President of Italian and European Physical Societies, as mentioned before, as Director of Legnaro National Laboratories, as Vice-President of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics and Chairman of many other important Institutions and Committees.

Renato always fought for advancement and promotion of Science. A good example of his committment are the editorials he published for many years on the Italian Physical Society’s journal, Il Nuovo Saggiatore. At the moment he is President of Galileo 2001, an Association for freedom and dignity of Science.

It is for us a great honour to dedicate this year’s Varenna Conference to him.