The International Centre for Mechanical Sciences (CISM) was founded in 1969, thanks to the vision and determination of Luigi Sobrero. His idea was to establish an international centre for advanced studies in Mechanics and related Sciences, which would foster the exchange of ideas and experiences between scientists and young researchers from all over the world, with a special emphasis on establishing firm relationships between scientists of the Western and Eastern blocks at the time of the iron curtain. Having gathered together an international group of interested scientists, he then successfully enlisted the support of a number of local institutions in the North-Eastern Italian Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
It was a historical occasion and one which provided the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Udine in particular, with the opportunity to play a leading role in bringing together people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds, a role to which the region has long been accustomed. Much has been achieved since the first steps were taken to organize the Centre and launch its scientific activities. This success owes much to the commitment of the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and particularly of the three founding bodies—the Province of Udine, at the time led by Antonio Venicio Turello, the Bank “Cassa di Risparmio di Udine e Pordenone” and the Municipality of Udine, which immediately put the prestigious and ideally suited Palazzo del Torso at the Centre’s disposal.
It is however mainly due to the foresight and determination of Venicio Turello that the proposal of Luigi Sobrero was accepted and promoted among the local institutions. As President of CISM from the foundation until his death in 2013, Turello was instrumental in finding the necessary means for the ongoing activities and granting the necessary scientific freedom to the Centre. His goal was to make CISM a pole of attraction for many eminent scientists from allover the world and consequently an advanced reference point for the development of Friuli.
This aspiration became reality on the occasion of the devastating earthquake in 1976 when CISM put at the disposal of the local community the most advanced building technologies for the reconstruction.
In its fifty years of activity in the field of Mechanics and its related Sciences, the Centre has indeed become an international scientific organization of considerable repute. This is manifested by the wide geographical provenience of all its participants and the number of scientific institutions and international organizations which financially support the Centre and are represented in its councils.
Moreover, the activities of the Centre have contributed greatly to develop friendly bonds among researchers that came from various parts of the world. To these people, bearing the imprint of diverse political and economic traditions, the Centre has provided a place to meet for the benefit of science and citizens worldwide. Today, Friuli and Udine are internationally familiar names within scientific circles and provide a point of reference for both scientists and researchers in many branches of the Mechanical Sciences.
In the last years, the Centre has also undertaken activities of multidisciplinary scientific research related to Mechanical Sciences. Furthermore, following the foundation of the University of Udine in 1978, a fruitful and strong cooperation has been established between the Centre and the University.