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Farewell to Prof. Giovanni Lanzara, a visionary scientist and entrepreneur



Prof. Giovanni Lanzara was born in Trapani in 1940 and graduated from the University of Palermo with a degree in civil engineering in 1963. He became a university professor, esteemed engineer, and successful entrepreneur. Lanzara's visionary and eco-conscious projects, which began in the 1960s, earned him international recognition and a coveted Time magazine cover.

His groundbreaking contributions and unwavering commitment to sustainable technology will continue to inspire generations to come. His visionary spirit and dedication to pushing boundaries serve as a reminder of the profound impact one individual can have on shaping the future.

A Visionary, an Inventor, and an Environmentalist Lanzara was renowned for his forward-thinking ideas, inventive spirit, and commitment to ecological causes. His passion for innovation, coupled with his deep understanding of sustainable development, established him as a true pioneer. His groundbreaking contributions to sustainable transportation technology have revolutionized the field of magnetic levitation transport.

A Daughter's Tribute Roberta Lanzara, one of Giovanni's five daughters, lovingly recalls her father as both a remarkable parent and an indomitable force for change. She shares: "Not only was he a wonderful father, but he was also a man who refused to accept the status quo in our country. Until the very end, he fought tirelessly to advance his projects. He was a visionary, sometimes misunderstood because he was light-years ahead of his time. It is only now, twenty years later, that I truly understand the revolutionary ideas he sought to pursue. He was light-years ahead. Even Vice President Al Gore visited Invision." (Translated excerpt from Corriere della Sera).

From Professor to Entrepreneur: A Life of Innovation Lanzara's remarkable career spanned academia and entrepreneurship. As a professor at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of L'Aquila, he made significant contributions to his field.


Following the success of Imatron, a startup focused on medical scanners, which was later acquired by General Electric Medical for $210 million, Lanzara shifted his attention to airport security. In Palo Alto, California, he founded Invision Technologies, a world-leading company specializing in tomographic machines for airport security. Invision, listed on Nasdaq and ranked first on Fortune's "100 Fastest-Growing Companies" list for two consecutive years, was ultimately acquired by General Electric for $900 million. Lanzara's pioneering work in developing the world's only federally certified machine capable of detecting explosives in plastic materials earned him widespread acclaim and secured the cover of Time magazine.

Pioneering Work on Magnetic Levitation Systems Lanzara's work on magnetic levitation systems predates Elon Musk's aspirations for high-speed transportation by 50 years. He designed the first air-cushioned transport systems in Palermo during the 60s.

One of Lanzara's most remarkable achievements was the development of the Uaq4 technology, a patented Italian innovation in magnetic levitation trains. Exhibited at the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, this cutting-edge system utilized high-temperature superconductors and powerful magnets to eliminate vibrations, noise, and resistance to motion. With a staggering speed of 600 kilometers per hour and an annual fuel saving of 7,000 tons, the Uaq4 technology marked a significant leap forward in the railway industry.

A Legacy of Unfinished Projects Lanzara leaves behind a significant legacy. From Solergy, a startup that developed technology applicable to desalination for electricity production using concentrated photovoltaic systems, to his innovative model for Poli City, where Lanzara devised a novel approach to urban planning by combining quality of life with transportation efficiency through careful spatial analysis. Another noteworthy project is Metransmis, a revolutionary global cargo transportation system designed to restore the Mediterranean's centrality.

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