Prof. Dr. Pier Luigi Luisi has been Professor of Macromolecular Chemistry at ETH-Zentrum, Institut für Polymere Departement Werkstoffe, one of the most prestigious technical universities of Europe, since the early 1980s. Earlier, he traveled and worked in Italy (where he got his degree), the United States, Sweden, and the former Soviet Union. His major interest in research is in the phenomena of self-assembly and self-organization of chemical systems, and on the emergence of novel functional properties as a consequence of the increase of the molecular complexity.
He is presently well known in the field of origin of life and origin of protocells, where he combines a hard-core experimental approach with the basic philosophical questions about minimal life. In this field, he is a follower of the theory of autopoiesis as proposed by Varela and Maturana, and developed it further into the experimental chemical autopoiesis. Professor Luisi is also responsible for an intense program that bridges science with humanities, the Cortona-Weeks project. He is author of over 300 scientific papers and also author of literature books, including children’s books.