In many countries, both within Europe and outside, there are Mathematical Research Centers, all based on the idea that investment in research, both basic and applied, is a fundamental component in the scientific and technological development of society.
Each center has its own character deriving from the diverse historical and scientific background of the host country. However, they all share a common aspect: to gather in one place for longer or shorter periods, scientists of various levels, to foster fruitful collaborations and to promote research in mathematics, both pure and applied.
It is widely recognized that Pisa has played a role of great historical significance in the advancement of the mathematical sciences. Indeed, the names of Leonardo Pisano, called Fibonacci, and Galileo Galilei link it to the very origins of modern science. In the years following the foundation of the Italian state, there emerged in Pisa a school of mathematics that reached the highest level of achievement with exponents such as Enrico Betti, Ulisse Dini, Luigi Bianchi, Enrico Bertini, Eugenio Elia Levi and Leonida Tonelli. With these beginnings the University and the Scuola Normale Superiore have progressively established Pisa as a true crossroad of international mathematical research. Mathematical activity in Pisa underwent a renaissance in the second half of the 20th century. For any mathematician recalling that era the names of Aldo Andreotti, Guido Stampacchia, Iacopo Barsotti, Edoardo Vesentini, Giovanni Prodi, Sergio Campanato and, certainly, Ennio De Giorgi, come to mind as colleagues no longer teaching or no longer with us.
It should also be remembered that, since the unification of Italy, a very high percentage of Italian mathematicians have had their formation at the University of Pisa and, in particular, at the Scuola Normale. Moreover, an extremely high percentage of Italian mathematicians invited to give a presentation at the International Congress of Mathematicians (held every four years) had been or were professors at the Scuola Normale.
The recent creation of the Scuola Superiore di Studi Avanzati Sant'Anna has further enriched the Pisan intellectual landscape with new perspectives in applied research.
Because of its long and prestigious tradition and because of the presence of a conspicuous number of internationally reputed mathematicians, Pisa is certainly one of the most suited cities in Italy to host a Research Center in Mathematics.