Antonino Sciascia

This page lists items in the database related to Italian scientist and doctor Antonino Sciascia (Canicattì 1839-Canicattì 1925).

Browsing through encyclopedias, you cannot find the name of Antonino Sciascia: he is mentioned neither in the "Great Encyclopedic Dictionary" UTET nor in the "Italian Encyclopedia" of Treccani. There is not even any correlation with the word "phototherapy".
Dr. Antonino Sciascia (1839-1925) was born in Canicattì in Via Mariano Stabile, on a district of Badia. He was only 21 when he graduated. Thanks to his high qualities of mind and heart and intuition, he soon gained the affection and esteem of everyone. Antonino Sciascia was not only a doctor, but above all, a scientist.He studied in depth the effects of different colours of the Prism_(optics) ,undertaking to dissociate, select and vary the energy of the various rays of the spectrum, from a physical, biological and therapeutic point of view.
He continued his studies on the therapeutic action of light in various diseases with tenacity and managed to prove that phototherapy acts not only on external surface teguments.
We know that his therapeutic experiments began in 1890 with the "fotocauterio", the instrument he invented and got patented in 1894 by the appropriate ministry.
In 1892 communicated his brilliant discovery to the XIII Ophthalmological Congress in Palermo and in 1894 to the XI International Medical Congress in Rome. Unfortunately Europe remained indifferent to him; instead, it acclaimed several years after Niels_Ryberg_Finsen as inventor of phototherapy. However Finsen published "The photothèrapie" in Paris only in 1899, with thanks to which he was assigned the Nobel_Prize for medicine in 1903. During the ceremony Finsen himself acknowledged the priority for the discovery to the doctor Sciascia. On 6 October 1910, Sciascia was given the title of Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy by the government.
In the Museum of Radiology of the University of Palermo, unique in Italy and one of the few existing in Europe, Dr. Antonino Sciascia is honored "inventor of phototherapy and precursor of the radiological sciences", and the visitors can admire the biconvex lens with which he, first in the world, "practiced Heliotherapy". On 21st November 1999 the Academy of Mediterranean Studies "Lorenzo Gioeni" has conferred him the international prize Empedocle to his memory.


  • Pietro Macaluso. Le Ragioni di Sciascia - Cronaca di un nobel negato.Edizioni Malgrado Tutto, 2007
  • Piero Meli, "Il dottor Sciascia inventore beffato della fototerapia" in "La Sicilia" a. LXIV, n. 354 (martedì 23 dicembre 2008)
  • Carmelo Sciascia Cannizzaro.Antonino Sciascia tra i grandi della scienza.Ed.Centro studi "G.Pastore",Agrigento.1999 pag.125

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