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The name “Bohr” usually evokes one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, the famous Danish physicist Niels Bohr, who among other things enunciated the so-called complementarity principle, emphasizing the presence of dual aspects in our way of interacting and observing reality. Few know, however, that Niels’ father, Christian, was a physiologist, and that in 1904 he discovered an important effect underlying the physiology of breathing, which today bears his name, highlighting a somewhat paradoxical relationship between lung ventilation and oxygenation of the organism.

Practitioners of respiratory techniques certainly have an interest in knowing the Bohr effect, and other effects related to it, but I realized that it is rarely the case, even among experts, which gave me the stimulus to write this note. Let me start by saying that I am not a physiologist. What I am going to expose is therefore to be taken into consideration only in indicative terms, as an invitation to deepen the decidedly complex theme of human respiration. …


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The coronavirus emergency has put many under house “arrests.” How are we experiencing this precautionary measure? Do we simply kill time, not to go crazy, or do we consider this moment of suspension as an opportunity, not to be wasted?

To give you an example, the other day I was on the phone with my mother. She told me she was tidying up his documents: all kinds of paperwork that had accumulated over time in drawers, boxes and closets. Speaking to my sister, she also confided to me that she was doing the same. Both claimed to experience great satisfaction in that exercise of “tidying up,” which until then they never found the time to start, let alone complete. The exercise involved viewing the accumulated documents, one by one, sometimes associated with memories and emotions, and for most of them letting them go, once and for all, i.e., …


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Translation from Italian of an interview by Antonella Vitelli with Massimiliano Sassoli de Bianchi, Turin, published on Lentiapois on March 21, 2020.

A tragedy, a disaster, one of the worst “accidents” that could ever happen to us. What is coronavirus? Physicist Massimiliano Sassoli de Bianchi calls it a “hacker created by nature to show the vulnerability of our system before it completely collapses”. So, are we receiving a warning? To a necessary step that we have to take before everything goes inexorably downwards, like a ball on an inclined plane? Sassoli de Bianchi, turning upside-down the “only problem perspective,” invites us to look at the disease also from the viewpoint of a solution. But what should we solve? And who is the subject of this new turning point? If we can speak of a turning point. How much does the individual have to do with it, how much do I have to do with it? Charles Darwin taught us that surviving reality means reacting, reacting to change. Neither strength nor intelligence is needed, only reactivity to change is needed. We need, now more than ever and on several levels, to restore a new equilibrium with what we have irreversibly changed. …

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