Participant information



The “Ettore Majorana” Foundation and International Centre for Scientific Culture (EMFCSC) is named after an outstanding Italian physicist. Born in Sicily in 1906, Ettore Majorana’s breadth of vision and exceptional contributions to theoretical nuclear physics moved Enrico Fermi to the following comment: “There are many categories of scientists, people of second and third rank, who do their best, but do not go very far. There are also people of first-class rank, who make great discoveries, fundamental to the development of science. But then there are the geniuses, like Galileo and Newton. Well, Ettore Majorana was one of them.”

Embracing 110 Schools, covering all branches of Science, the Centre is situated in the old pre-mediaeval city of Erice where three restored monasteries (one of which was the residence of the Viceroy of Sicily during the XIV and XV Centuries) provide an appropriate setting for high intellectual endeavor. There are living quarters in all three Institutes for people attending the Courses at the Centre. The contact address for participants attending this course is:
Participant Name
Intl. School of Cosmic Ray Astrophysics
Ettore Majorana Centre
Via Guarnotta, 26
91016 ERICE, Italy
Telephone: +39.0923.869133
Telefax: +39.0923.869226
Web page:

The three renovated monasteries that comprise the Centre are now named after prominent scientists who were strong supporters of the “Ettore Majorana” Centre. The San Francesco Monastery (former Viceroy’s residence) is now the Eugene P. Wigner Institute with the “Enrico Fermi” Lecture Hall. The San Domenico Monastery is now the Patrick M.S. Blackett Institute with the “Paul A.M. Dirac” Lecture Hall. The San Rocco Monastery is now the Isidor I. Rabi Institute with the “Richard P. Feynman” Lecture Hall. It also houses the directorate and the main offices of the Centre. In addition, the Erice Station of the World Laboratory Seismological Network is located in the I.I. Rabi Institute. The “Daniel Chalonge” and the “Paul A.M. Dirac” Museums are situated at the Patrick M.S. Balckett Institute.

All participants will be issued a badge upon arrival. This must be worn/displayed to gain access to the institutes and for meals.


On the lone mount (750 m high) in far west Sicily, stands Erice, a medieval town which has been kept intact until today. It is an artistic center and the main tourist resort of the district. The Majorana Centre for Scientific Culture offers an opportunity for a relaxed informal exchange of ideas among students and faculty, enhanced by the charm of this old mountain-top city.

Finding your way in Erice can be initially very confusing. If you become lost the centre can be found again by remembering that one has to walk up hill to it and so any route that takes you upwards will eventually bring you there.


The course “fee” covers housing, meals, airport transfers and all activities associated with the School during your stay in Erice. The EMFCSC is organized to help the local economy in Erice. Thus, in addition to the rooms in the three institutes, some participants may be housed in local hotels, depending upon the size of the group, and whether there are parallel activities taking place. Meals are taken at a variety of local restaurants. Most restaurants can provide vegetarian meals. Anyone with specific dietary requirements should contact the Director of the School for guidance. 

A. Breakfast: Residents in the I. I. Rabi, Eugene P. Wigner and Patrick M. S. Blackett Institutes will have breakfast on a self-service basis in the “coffee room” in the I. I. Rabi Institute (in the back of the courtyard on the right-hand side under the staircase). Participants housed in the hotels will have breakfast at their hotels.

B. Lunch and Dinner: A selected list of recommended restaurants is displayed in the entrance hall of the I. I. Rabi Institute, along with a map. (The closing day of each restaurant is given.) Participants order from a special Centre menu provided by the proprietor. At the end of the meal, participants sign a form on which the appropriate activity is indicated (in this case, Intl. School of Cosmic Ray Astrophysics). Please sign legibly; accompanying persons must sign as well. Beverages (including bottled water) are not included and must be paid for separately.

At lunch and dinner, it is advisable for participants to distribute themselves in small groups in order to avoid too many people crowding into the same restaurant, and in order to have faster service. Please wear your badge.

At the conclusion of the school, participants will be asked to evaluate/rate the restaurants. Try them all, as you are able — A delightful way to sample the local cuisine!

C. Snacks: Coffee, tea, milk, mineral water, fruit and sandwiches are available (free of charge) in the “coffee room” at the I. I. Rabi Institute at any time.

D. Coffee/Tea Breaks: There will be coffee/tea breaks during both the morning and afternoon sessions. Breaks will be at the Institute where the lectures are being held.

E. Informal Gatherings: There is a “piano room” (the small central room under the arches at the back of the courtyard at the I. I. Rabi Institute) with a piano, guitar (?) and a keg of Marsala wine (free). This “piano room” can also be used for working groups. The “piano room” must be closed before midnight.

F. Computer Access: The computer room is located off the left-hand side of the I. I. Rabi courtyard. Participants can arrange to check e-mail. The connectivity can be slow and even intermittent. Do not plan on downloading large files through the net – – bring copies of what you need with you. If your host institute has a strong security policy, you may find it easier to sign up for one of the free web based email accounts provided by companies such as Yahoo, Google and Microsoft as these are readily accessed by the PC and Mac computers at the centre.  There is wireless access in the courtyard and in most of the buildings.  

G. Water: The local tap water is drinkable. In addition, you will find bottles of mineral water in your room (unless you are staying in one of the hotels). Empty bottles will be replaced by the room maid, free of charge. Extra bottles are available for all participants in the storage room at the I. I. Rabi Institute and in the “coffee room” refrigerator.

H. Laundry: Self-service washing machines (two) and dryers (two) are available in the storage room at the back of the courtyard in the I. I. Rabi Institute for use by participants.

I. Post and Bank Offices: The Post Office is in Via Guarnotta, 100 metres away from the I. I. Rabi Institute’s entrance (on the way to the Eugene P. Wigner Institute).

The Bank in the main square (Piazzo Umberto I) facing the Nuovo Edelweiss restaurant is not closed. An ATM machine is located at the corner. Pigeon holes for incoming mail or messages to participants are located in the entrance hall of the I. I. Rabi Institute.

J. Shops: The shops in Erice are open from 9:00 am (or 10:00 am) to 1:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm. We recommend the shops which give a discount to the participants: please ask before paying. The Pharmacy is in Via Cordici off the main square (Piazza Umberto I).

It is necessary for those participants who would like to be accompanied by members of their families to contact the Organizers well in advance of their arrival. Accommodation is limited and priority will be given to the first-comers.

The names of the accompanying persons must be communicated to the Centre Secretariat well in advance of the beginning of the course/institute. Accompanying persons receive a badge and can participate in all of the School’s activities. They must pay the 700 Euro fee that all participants pay.

As Erice is situated on top of a mountain at an altitude of 750 metres, it is much cooler than at sea level. Therefore, we would advise you to bring some warm clothing, and a windbreaker, even in the Summer. In July/August it is generally nice, but it can be chilly, foggy, and rain is possible. Bring an umbrella. The streets of Erice are old-fashioned cobblestones. Bring comfortable walking shoes. The weather is rather unpredictable in Erice, and the temperature and precipitation conditions can change suddenly. We usually have an excursion that will allow access to the beach. Bring swimming gear and sunscreen.

For the sessions the dress is casual. We are hoping to have a formal course dinner. Long pants, nice shirt, skirt or dress are recommended. (Coats and ties are not required.) Note: For those wishing to visit/tour some of the churches/cathedrals in the area, shorts may not be allowed and women should have a scarf to be used as a headpiece if necessary.