We analyse the recruitment at Pavia University of seven directors of the Physics Institute and of the related Physics Cabinet active between 1860 and 1942, in the context of Italian unification. Attention is paid to the recruitment by national selections and through the “transfer” system, usually from “B” to “A” Universities. The relevance of the Pisa-Florence “school” for the careers of the majority of the seven directors is outlined, as well as the role influential members of the High Council of Education. Examiners and candidates of the 1897, 1920 and 1926 national selections are dealt with. The complicated Italian top-down recruitment system produced extraordinary results but also had very serious flaws.
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