Bernardo Colombo

Professor Emeritus of Demography Department of Statistical Sciences
University of Padova, Italy
(1919 – 2012)


  • Gold medal for merit in education, culture and arts (1974)
    Member of the Italian Commission of UNESCO (1969-1972)
    Committee for Safeguarding Statistical Information of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers 
    Member and President of Holy See Delegation at the UN World Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (1994)
    Holy See Delegate at the first Session of the UNESCO World Commission on Ethics and Scientific and Technological Knowledge in Oslo (1999).
    Member of the Italian Statistical Society, the International Statistical Institute, the International Association for Official Statistics, the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, the Accademia Patavina di Sceinze, Lettere e Arti, the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti, the Pontificial Academy of Sciences. 
    In May 2014, The Department of Statistical Sciences of the University of Padova dedicated to Bernardo Colombo an exhibition: "Bernardo Colombo, la lezione umana di un intineario scientifico".
  • Summery of scientific research: Starting from a basic preparation in statistics, Bernardo Colombo, during a long career, has pursued several lines of research. After early work on the theory of hypothesis testing and original contributions to the techniques of sequential analysis, he became interested in demographic problems. In this field he has been involved both in the methodology of measurements of fertility and nuptiality, and in factual analysis, with particular reference to the startling phenomenon of the recovery of the birth rate in several countries during the last world war and to the incidence of illegal abortion in Italy. This kind of research work has gone hand in hand with his continuous attention to fundamental aspects of demographic policies in order to find reasonable lines of intervention which respect basic human rights and lead to acceptable solutions through a balance between free individual decisions and collective needs and targets. Strongly engaged in consulting work for civil authorities, his main contribution has been suggestions about the organization of the school system and the methodology of production of good official statistics. He has also carried out biometrical research, starting with a thorough study on the primary and secondary sex ratio in man. His most recent and engaging work, with responsibility for the coordination of large undertakings at the international and national levels, centers on a subject - the biometry of the menstrual cycle and especially of fecundability - which is at the heart of the interaction of the biological and behavioural components of reproduction, that is to say the history of individuals as well as of human populations.