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A historical journey on characters and discoveries in physics

Outreach_1The YM group of Messina have realized many outreach activities. Some of them were carried out in several High Schools of Messina and dealt with the historical development of the main physical branches. First of all we talked about the main personalities that provided fundamental contributions to classical Physics: Galileo and Newton as concerns mechanics and optics, Boltzmann and Clausius for their work on thermodynamics, Maxwell and Faraday that founded the electromagnetic theory. Afterwards we talked about the main consequences of their researches and we showed to the students some theoretical and experimental results. The participants enjoyed two activities the most. In the first place we talked about telescopes and how they work, since we used the one that our group already have. Thus, we organised a sunspots watching, emphasising the significant work done by Galileo Galilei, who first observed these anomalies on the sun surface in 1610. Furthermore, optics experiments got a lot of attention, especially the dispersion of white light by means of a prism. Our aim was to get the students interested in Physics, since it is considered the toughest of all sciences and, for this reason, each year just a few people decide to enrol in our department. We believe that the participants had a good feeling about these experiences, so we hope that either the entries of our department increase and that we will have the opportunity to do again these events.

On June 11th, some of our members and students of our department took a hike on Mount Etna with a volcanology and alpine guide, Dr. Giuseppe Amendolia. He explained in detail the history of Etna and the events (eruptions, earthquakes) that brought to its actual shape: aside the 5 summit craters, it consists of hundreds of secondary volcanic cones. We organized this jaunt to understand scientifically the phenomena that often affects Sicily, especially Messina and Catania.
The hike started at the University of Messina where all participants gathered in the morning. They moved to Mount Etna, up to the so-called “Rifugio Sapienza” (1910m) where they met Dr. Giuseppe Amendolia at 9 a.m. and started the guided tour. From Rifugio Sapienza they reached 2500m using the cableway and then started the walk. The group visited several minor craters at this altitude and one of the biggest at 2900m. They wanted to walk nearer the summit craters, but rain and fog hindered the excursion. However, the stroll has been tough since it was about 10 km. The participants were satisfied and enthusiast by this activity and hope to come back to end the excursion on the summit craters. This experience gave them the opportunity to better their scientific culture on a theme that is so fascinating. In fact Mount Etna was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is one of the most studied volcanos of Europe and Asia. For this activity we used 600€ allowing 15 participants to take part at this excursion.