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European Researchers’ Night 2017 in Naples

ERN_3On September 29th, for the second time PONYS joined the European Researchers’ Night (ERN) 2017 by participating to an outreach event in Naples. The main organizer was Frascati Scienza, who managed the events in more than 10 cities of Italy.
The event we joined has been organized in the Municipio Metro Station thanks to the network with the Section of Naples of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and the Azienda Napoletana Mobilità (ANM), the local public transport company.
For the second time, we chose a daily life place, in order to reach a higher number of people and talk with them about science. Everyone who had to take or took the metro, made a stop to the PONYS exhibit, where they have been involved in easy scientific demonstration. In each exhibit, PONYS volunteers showed scientific experiments with everyday material: a lamp, a guitar and microwave oven turned out to be useful in explaining the fundamentals laws of optics and acoustics, with common examples.
Ponys’ exhibits weren’t the only attraction of the ERN in Naples. Actually, the Metro station itself is a touristic place, since the building is very ancient and it is well integrated with the archeological ruins found during the construction of the metro and also with the walls of one of the most ancient castle, called Maschio Angioino which stands out against the square. Thanks to the INFN-Section of Naples, one of the lateral facade of the Castel, was animated with a projection of short science video. In order to facilitate the communication with people, the short videotape was composed by cartoon bubbles, which describe many physics and optics applications. It has been a fundamental experience of professional growth for PONYS. We had the chance to join one of the most important scientific event in Europe. But the most enthusiastic experience has been our relation with our people and city: it was great being in one of the most ancient and famous place of Naples, sharing physics!
Thanks to all our partners.

Physics for sustainable development & Fund Raising Concert

19620423_1789798807999701_1364818878364214764_oOn the 23rd of June PONYS Physics & Optics Naples Young Students organized a fundraising event for the association Sunshine4Palestine. The event had two moments: a talk held by Dr. Barbara Capone from “Roma Tre” University with the title “Physics for sustainable development” and a concert on Physics Department Roof-top performed by “Roof-ini’s quintet”.
The theme of the talk, Physics for sustainable development, was very interesting: Dr. Barbara Capone told us Sunshine4Palestine projects. One of the most important was “Jenin Hospital Project”: this project implies the construction and installation of a photovoltaic power generating plant on the roof of the Jenin Charitable Hospital in Gaza. The plant has been specifically designed to cover the energy needs for the entire hospital, and to include storage energy components for emergency purposes.
Some of these projects was consisted with our activities, as, Scientific Divulgation. In collaboration with students from the Applied Science College of the Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, Sunshine4Palestine association will give rise to the first scientific divulgation project in the Gaza Strip. Many small experiments will be conducted, and some groups will work on projects to make the first pieces of what will become the first Science Museum in Gaza. After the talk, The event continued on Physics Department Roof, where the Roof-ini’s quintet’s perfomance entertained the audience and we organized the fundraiser moment for sustain Sunshine4Palestine.
Listening to how you can make your skills available by a scientist to help others has been a great stimulus and exciting for us!

Physica in Fabula

19055886_1779600192352896_900413531917606646_o“Physica in Fabula” is born by the idea of put together two worlds apparently distant: literature and physics.
After reading a brief literary step, some simple experiments, which are related to the physical phenomena present in the story, are shown and explained; for example “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is linked to some experiments of geometrical optics for understanding if it is possible to recreate the Cloak of invisibility. Last piece is followed by a laboratory, called G-Lab, in which the audience realizes the experiment using poor materials, such as building a hologram prism for smartphone and tablet. This activity was presented for the first time in occasion of the presentation of the book “La Nascita Imperfetta delle Cose” by the Italian physicist Guido Tonelli, hosted by the bookstore laFeltrinelli Libri e Musica in Naples and organized by Fondazione IDIS – Città della Scienza.
In the last year “Physica in Fabula” became a real format that has been performed in various neapolitan libraries and during the XXXI edition of “Futuro Remoto”, organized by Città della Scienza.
The format has been expanded with new readings and adding some excerpts of animated movies.
Targeted mainly to children, the purpose of Physica in Fabula was to stimulate the interest both in physics and literature, using the powerful effects of literature on imagination to light the sparkle of curiosity towards physics, and showing how many real physical phenomena are hidden in the stories we are used to read.

Scientific Adventure Playground

18359147_1761579790821603_5542796366632819535_oScientific Adventure Playground is an outreach initiative designed and organized by PONYS – Physics & Optics Naples Young Students, in partnership with the Environmental Department of Naples City Council and the National Institute for Nuclear Physics.

The idea
Playing is a very powerful way of learning, as everyone knows. Over the last years PONYS have designed a large number of demonstrative experiments, exploring different areas of physics, which have been proposed in many outreach events as a collection of separated stands. What if these very same experiments were collected in a consistent way, giving rise to a scientific game where participants can play and learn at the same time? And what if this could be done in a wonderful location, such as an urban park, delivering also an environmental message? And what if this scientific game took place in two of the toughest neighborhoods of Naples? Put all this together, and you’ll catch the idea at the heart of the Scientific Adventure Playground.

The event took place in two urban parks located at the opposite sides of Naples, one week away one another:
“Villa di Scampia”, April 22ndScampia has become worldwide famous in last years because of its involvement in organized crime issues, as witnessed by Roberto Saviano’s bestseller book “Gomorra” and the subsequent screen adaptations. Its characteristic buildings, “le vele” (“the sails”) have become the symbol of the degradation of this area.
“Parco Massimo Troisi”, San Giovanni a Teduccio, April 29thEntitled to the Academy-Award-winning actor and film director Massimo Troisi, who was born in this neighborhood, this park is located just a few steps away from a huge portrait of Diego Armando Maradona, painted in 2016 by the street artist Jorit.
Target and Objectives

The event was addressed mainly to children of 8 – 13 years old, but it turned out that this kind of activity is perfectly suitable with little variations to a much larger audience.The objectives of Scientific Adventure Playground were:
• Stimulate interest in physics and science in general;
• Make children explore the urban park, walking around and discovering its beauty; • Sensitize the public to environmental issues and to the respect of public places.

The Game
The aim of the game is to explore the park using the Scientific Explorer Kit provided at the entrance, attend a number of physics experiments and overcome the challenges, namely answering some simple questions.
There are three routes to follow, of three different colors. Each route develops a topic and is divided into three stages: each stage consists in a stand focusing on a particular area of physics, thematically coherent to the whole route. The routes are:

• Waves Route, Blue – Optics, Electromagnetism, Acustic
• Elements Route, Red – Geophysics, Astrophysics, Fluid Dynamics
• Energy Route, Yellow – Combustion, Soap Bubbles, Smart Materials

Following the routes and answering the questions the visitor can fill his/her Scientific Passport with stamps, which mark his/her proceedings, and win some prizes provided he/she answers correctly to at least one question out of three for any given route.

The framework of the game provides motivation and engagement. Paying attention to the experiments is essential to answer correctly and win the prize, which works just as a catalyzer. In order to stress this point and avoid to overestimate the importance of the prize, the criteria designed to win it have been chosen carefully, focusing on the importance of the experience itself rather than on the stakes.

The Scientific Explorer Kit
At the entrance of the park, the visitor receives the Scientific Explorer Kit, containing all the necessary to play. It contains the following:

Map of the park. Drawn by PONYS, it contains some elements useful to orient yourself in the park (buildings, trees and so on) in addition to other elements which are essential to the game, such as the colored flags, which mark the stages od the routes, and the Checkpoint, where visitors go to check their answers.
Scientific Passport. It marks the proceedings of the visitor. It’s personal, customizable with Name, Surname, Date of Birth, Signature and Photo. Each box to be stamped carries the name of a famous scientist and little logo attached to it: this simple feature, besides offering the opportunity to talk about great scientists of our history, stimulates interest through the idea of “collecting scientists”.
Challenge Sheet (red, blue or yellow). It contains three multiple answer questions, related to the three stages of a given route. After answering the first Challenge Sheet, the visitor can take another sheet at the Checkpoint and continue to play, until he has finished all the routes.

The Physics Garden
This is an open area, separated from the colored routes and the question-answer game, where the link between physics and sport is investigated through interactive experiences. Many activities are covered: football, basketball, dancing, diving and others. This area allows to continue to play even after all the routes have been completed, and is particularly fitting to the park setting.

The INFN Stand
The Naples Section of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics supported the event and participated with a stand illustrating the physics of cosmic rays and how muons coming from outer space are currently used for volcanos and subsoil radiography. This part of the activity was particularly suitable to grown-up kids and adults accompanying their children

Futuro Remoto

19054912_1777202052592710_5072035612927482245_oFrom May 25th to 28th 2017, PONYS joined “Futuro Remoto”, the most anticipated Naples science festival organized by Città della Scienza (link http://www.cittadellascienza.it/). The event was hosted in Piazza del Plebiscito, the principal square of Naples. The focus topic of this year was “Connections”, a wide theme held in all its senses.
During the four days of the festival, PONYS presented Passione fisica (link http://ponys.fisica.unina.it/?p=1566), an activity designed as a journey through different fields of physics. The aim was to let scientifical interest araise in all the people visiting our exhibitions, by showing how complex physical phenomena can be appealing and accessible when they are made with simple experiments.
The event was designed as a scientific adventure journey, where the visitor received a customizable scientific passport and a quiz with questions about the topics discussed. Following the exhibitions and answering the questions the visitor could fill his/her Scientific Passport (link report PAS) with stamps, which marked his/her progress. Taking care of the main theme of Futuro Remoto, PONYS decided to connect with other research centers by involving them in their scientific adventure. With this idea the visitor, having the scientific passport, could go to visit other exhibitions and collect stamps from them. This idea has been a great success and involved hundreds of people.

Ranging from Electromagnetism and Optics to Geophysics and Particle Physics, most of the experiments was made of everyday materials, in order to both stimulate the audience with familiar objects and to make those experiments easily reproducible and interactive. This year acoustic experiments were introduced in order to show how to generate a sound wave. A special area was dedicated to interactive demonstrations about physics of football, basketball, dancing, diving and others.

Furthermore, PONYS realized three appointments of Physica in fabula (link report PIF) and a scientific speed dating (link report SD). The former was a funny and interesting laboratory for kids; the latter involved several scientists to answer public’s questions.
Also this year more than 100 volunteers among students, PhD, researchers and professors of the Physics Department of the University of Naples joined this PONYS experience!

Naples PONYS section – YM BAA 2016

12977164_1063944126998939_7464643876718535501_oThe Young Minds Best Activities Award 2016 by EPL has been committed to the Naples PONYS section. The ceremony has been held during the 5th YM Leadership meeting in Budapest on the 16th of July.
In a competition between the 36 European sections, the Naples group has been distinguished by the activities carried out in the field of outreach, professional development and networking.

Physics Express

12977164_1063944126998939_7464643876718535501_oThis year on April 17th PONYS organized the fourth edition of “Passione Fisica” (“Physical Passion”, roughly translated) at Città della Scienza, the biggest science museum of southern Italy: an entire day dedicated to physics popularization through demonstrations and simple experiments. Supported by EPS and OSA and involving more than 100 volunteers among physics students of University of Naples “Federico II”, the event was targeted at both children and adults and designed as a journey through different fields of physics entitled “Physics Express”. Ranging from Electromagnetism and Optics to Thermodynamics and Particle Physics, most of the experiments were made of everyday materials, in order to both stimulate the audience with familiar stuff and to make those experiments easily reproducible and interactive. In particular, great importance was given to the hands-on aspect of the event, and in this perspective we proposed a new physics-based construction lab, where children were involved from the very beginning in the construction of simple toys based on physical principles. Such principles could be thus understood in a very practical, funny and powerful way, and eventually children could obviously keep the toy they built as a souvenir of the day. “Passione Fisica” was also the occasion to spread among the large public the award-winning documentaries of the European Science TV and New Media Awards 2015, which were showed in a hall for the whole duration of the event, and to celebrate the OSA Centennial with a dedicated desk.
Alongside our activities, Città della Scienza organized during the day other demonstrations and talks in partnership with local associations and research centers, which presented some of the hottest topics of their work. According to the museum ticket-selling office, more than 800 people joined us for the event.

Physics is Back

fotoIn order to enrich the orientation programme offered by our department for master students, PONYS members proposed and organized a series of talks meant to underline of a physicist can work and excel outside the research world.
During 2015-2016 academic year, PONYS members organized a series of seminars about the possibilities, for a physicist, to begin an alternative career along the research one.
This meetings were held at the physics department of University of Naples Federico II.
Lecturers were chosen among those who decided to start a career far from the “research world”. Indeed, we invited former physics students of our department that now have job positions outside universities and research centers. We wanted to know and to focus the conversation on how a “physical backgroung” could be used outside the academia. All the students of our department were warmly invited to join the seminars and to take part with their curiosity and questions.
Our speakers were:

  • Emilio Sassone Corsi, Senior Partner & CEO Management Innovation, 12th February 2016. His speech was entitled “From Physics to innovation management and back.”
  • Marco Valli, data scientist at Pangea Formazione, 30th March 2016 whose talk was entitled “from Physics to the industrial world and back.”

This two meetings were attended by an average of twenty people between PhD and master students in physics.
Each meating was closed with a light buffet, ment to thank our guest and to enjoy some time with the parecipants. This coffe breaks were a good occasion for us to present and talk about our past activities and future projects!

Young Minds at Napoli COMICON

Physics4ComicsThis year Naples PONYS chapter participated at the Naples COMICON, held at the Mostra D’Oltremare from the 22nd to the 25th of April. This is one of the most important conventions in Italy about comics, cosplaying, gaming and other related activities, and attracts more than 100.000 visitors each year. None of those 100.000 expected to find there, alongside cosplayers, publishers and famous authors also a bunch of physicists, lots of interactive experiments, and a board game on quantum mechanics! These were, in fact, some of the key features of the “Physics4Comics” project. Its aim was to spread scientific knowledge and concepts contextualizing them into the atmosphere of a comic-convention, riding the tide of the sense of wonder arisen by such festivals in order to awaken curiosity in an audience composed mostly by teen agers and young adults. The event consisted in:

  • Interactive physics experiments, mostly realized with everyday materials, talking about the physics lying behind the fantasy. Their aim was to show how many strange effects are present not only in comics or movies, but also in our world, and how physics can help to notice and explain them;
  • A comic book, realized by our members in collaboration with INFN, in which a comic story serves as a narrative link for a set of six articles, written by researchers, PhD and master students in physics. Each article tries to explain how the most famous phenomenon in popular culture (e.g. Superpowers, Teleport , Lightsaber) could work using physics, under the condition of “stretching ” a little bit its law (we are always talking about flying guys). The Comic book was distributed for free in 3500 copies during the event and more copies are on the way!
  • Quantum Race, a board game developed by the CNR – IFN Researcher Dr Fabio Chiarello which uses quantum mechanics effects and phenomena as game rules. In this way players are more likely to accept and understand concepts far beyond the “common sense”, because they are framed into a ludic structure that forms suspension of disbelief. The game was also present in a huge version which allowed players to play at open air!
    Alongside these events, the Napoli COMICON organization hosted three small talks in which our members were given the opportunity to speak about the various features of the events.

The event was a success thanks to efforts of more than 20 volunteers (among researchers, PhD, master and bachelor students in physics) which faced hordes of thousands curious participants.

Young Minds at Portici Science Cafè

PorticiScience Café is a public science initiative started in United Kingdom, but currently running all over the word. Typically, one monthly evening meeting is organised in a café or bar to which one or several scientists are invited to talk in laymen’s terms about their work in a topical or even controversial area. The events are known for their informal and friendly atmosphere, and are believed to improve the image of scientists and careers in science.
In Portici Ing.Vincenzo Bonadies started to plan a series of talks with young napolitan researcher that were gladly invited to present their current work.
In particular, we were attracthed by the location of the event, Villa FERDANDEZ, an old mansion recently confiscated to local crime organizations.
On February 17th the Portici Science Café invited Michela Florinda Picardi, a PONYS member, to give a speech on light for the International Year of Light. Michela, former president of our OSA Student Chapter, is now a PhD student at King’s College in London.
She worked on the orbital angular moment of light, and on the possibility to use it as another degree of freedom for quantum computing. Her talk showed to the common public how light is nowadays in our daily lives, and how the development of new technologies in quantum optics can enlarge this use.
During the event Lorenzo Colaizzi, showed the PONYS activities to the Science Café participant. The short movie Blackout, directed by Michela with the help of all the association members was projected for the first time in Italy. In conclusion simple experiments on light had been shown to the public. It was an amazing afternoon for us. Our first Science Café, and hopefully just the first one!
Around 50 people attended to the talk, and an entire classroom from the local highschool was involved into the experiments-realization by our members.