cod. 1005539

Academic year 2015/16
2° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Fisica teorica, modelli e metodi matematici (FIS/02)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
30 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit
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Learning objectives

The main objective of the course is to be supportive and contribute to teaching and training for students who wish to complete their responsibilities towards the teaching and communication of science. The course is also designed for those who, despite having a basic scientific training, wants to become familiar with the communication of knowledge and for those who, despite having a liberal arts education, or historical, want to extend their skills in science.

The course aims to provide practical experience in communicating scientific material to different audiences through different channels of communication: the written and oral presentation interactive. The student is led to acquire specific skills with educational tools to effectively communicate science themes.


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Course unit content

The language of science
The texts of science
The science and its communication
Science museums
The scientific exhibitions
The sites of scientific

Full programme

The lessons deal with the different methods of disclosure and exposure of Science. The first part focuses on a brief history of how it has changed over the centuries, the concept of the museum, started as a small private study in the home of noble scholars, and how they evolved spaces, display techniques and especially the purposes and the type of audience. Today the exhibition of scientific topics, supported by specialized websites, databases, festivals and other educational activities of various kinds, is entrusted mainly to the Museum of Science, to show the historical collections (ancient instruments, stuffed animals, minerals, etc.), and the Centers for Science, to explain in a simple and immediate scientific principles through the interactive devices, called "exhibits".
These two categories are analyzed from the point of view of the institution, the architecture and the public. The public is in fact the single biggest new star of Museums: want to learn, have fun, be stimulated, intrigued, and sometimes put to the test. So a key component not only of the Centers for Science but also new museums is the interactivity, which is the preparation of an exhibition in which the visitor is not a passive observer but an active discoverer, which operates the devices present aa an internal path, "interrogates" the multimedia stations on the contents that most interest him, explores some issues and sometimes choose freely the way forward.
Through numerous examples you want to provide an overview as comprehensive as possible of the various display techniques and above all the potential contained within a large container which can be the Museum of Science to the collections or the Center for Science for educational experiments.

The modern interactive science museums while not expressly designed for an audience of children offer even to the smallest experiential occasions of great importance and often include internally spaces expressely dedicated to children. Some exhibits, in particular, constitute a "classic" for science centers and are hosted also in school facilities or playgrounds These exhibits are examined and their differences are analyzed in different science centers located in different parts of the world. But what it means to do science with the children and with the children? We must first determine which is the idea that the adult has of the child and of the science. In our case we believe that the child is a competent person in a position, since the years of kindergarten, to make scientific investigations and formulate theories.
Several studies attest to how girls and boys already very small are able to analyze the world around them with the scientific method. Looking at the world around them pose fundamental questions and try to find an answer. Their brain does not have rigid barriers between the disciplines for which the philosophy intersects strongly with the scientific and imagination with the development of the theory.
Our idea about science is thus to intersect with our idea of ​​the child. If science is a discipline with multiple and articulated connections with other tools at our disposal to deal with the world and if the child is a competent person whom should simply be offered opportunities for interaction with the surrounding world, the encounter between science and children can only be fruitful, peaceful, harmonious, full of discoveries and important moments. In this context, the making of the child is often a making of science.
We analyze the mode of action of children. At the beginning there is often to repeat a large number of times a certain action that highlights a phenomenon that interests them. Much has been written and observed by Puppeteer Mariano Dolci on the discovery of the shadow of the school children of Reggio Emilia. Children are attracted by the shadow and feel the need to investigate this extraordinary phenomenon. No adults to ask, to impose it to establish it, are themselves placed in the appropriate conditions to have the urgent need to observe, discover, evaluate the black shape that follows them wherever they go. The research and observation are therefore natural for children.
That's not all. Even the repetition is part of the common behaviour of children and, moreover, also required by the scientific method of Galileo, according to which it is not sufficient to carry out one time a scientific experiment, but it is so defined that, you need to repeat a raised number of times. This part of the scientific method is certainly also the method of play of the very young children who constantly repeat certain actions. Think for example to a child on the chair that keeps throwing objects and watching with astonishment this interesting phenomenon. Generally it not limited to a single observation, but repeated countless times the experiment. For example in the years we have had the good fortune to follow an interesting path of the nursery Rampari the Municipality of Ferrara, during which girls and boys were given the opportunity to experiment with different objects and situations. This observation led us to experience as continually trying to reproduce the initial conditions of the '' experiment 'and to observe it again, making minor changes in a second step and returning to repeat the new action. Amazement, wonder and enchantment are growing every person and are an integral part of scientific research. In this sense a science that provides children with empty brains to be filled with formulas, theories and explanations, removing the pleasure of discovery, is certainly a far cry from the science of what we are talking about.


Marco Fabbrichesi : Pensare in formule Newton Einstein Heisenberg, 2004, 258 p., ill., brossura Editore Bollati Boringhieri (collana Saggi. Scienze).

Marco Fabbrichesi : Delle Cose Semplici: Pianeti, Piselli, Batteri E Particelle Elementari, Editor CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edizione (5 marzo 2014) 278 p.

Leonard Susskind George Hrabovsky : The Theoretical Minimum: What You Need to Know to Start Doing Physics

Matteo Merzagora Paola Rodari : La Scienza in Mostra, Bruno Mondadori 2007 ( collana Campus ).
Frank Oppenheimer, The Exploratorium. Exhibit conception and design, in “Working Prototypes”, 1969.
Adalgisa Lugli, Le stanze della meraviglia «Wunderkammer», Torino, Allemandi, 1997.
John Durant (a cura di), Scienza in pubblico. Musei e divulgazione del sapere, Bologna, Clueb, 1998.
Luca Basso Peressut, Musei per la scienza. Spazi e luoghi dell'esporre scientifico e tecnico, Milano, Lybra Immagine, 1998.
Main Web Sites:

Science Museums:

Science Centers:



Teaching methods

Part of the course is devoted to communication in museums, science centers, and scientific exhibitions and, in this context,
will focus on issues and educational exhibition, which is on the analysis of the public addressed the communication, particularly to the youngest ones, and the interaction between the media and the public, and within the teaching practice, deepen the scientific content of the communication, identifying, in particular, key elements of the discipline in question, the nature and purpose thereof.

Assessment methods and criteria

During the course tests and exercises to verify the understanding of the main contents of the lectures will be carried out.

Both in carrying out the verification tests and in the final examination to the student will be left
ample room for initiative and proposition on the issues of conception, organization, preparation and presentation of contents in the different areas of communication of scince as: science museums, exhibitions, websites, seminars, etc..

To pass the tests to the student will requested an appropriate understanding of the terms and of the
technical terminology used, a clear and reasoned understanding of the issues carried out and a
personal processing capacity of the same issues.

Other information

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