EPS Young Minds section Catania 2020 flyer

An activity organized by EPS Young Minds, in 2020, showcased discoveries by Catania physicists, and stimulated Italian high school students’ interest in scientific research.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Catania section of EPS Young Minds had the chance to grow and improve. In fact, many new members joined us, inspired by our activities and our mission. We had to rethink our activities in an online version.

Part-time jobs for high school students

Our section collaborated with our department of Physics to create a PCTO project, which consists of part-time jobs/stages for high school students. The name of the project is “Dalla Ricerca alla Divulgazione”.

One of these events was Fisic@Catania. This event took place on November 27, on the occasion of the European Researchers’ Night 2020, and it was streamed on YouTube.

Recent physicists’ discoveries

The purpose of this event was to disseminate among people the most recent scientific discoveries made by physicists from Catania.

High school students were also involved through the PCTO project. During the morning, brief interviews were held on a topic chosen by the guests themselves: ten researchers were interviewed, ranging from condensed matter to astrophysics, from particle physics to complex systems.

The activity called “Fisic@Catania Dig-Out “ could be thought of as a sequel of the previous one. This time the students involved in the PCTO project had to choose the topic, because they usually do not have the opportunity to be in contact with someone who works on physics projects.

Researches of Catania profs

To develop such a complete activity, we split the event in two days, one for each group: Astrophysics and Condensed Matter Physics, Nuclear Physics and Theoretical Physics. For each physical field there was a professor of the department of Physics of Catania who talked about the research activities she/he is involved in Catania.

The talks had a “dig-out mode”, in the sense that it was like a conversation between the professor and an EPS Young Minds member who asked her/him some curiosities. In this way the professor gave an overview on the physics behind the research, what we know up to now and what they aim to reach, she/he told some personal aspects, but she/he also let the high school students know the good reasons to study Physics at Catania.

What students learnt

After these talks (30 minutes each), we gathered some questions of the students which the professor was glad to answer. In conclusion the events turned out to be successful, the high school students appreciated it a lot and they discovered some scenarios they did not know at all.

Fisic@Catania activities are just a portion of the activities related to the PCTO project, we could say that it is the starting point, the “Ricerca” part. From February to May there are a series of activities related to FameLab that cover the “Divulgazione” part, but we need a second article to talk about it, so stay tuned!

Gabriele Trovato, Paola La Magna, Massimo Germanà

This post was first published by the European Physical Society.

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