Art and Science throughout Italy: An Adventurous Journey. Graphene – miraculous 21st Century Material learning scenario in a Journey into Modern Physics.

INTRODUCTION

Within the Skype a Scientist initiative promoted by Scientix EU, we met Federica Beduini P.h.D. who showed us the multiple applications of graphene on April 30, 2021 in a streaming event organized by our scientific high school, Liceo Scientifico di Stato Calini in Brescia (Italy).

The meeting was part of the “Journey into Modern Physics”, in the path of Art & Science and following one of the learning scenarios present in STE(A)MIT – AN INTERDISCIPLINARY STEM APPROACH CONNECTED: Graphene – miraculous 21st Century Material

SUMMARY

A streaming seminar with questions and answers via chat has started on the activities of the ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences.

This Institute is dedicated to research in photonics, the science and technology related to light. Since light is a versatile tool that is both precise and delicate, it allows to study and create new technologies in different fields: health, information and energy. For this, we spoke with Federica Beduini P.h.D. about the following themes:

  • photonics and applications in the field of energy and environmental care
  • photonics and health applications
  • photonics and applications in the field of information
  • photonics and nanotechnology
  • photonics and quantum technologies
  • photonics and new materials

It is not easy to separate all these themes (many are connected to each other): it was a rather long seminar (1 hour and a half), introducing photonics in general together with an overview of all these themes. There was also a sort of “virtual tour” of the most interesting spaces of the institute.

Finally, we talked about the profession of Physicist for a woman and the problems related to gender GAP in STEM.

The complete recording of the event is available on the YouTube channel of the Liceo Scientifico di Stato “A. Calini” in Brescia (Italy).

What are the applications of photonics and how are your researches linked to the paradigms of modern physics? What is it like to live the adventure of being a scientist and how do you deal with the stereotypes that often determine a gender gap in scientific careers?
Federica Beduini of the ICFO-The Institute of Photonic Sciences, tells us about her experience.

At the end of the meeting, the researcher Fedetica Beduini P.h.D. proposed to the students a new meeting for the DECIDE GAME and we built together a bulletin board in padlet with all the materials and resources that would open up an authentic dialogue between the researcher and the students of the school and the territory.

The DECIDE GAME

This game is a dynamic and interactive activity that allows students to discover a theme in a relaxed and independent way. It is not a typical frontal lesson: through short texts, the students themselves discover the new contents and discuss them with their classmates. There is the digital version, which works successfully both in a hybrid form (pupils in the classroom and remote expert) or in a completely delocalized form (each participant connects from a different place).

During the two hours of the activity, the students form small groups of 4-6 participants and are transformed into members of a European Union Commission who must decide how to distribute research funds in various fields. To do this, they need to obtain information that will help them in their decision. For this purpose, they will receive different types of cards with short texts. For each type of card, each student needs to read a couple of cards, choose the one he or she finds most interesting and explain it to the classmates. In this way, they can discover a lot of information in an active way.

  • Story Cards: stories of plausible (but fictitious) characters that are related to the theme (for example, in the Decide Game on climate change, there are stories of people whose lives have been affected in some way by climate change)
  • Info Cards: scientific information on the topic or description of current research projects related to the chosen topic
  • Thinking Cards: open questions in the field of philosophy / ethics
  • Meet the expert: connection with an ICFO scientist who talks about their research; students can ask the expert any questions they want
  • Decision: each group must unanimously decide one of the four options proposed
  • Sharing: Each group briefly explains to the rest of the class which option they chose and why.

There are three types of Decide Games available in English:

  • Climate change (with focus on photonics)
  • Quantum technologies
  • ICFO and photonics

The activity takes place in different phases:

More detailed information is on our web page: https://outreach.icfo.eu/icfo-decide-game/

ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences (Catalan:Institut de Ciències Fotòniques) (Spanish: Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas) is a research center devoted to the science and technology of light. Located in Castelldefels (Barcelona, Spain), ICFO was created in 2002 by the Government of Catalonia and the Technical University of Catalonia.

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