A festival about the causes of things

Published on Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Can freedom and need co-exist? Do language and words shape our way of thinking? Is music improvisation or does it always follow precise rules?

These are just a few of the questions the thirteenth National Geographic Science Festival will attempt to answer. The event is to take place from 16 to 22 April at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica.   

The festival’s overall theme, “What Causes Things,” is an examination of the relationship between cause and effect, one of the cornerstones of science and philosophy. It will be approached from four points of view - “Earth and Environment,” “Technology and Reality,” “Society and Laws” and “Thought and Creativity.”

As part of the programme, Enel Green Power, the event’s partner, will present the photographic exhibitionOn the Trail of the Glaciers – In Search of the Past for a Sustainable future". The exhibition, which is free to visitors, was conceived and curated by Fabiano Ventura and looks at the effects of climate change on permanent glaciers. 

On the closing day, 22 April, we will be celebrating Earth Day with an event that sees the participation of personalities including Andrea Fantini, a yachtsman who competes in some of the world’s most important races. As a technical partner, Enel Green Power is working with him on an innovative sustainable design for an ecological craft. 

A subject of great interest to us will also be under the spotlight – the circular economy, which will be examined in depth during the meeting on 16 April with Carlo Alberto Pratesi, professor of economics and company management at Roma Tre university, and Giulio Bonazzi, president and CEO of Aquafil, one of the Italian companies featured in the publication “100 Italian circular economy stories,” which was produced together with Fondazione Symbola.

Many more events await visitors during the festival week – 340 have been scheduled, including more than 40 encounters with internationally renowned scientists, philosophers, researchers, innovators and artists. 

Children and youngsters will be able to take part in over 200 educational activities staged by highly skilled educators and science popularisers, with workshops, exhibitions, games and shows.

Adults will also be able to enjoy some recreational activities with five shows on the event’s theme, including “Life: A Journey Through Time,” a multimedia work on the wonders of life in all its forms, with music by Philip Glass and images by National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting.

The event is produced by Fondazione Musica per Roma and co-directed by Vittorio Bo and Jacopo Romoli. As well as National Geographic, contributors to the production of this year’s festival include the ASI (the Italian Space Agency) and INFN (the National Nuclear Physics Institute), with the support of Roma Capitale and MIUR (the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research). The CNR (the National Research Council), IIT (the Italian Institute of Technology), INAF (the National Astrophysics Institute) and INGV (the National Geophysics and Volcanology Institute) have all provided scientific support, alongside many other Italian and international partners.  

The festival is part of the “Eureka! Roma 2018” programme, an initiative involving 24 of the capital’s libraries with over 200 free events. It will be broadcast live by RAI Radio3 Scienza from Friday 20 to Sunday 22 April.

The full programme of initiatives can be downloaded from the Auditorium website

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