Lorenzo Pizzuti from Trieste, winner of the final FameLab Italia 2016
It is Trieste to have secured this year the top step podium of FameLab Italia, thanks to the astrophysicist Lorenzo Pizzuti, that won the 2016 edition of the scientific communication talent show. The Final Famelab Italia took place on the 4th of May in Rome, at ASI's headquarters (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana -Italian Space Agency), as part of the international competition that challenges young scientific researchers with good communication skills to talk in 3 minutes only about the subject of their studies or a scientific topic that they feel passionate about.
Lorenzo was allowed to compete in the Rome final after his success last February in the first stage of the competition in Trieste. Trieste is one of the seven Italian cities that has held local selections, organized by Science Centre Immaginario Scientifico, Comune di Trieste, University of Trieste and SISSA.
23 years old PhD student at the University of Trieste and working at the Astronomic Observatory of Trieste, Lorenzo Pizzuti was born in Terni. As a child, he used to be fascinated by the mysteries of the Universe, by the secrets of its nature and of its future. He studies galaxies in order to learn and discover new things on gravity, and together with his scientific career, he also cultivates his artistic path as pianist and recitalist. It was precisely thanks to the combination of his two passions-science and music-that he has started to express interest in communicating science to the public. FameLab was the first occasion lived with the pleasure of sharing both passion and scientific knowledge, a pleasure that Lorenzo considers as well “a duty” towards future generations. “Try to become passionate about something and do it for the rest of your life with as much passion as you can, with as much joy and happiness as you can, also to be felt when you communicate it to others”: these are the words he uttered to comment his victory in front of more than 400 students present in the Auditorium of ASI (Italian Space Agency). His comments sum up in a few words the spirit of FameLab.
His presentation during the national scientific competition was centered upon the mysterious and fascinating black holes. The year marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, Lorenzo had the intelligence of talking about such a complex topic as the black holes by using a language and a mimic that clearly referred to the English poet and dramatist. In fact, Lorenzo compared a particle couple with two young lovers, and explained the particles' movements as if they were tragic love affairs. It was not by chance that the panel- made up of Silvia Bonaccorsi, biologist at La Sapienza University of Rome, Barbara Negri, astrophysicist at the Italian Space Agency, Giovanni Spataro, journalist of Le Scienze magazine and, for the first time in the history of FameLab Italy, a student chosen among those present in the Auditorium - considered Pizzuti to have had an outstanding ability of communicating concepts in a clear and empathetic way, besides displaying remarkable command of the subject matter.
Awarded by Anna Sirica, ASI's General Director, Lorenzo will compete now with other participants from all over the world in the final of FameLab International, to be held in June in Cheltenham, UK, within the Cheltenham Science Festival.
FameLab was created in 2005 by Cheltenham Festival and working worldwide with the British Council, it has now reached 27 countries. From 2012, FameLab has been taken place in Italy as well, organized by Psiquadro-Perugia Science Fest and British Council Italia, with over 40 institutions being in charge of local selections and of the national competition.
Fourteen finalists, coming from the local selections in Ancona, L’Aquila, Napoli, Padova, Perugia, Torino and Trieste, participated at the national competition. The final FameLab Italia was a real science show, with high caliber presentations and engaging interludes, such as “The Dreaming Physics” by Federico Benuzzi, Mathematics and Physics lecturer, trained actor and professional juggler. Clear evidence that science is anything but boredom and distance; it can be surprising, exciting and accessible if communicated with the heart.