- July, 25, 1999 -
Supplement to the n.3 of "La Fisica nella Scuola"
Managing Director: Luigi Brasini




Moderation or ... fight?

Moderation of the practical examination: the leaders come out of the meeting room and, with pleasure, give us their first impression.

"Basically we did agree with markers" say the Danish leaders Jens Ulrik Lefman and Niels Hartling
Yohanes Syrya and Daniel Haryono (Indonesia): "Congratulations to the organising commettee! Italy is beautiful..."
"the discussion was equilibrate; the students found the exam conceptually hard and the time was not enough; we can aim at a honourable mention".

Bulgarian leader Maksim Asristo Maksimov, at his 13th Olympiad, admits that they were worried before, but found the markers very reasonable and got a good agreement.

Hungarians Peter Gnadig and Gyula Honyek found the discussion very friendly and correct, while Kroatian leaders Ivan Kokanovic and Leonardo Marusic seem a little disappointed: after an hour of hard discussion they got very little, but they understand the behavior of the board.

Spanish Jaime Julve is expecting his turn for the moderation, but he is satisfied with the marking of the board,
From Estonia, Jark Kikas and Jaan Kalda: "a positive opinion, there has been agreement; we hope to get some medals"
while Halldorr Pall Halldorsson from Iceland has not finished his moderation: "It's a hard fight, the discussion is hot, but based on scientific questions".

The general opinion is that the board of markers did a good job with equal treatment. Someone notes that the markers have been a bit strict in the judgement, but admits that leaders tend to be generous.

Finally, about their stay in Padua, they seem to be all enthusiastic, mainly for the attractives of the town and also for the food. They all want to congratulate for the organisation.

by Rita Serafini & Antonio Gandolfi


The Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro take part to the program TRASCO (TRAsmutazione SCOrie = Wastes Transmutation)


From a proposal of Carlo Rubbia

One of the possible spin off of Nuclear and High energy Physics is the use of the technological development in the field of particle accelerators for applications related to energy production.

The main idea of the Energy Amplifier proposed by prof. Rubbia is the following: if one uses an amount of nuclear fuel (Uranium or Thorium) below the critical mass, the nuclear chain reaction can never go out of control and the reactor is intrinsically safe.
Figure 1: Low power full scale model of the first element of TRASCO linac

To sustain such reaction one uses the neutrons produced by a proton accelerator, so that the reactor "amplifies" the energy given by the proton beam; as a consequence when the accelerator is off the reactor is off, and the system is intrinsically safe. The same apparatus can be used to treat the nuclear wastes produced by a conventional reactor, so to induce nuclear reactions that generate less dangerous elements for repository.

The Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro take part to the program TRASCO (TRAsmutazione SCOrie=Wastes Transmutation), that aims to study the physics and to develop the technologies needed to design an Accelerator Driven System (ADS) for nuclear waste transmutation and has been prepared with close reference to Carlo Rubbia's proposal.

The final goal of this research sub-program belonging to LNL is the design and construction of the most difficult components for a 100 MeV high intensity proton LINAC, to be used as an injector for the super-conductive LINAC at 350 MHz. The possible applications of a high intensity machine at 100 MeV, or even at lower energy, in nuclear physics and in particular for radioactive beam production (SPES project), are one of the main reasons of our engagement in this research.


Activities for scientific publications and multimedia

Projects for the guidance of young people towards scientific subjects and the development of materials supporting teacher's and student's training seem to be particularly necessary today, if we consider a series of data that seem to be in contrast with the more and more urging demand for scientific knowledge. I just quote a few ones: people studying at Scientific Universities represent less than the 35% of the total University population in Italy, differently from wath is going on in Europe; documents now in discussion on the rearrangement of studies in Italian schools, both at high level and at University level, penalize basic scientific subjects and physics in particular, the number of students and teachers of physics in Universities is decreasing.
This problem is deeply feet also in Europe: a seminar with a meaningful title: "Securing the future of Physics" will be organized by the European Physical Society next September; two are the themes to be discussed: "Phisics Education" and the "Public understanding of Physics", to stress the strict relationship between the two topics.

The INFM (National Institute for the Physics of Matter) thinks it is necessary to awaken young people to the importance of scientific subjects with appealing and stimulating methods in order not to lose potential good researches so it has been organized interactive scientific exhibition recently became itinerant. Moreover it has been developing the ability to produce multimedia in wich its didactic, scientific and publication competences become successfully integrated.

Such activities are shown at the stand "HandsOnScience", situated in the "Cattedrale Vecchio Macello" in Padova, during the 30th Physics Olympiad (18th-27th July 1999).

The visitor can see the several documents regarding the stages of this itinerant scientific show. It is an exhibition organized by the central seat and an INFM research unit, together, wich offers as it was a game the meeting of visitors with the world of science and technology: the visitor is asked non to simply look and listen without touching but to experiment himself, make hypothesis, amuse himself watching something inusual. In addition to documents the visitor can find some games belonging the show, a part of the available ones, from wich he can feel the atmosphere the show can create, that is the most remarkable aspect: the meeting of researches teaching and students working side by side, often changing their roles; you can meet students illustrating their work to teacher visitors or simply sharing with visitors, stimulated by an unexpectred question, the pleasure of the discovery of something they had not realized before.

Besides the occasion of the show, the consequences are meaningful both for the links between the central seat and the local one during the arrangement and the accomplishment which allow a continuous enrichment of contents thanks the integration given by the local competences, and for the links between of world of research and the world of the school at a local level.

The visitor can become familiar with the CD-Rom EDUMAT, wich contains an extensive course in material science, complete with virtual labs where is possible to carry out interactive experiments. Other such products include a fire simulator for the safety of laboratories and a system for visualising sounds on a virtual membrane. The visitor can see, on this and other games, the potential offered by the combination of interactive experimental exhibit with multimedia.products.

Finally, the visitors of "HandsOnScience" can see some prototypes of a show being prepared a topics of great scientific value such as complex and granular systems, disorder, quasi-periodicity, chaos.

by Maria Grazia Dondi
INFM Scientific divulgation's group


On Friday evening the two announced lectures took place.

At the "Antonianum" residence hall, Prof. Ugo Gastaldi of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics, spoke to a careful and interested audience about matter and antimatter and about the Legnaro experiments. Professor Gastaldi performed some excursus on the fundamental matter's constituent according to the latest theories.
Bubble chamber. Physics Department Museum. Padua.

A lot of the present researches are based on bubble chambers whose precursor was Pietro Bassi (1922-1984), a Paduan physicist, who was a pioneer in nuclear research with the bubble chamber. Among the audience questions it seemed curious that of a student who asked how could be possible to find informations about antiparticles and where it can be possible to meet them.

At "Morgagni" residence hall Prof. Roberto Battiston of Perugia University caught the interest of many students, speaking about the quest for dark matter and antimatter in space. Starting his brilliant talk with Galileo and the discovery of Jupiter satellites, he illustrated the discoveries of Cassini and Huygens and went to Space Mission on Jupiter and Saturn. Finally he explained the main problems of today astrophysics and the search for antimatter with the recent AMS experiment on the Shuttle. The lecture aroused among the young audience many questions and interesting discussions

Markers at work

Special Thanks!
to the Headmaster of
IPSIA "Leonardo da Vinci" - Mantova,
for the Digital Camera.