The Physics Path (No. 2) - to the universe and to scientific thinking

„Why is the sky dark at night?“ Paolo Benincasa, senior scientist in scattering amplitudes and cosmology, took the path to the answer together with students from the high school „IES Lagoa de Antela“ in the Spanish province Ourense. He walked with them through the mysteries of the universe – as well as all the way scientists go when they start searching for answers. Paolo Benincasa organized this outreach event for fifteen to eighteen years old students together with Miguel Ángel Yebra Ferro, one of the science teachers of the high school.

„My main goal is to show young people how scientific thinking works,” Paolo says. „I like to help them to realize how logical mathematical thinking is a great tool for every-day life.” Paolo encouraged the students to find their own answers to the question above. Following these answers, he guided them through the history of discovering the universe – and showed them at the same time how scientists were able to make these discoveries. Paolo always starts with a simple question about something we see in our daily life and leads with it into the logical and inevitable way of understanding the world around us.

„The students were amazed by the possibility of connecting their basic physics knowledge with cosmology“, their teacher Miguel Ángel Yebra Ferro says. „A topic that they perceive as very far from their everyday life helped them to make simple useful estimations starting from basic facts. Science popularization on current research topics is the best way to encourage young people to learn about scientific thinking.“

Paolo’s next outreach events will take place in the high schools IES Lagoa de Antela and IES Taboada Chivite from March 13th to March 17th. Their topic will be „Sustainable energy, without the hot air” and the “Reality is not what it looks like: understanding the world and the scientific method”.

Photo: Miguel Ángel Yebra Ferro
March 7, 2023