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In late October, I had the honor and pleasure of presenting the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF) to a very interested audience at the Festival of Light in Italy, giving a wide overview of the organization, the history, our area of expertise, research projects and activities. At the same time, I focused in particular on the PolAres Research Program including the Mars Analog Missions and their importance in the current international environment, in which the major space agencies as well as private companies have openly declared their intentions of putting the first human step on the Red Planet. I also highlighted the important role of the OeWF in promoting the study of science in schools, inspiring and training the future generations of scientists.
The United Nations declared 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, recognizing the importance of raising global awareness about how light-based technologies promote sustainable development and provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health, with events, exhibitions, conferences and congresses organized all around the world.
In Italy, precisely in Bondeno, the European Astrosky Network (EAN), a web community that deals with scientific communication, dissemination and teaching of astronomy, organized a series of conventions, the Light Festival, to celebrate the scientific contributions of Francesco Maria Grimaldi and Giovanni Battista Riccioli to the knowledge of light in physics and astronomy. In particular, they focused on the light of the moon, whose disc was masterfully designed by Grimaldi and whose craters and “seas”, in many cases, still today bear the names introduced by Riccioli in his encyclopedic work: Almagestum Novum published in 1651.
The first event took place on October 23-25 2015, with the first day dedicated to the history of the observation of the Moon and the Selenography, the instruments used (the firsts telescopes developed by Galileo Galilei) and the contributions of Grimaldi and Riccioli to the astronomy, presented by prominent speakers coming from Italian Universities and Organizations.
The second day was the day of the Science and Technology of the Light. Astronomers, scientists and engineers talked about the different aspects and uses of light, such as solar panels, lasers, nanostructures that try to emulate the chemical reactions of the leaves, not forgetting the light we receive from outer space, and leads us, beyond the earth’s atmosphere, to the immensity and wonders of the universe. However, the convention highlighted the “dark side” of the light, in particular the “light pollution” and its negative effects for those involved in scientific research looking at the night sky, and how to stop it.
The last day has been dedicated to an important section of the Festival of Light of Bondeno, entitled “Days of Creativity”. Start Ups, Spin Off universities and innovative companies with high scientific and technological content were directly involved in the event, with their products and ideas in the field of photonics, solar energy in its various forms, as well as in aerospace. That day gave ample space to work and public discussions, aimed at students, teachers and fans, used to communicate the state of the art in technology sectors of this millennium, through the illustration of products and very innovative ideas presented by various companies.
Author: Simone Paternostro
This article is available in: German
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