Communicating science: the contribution of museums and virtual reality


There are those who claim that science is for the few and that to truly understand it with all its elements, reactions and formulae, one must have completed a long course of studies and hold specialised qualifications. Yet, the demand for information, knowledge and insight from the non-expert public is constantly growing and scientists and institutions are not always able to communicate it in the right way. One only has to think of citizen science, which is part of the broader movement of open science: the science accessible to all, and identified as early as in the 17th century when the guiding principle of natural philosophers became that of communicating to all

Communicating the principles of science to all, in the right way, therefore remains the focal point of passing on the principles of science to future generations, but doing so in a correct and engaging way is the decisive step in making science accessible. Getting people to play with and touch science is the easiest way to bring it closer to young audiences. 

This is the idea behind the MU-CH project in Settimo Torinese, the first interactive museum dedicated entirely to chemistry, whose motto is Forbidden not to touch. The museum is a place where science is for everyone, where visitors can learn the basic principles of reactions, do chemical experiments and get involved. The museum layout has 28 interactive exhibits dedicated to chemistry and analogue and digital experiments, such as interactive totems and tables with quizzes and information. Housed in the premises of the former Siva paint factory, the museum is also of particular historical significance due to the figure of Primo Levi who ran the workshop. 

The kind of science that unveils and never ceases to amaze is indeed the science that pleases and fascinates us.

Virtual reality is today an excellent ally not only for scientific research, but also for immersive communication accessible to all. Space is always a subject that arouses amazement and interest, as do space ventures. One of the most famous episodes in contemporary history, the Apollo 11 space mission, has an extensive literature in the form of books, videos and audio recordings. 

Finding oneself in the shoes of the pilot of the LEM, the command module, during the moon landing is one of the sensations we have surely all once in our lives dreamt of experiencing. Now we can do so through the Virtual Reality project Moon Landing VR 360, in video and game/simulation mode. With the former, through a visor, the user can witness the moon landing first-hand, with a 360° view of the cockpit and the lunar soil; with the latter, through a visor and controls, the user relives the exciting challenge of having to dose the fuel and adjust speed to land softly on the lunar soil. 

Communicating science is therefore not just about disseminating correct information, but emotion, involvement and fun.

ETT S.p.A. Digital Strategy & Design
ETT uses design, storytelling and cutting-edge technology to create unique experiences and to establish a connection between places and people using immersive experiences. The company designs IT systems and creates and manages vast quantities of data from complex sources.
ETT S.p.A. Digital Strategy & Design
Find out how ETT has revolutionised the experience of visiting museums and cultural attractions using innovative digital strategies.

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