In Syracuse, in the old and restored Pupillo Palace, right in Archimedes Square (in the city centre) you can visit the ultra modern Arkimedeion, Scientific and Technologic Museum named after the great Greek mathematician and physician who lived in Syracuse from 287 to 212 b.C., one of the best classic ancestry scientists. The main subjects studied by Archimedes and the discoveries he made, according to some legends – like the famous burning glasses able to burn the roman ships that surrounded Syracuse – are depicted by twenty four interactive “mechanisms”, studied to involve visitors of every age. Every exhibit is combined with multimedia supports that help understanding the great mathematical (surfaces and volumes measurement, squaring of the circle, calculation of bodies barycentre) and physical (lever principle, bodies flotation) discoveries.
The explanations are often committed to stimulating simulations and associated with historical notes, data, anecdotes and bibliography, to guide the visitor through the historical period Archimedes lived in and into the heart of his great discoveries. The subjects are banded together following three main paths: war and peace machines, mathematics and geometry, static and hydrostatic physics. And there is also a planetarium.
Widening the horizon, the Arkimedeion activated a suggestive Science Gymnasium which casts 3D scientific short films.
A special care is dedicated to children due to interactive didactical laboratories, to explore the mathematics, physics and scientific principles through their own activities: you can describe what you observe, you can discover science through games and experiments, through the comprehension of places and times Archimedes lived in. Among the offers, a calligraphy laboratory to try the “ductus” with ink and inkpot, laboratories to explore the acoustic propagation phenomena, creative laboratories to learn about geometry concepts or legends, between imagination and reality.
Marco Bianucci, chief researcher in La Spezia in the Istituto Scienze Marine, ISMAR – CNR, has taken care of the realization of the Archimedes museum in Syracuse since the beginning. «The idea was that the visitor should be accompanied and involved through a combination of contents, through an educational, didactical and playful programmed itinerary. It is not a museum where you can go as in a playground, but it is more like a museum where the interactivity is studied to convey some contents».
Serious, involving and studied to astonish, the Arkimedeion is an Italian forefront museum, a landmark that deserves attention in the charming Syracuse, city for every season.
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