SEA HORIZON, the exhibition on Responsible Research and Innovation on Marine Sciences

From 30 October, at Città della Scienza

Sea Horizon is the result of PIER, a European project aimed at explaining how research and innovation can be responsible towards societies by taking into account the needs of people and the environment, as well as by involving citizens in all stages of research. In particular, we have chosen to show in our the exhibition the applied research on marine sciences through spectacular exhibits and multimedia products. The involvement of the public and experts was very intense since the early stages of the project, with workshops and focus groups, and helped us to outline the topics then divided in the exhibition into 6 thematic islands, where visitors can learn about responsible research and the most innovative research projects. Visitors’ experience is enhanced by a multimedia application for mobile devices, downloadable at the entrance of the exhibition, that lead them along the way to encourage their engagement in these topics. At the end of the visit, they can create their own digital diary to be shared on social networks. In this way, visitors can express their opinion on the research of tomorrow!

SEA HORIZON / THE EXHIBITION

1. Many seas or one single Ocean? A digital globe shows interesting atmospheric and biologic phenomena of the sea. Visitors can look at how climate change acts on the movement of currents, as well as the rise in the average temperature of oceans will plague marine life. The globe can also show storms on our planet in real time. Visitors can discover the fish of tomorrow, which will have a less devastating impact on the environment through small green algae.

2. The Sea: friend or enemy? Going into the second island, visitors meet some amazing underwater robots that imitate the behavior of social insects such as ants, able to communicate with each other and to develop complex information from the analysis of small details. Visitors can also see the technologies used by geophysicists to study the seabed and predict the effects of submarine volcanism.

3. A Sea of Energies? Visitors will know the world of renewable energies, and learn how old offshore platforms can become renewed and efficient energy farms, able to convert the motion of waves and winds in renewable energy. Visitors will discover how small unicellular algae, diatoms, can become an unexpected source of energy, in the form of clean fuels and with a much higher efficiency than any land plant.

4. The abyss: sterile environment or full of life? The frail balance of marine ecosystems are studied by special robots that imitate the shape and behavior of fishes, so to get close to marine life without disturbing their activities. Visitors will observe tiny organisms under the microscope and discover how citizens can become an integral part of scientific research; it’s the so-called citizen science, where everyone can contribute to the study of a global phenomenon with their own observations. New products from the sea: are they safe?

5.New materials and products of tomorrow will be obtained from the recycling of marine resources. Shells of algae, seaweeds, mollusks and crustaceans we eat become a multi-purpose, biodegradable material with a thousand of properties: it’s the chitosan, a polysaccharide used in packaging and production of cosmetics. A spectacular exhibit will produce beads of alginate from brown little algae and visitors can discover their many uses in the food industry.

6. The marine traffic: safer or more chaotic? The last island focuses on new technologies in the field of maritime transport, to make journeys of people and goods by sea faster, safer and with less environmental impact. Visitors will discover the latest results from scientific research to link each other the devices sent into the abysses, thanks to the Internet of the Sea.

Finally, before leaving the exhibition, visitors can make available their log book, with observations and experiences gathered during the visit, and then contribute with their feedback to scientific research, pointing out the lines of action they prefer and leaving comments or recommendations to European policy makers!

The PIER project is funded by European Union, 7th Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration (under grant agreement no. 632084)

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