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Communicating Science with Scientific Instruments

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One-day meeting

The exhibition "à luz de Einstein 1905-2005" [In the Light of Einstein 1905-2005] invites visitors to make a journey through the world of physics, from the Greeks to Einstein and present day by means of different exhibition approaches and media, ranging from historical displays associated with museums of the history of science to interactive and exploratory exhibits associated with science centres.

To mark its closing date, this one-day meeting invites speakers to share personal recollections and reflections on their experiences in museums of the history of science and discuss the past, present and future role of collections of physical instruments. This will be the starting point for a debate in which topics such as the role of collections and museums in the public engagement with physics and science in general, the challenges associated with exhibiting and interpreting historical collections to broad audiences, the material culture of science, and the significance of scientific heritage for contemporary society, among others, will be addressed.


  • 10:00 - Opening address
    João Caraça
    Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
  • 10:10-12:40 - Morning Session
    Chair: Carlos Matos Ferreira
  • 10:10 - Virtual visit of the Medici's and the Augsburg-Lorraine's collections at the Institute and Museum of the History of Science of Florence
    Giorgio Strano
    Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence
  • 10:40 - Collecting and exhibiting scientific instruments today. The case of the Museum of the History of Physics in Padua
    Sofia Talas
    Museo di Storia della Fisica, University of Padua
  • 11:10 - Coffee Break
  • 11:40 - The educational role of Science Museums: reinventing ways for public engagement and affective learning
    Helena Caldeira
    Museu de Física, Universidade de Coimbra
  • 12:10 - Museums for diversity in scientific culture: Einstein and other examples
    Jim Bennett
    Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford
  • 14:30-17:00 - Afternoon Session
    Chair: João Caraça
  • 14:30 - Arts et Métiers : Rebirth of a collection
    Dominique Ferriot
    Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris
  • 15:00 - Towards a total museology
    Jorge Wagensberg
    Museu de la Ciència Cosmocaixa, Barcelona
  • 15:30 - What stories do instruments tell? The challenges of exhibiting historic instruments to communicate science
    Open debate initiated by:
    Dennis Weaire, Dublin
    Alessandro Pascolini, Padua
    Ana Eiró, Lisbon
  • 17:00 - Coffee break
  • 17:30 - Visit to the exhibition "à luz de Einstein 1905-2005"
  • 21:30 - Visit to the Astronomical Observatory of Lisbon
    Tour of the collection guided by Pedro Raposo (OAL, CHCUL)

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Sala 2
Av. Berna, 45 A
1067-001 Lisboa

> Catalogue

> Exhibition from 3rd October 2005 to 15th January 2006

  Última actualização 22-02-06