Tuesday afternoon, after school, the students eat a quick sandwich and come to the Science and Technology Museum Leonardo da Vinci. The school and the museum are nearby and therefore the museum staff of the Hypatia project invited the panel of teenagers to participate in an activity before returning home to study. In this period the Museum has organized a training course for researchers on how to communicate their research and their work to non expert citizens.
In this context we organized the speed date activity: 25 mathematicians, biologists, engineers, technologists, researchers in various fields, from different universities and research centers have met teenagers and museum volunteers. Short meetings of three minutes. Every teenager was able to converse with 7 researchers. Then we collected some comments and advice for researchers. Some teenagers have appreciated the simplicity of the language used, others felt patronized and have not appreciated the simplifications and easy metaphors.
Some claimed they didn’t understand, but the majority of participants said they were interested and curious. Everyone wanted more time. Everyone enjoyed the activity as a whole.
After four weeks, we asked the teenagers to comment with short phrases and emoticons the photos taken during the speed date. These are their comments.