The Naples COMICON, held at the Mostra D’Oltremare from the 22nd to the 25th of April is, indeed, one of the most important conventions in Italy about comics, cosplaying, gaming and other related activities, and attracts more than 100.000 visitors each year. None of those 100.000 expected to find there, alongside cosplayers, publishers and famous authors also a bunch of physicists, lots of interactive experiments, and a board game on quantum mechanics! These were, in fact, some of the key features of the “Physics4Comics” project. Its aim was to spread scientific knowledge and concepts contextualizing them into the atmosphere of a comic-convention, riding the tide of the sense of wonder arisen by such festivals in order to awaken curiosity in an audience composed mostly by teen agers and young adults. The event consisted in:
- Interactive physics experiments, mostly realized with everyday materials, talking about the physics lying behind the fantasy. Their aim was to show how many strange effects are present not only in comics or movies, but also in our world, and how physics can help to notice and explain them;
- A comic book, realized by our members in collaboration with INFN, in which a comic story serves as a narrative link for a set of six articles, written by researchers, PhD and master students in physics. Each article tries to explain how the most famous phenomenon in popular culture (e.g. Superpowers, Teleport , Lightsaber) could work using physics, under the condition of “stretching ” a little bit its law (we are always talking about flying guys). The Comic book was distributed for free in 3500 copies during the event and more copies are on the way! Click here to download it in Italian!
- Quantum Race, a board game developed by the CNR – IFN Researcher Dr Fabio Chiarello which uses quantum mechanics effects and phenomena as game rules. In this way players are more likely to accept and understand concepts far beyond the “common sense”, because they are framed into a ludic structure that forms suspension of disbelief. The game was also present in a huge version which allowed players to play at open air!
Alongside these events, the Napoli COMICON organization hosted three small talks in which our members were given the opportunity to speak about the various features of the events. In this talks took part Dr. Chiarello (the developer of quantum race) and the various authors of the articles and drawings of the comic book, too.
The event was a success thanks to efforts of more than 20 volunteers (among researchers, PhD, master and bachelor students in physics) which faced hordes of thousands curious participants. We thank all the institutions that provided us the help to run this event: