This event was hosted by ex-OPG Occupato – Je So Pazzo, an old psychiatric hospital located in the old town of Naples which was closed and abandoned in 2008. In 2015 it was occupied by a group of students who turned it in a cultural and social center, later recognized by the City of Naples as a socially useful self-organized community.
Among the social activities held in ex-OPG, the afterschool for kids is probably one of the most appreciated thank to its strong social impact on daily life. This year the afterschool started on October 22nd with a big party and PONYS has been part of it! With Halloween on its way and inspired by the context, we dressed like crazy scary scientists and made physics experiments for kids with light, soap bubbles and flames. Children were involved in the realization of a chain reaction, a typical tinkering activity in which participants are asked to build a sequence of cause-effect events linked to each other. In the end this results in a continuous chain reaction that goes from start to finish seamlessly, each section having been built by a different participant.
We were very happy to run an event in such a special place, with such special people. Doubtless, the best part of this activity was the emotional reaction we received by the neighborhood kids. Born into one of the toughest and poorest districts of Naples, the ex-OPG supports and helps local families with recreational, cultural and social activities. Families who would not have other opportunities, otherwise. These children made us feel important. In their smiles we read gratitude, for having spent one day with them, for having played science with them. Activities such this are not only dissemination ones, but also of high social impact. The possibility that children choose a career in science very often depends on the social background in which they grow. Also it depends as if they enter or not in contact with a scientist during their growth. In a world where people are talking about diversity, the first to which we must pay attention are the socio-economic differences. We hope we have given these children an opportunity, that perhaps will not change their lives, but has opened their eyes for an afternoon.