Author: Elena Lenci, Federico Bella, Lorenzo Botta, Stefano Cinti, Raffaele Cucciniello, Alessandro D’Urso, Samuele Staderini, Sara Tortorella, Leonardo Triggiani

This year, for the first time, the Young Chemists Group of the Italian Chemical Society (SCI) organized a national communication contest dedicated to chemists under 35. The contest, called ChiMiCapisce—a play on “Chimica”, Italian for chemistry, and “Chi Mi Capisce?”, which literally means “Who can understand me?”—was planned as the launch event of the recently established “Dissemination of Chemical Culture” Division of the Italian Chemical Society.


Presenting in Front of a Jury

After a pre-selection of candidates, twelve finalists coming from all over Italy were selected (see Fig. 1). To complete the challenge, they had to explain their research in three minutes in front of high school students, chemistry professors, and experts in science communication in Rome in June (see Fig. 2).


Finalists ChiMiCapisce Italian Chemical Society
Figure 1. The 12 finalists (from left to right): Tommaso Tabanelli, Giuseppe Alonci, Daniele Massella, Ludovica Monti, Alessia Caso, Martina Catani, Nicola Cavallini, Lucia Gigli, Luca Rivoira, Marco Mendolicchio, Emilia Paone, Matteo Bonomo.


Several different topics were covered in a way that was accessible to the general public, from the discovery of new antitumor compounds to the development of innovative materials for photovoltaic cells. The participants focused not only on science and technology research aspects but also on personal experiences and issues that students and researchers encounter during their daily lives in the laboratory.

Personal experiences were particularly appreciated by the high-school students in the audience. The audience awarded the Public’s Choice Prize to Dr. Ludovica Monti for her ability to show how many opportunities she had and how many leading scientists she met during her three-year Ph.D. project between Italy and the United States.


Organizer ChiMiCapisce Italian Chemical Society

Figure 2. The high school students jury (back row), and the Young Chemists Group of the Italian Chemical Society Representatives (front row, from left to right): Raffaele Cucciniello, Federico Bella, Samuele Staderini, Stefano Cinti, Sara Tortorella, Leonardo Triggiani, Elena Lenci.


The Winners

The technical jury, composed of seven professors from different universities and research institutes all over Italy, selected three winners. The third place was awarded to Dr. Luca Rivoira, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Torino, for a brilliant talk on the production of functionalized ceramic materials for the removal of water pollutants. The second prize was awarded to Daniele Massella, a Ph.D. student at the Politecnico di Torino for his talk on how to functionalize the surface of a polymeric material to develop drug-delivering clothes.

The overall winner was Nicola Cavallini, a Ph.D. student in chemometrics at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (see Fig. 3). We have spoken with him to learn more about his research activity and his passion for disseminating science. (see the interview “What Color is a Mirror?“)


Figure 3. Award ceremony. From left to right: Federico Bella (Young Group Italian Chemical Society – Coordinator), Angela Agostiano (Italian Chemical Society – President), Nicola Cavallini (winner), Sara Tortorella and Stefano Cinti (Young Group Italian Chemical Society Representatives).


The first edition of the Italian ChiMiCapisce contest was a great success. For information on participating in next year’s ChiMiCapisce edition and the other opportunities and events organized by the Young Chemists Group of the Italian Chemical Society, please see the group’s website and the Facebook page.




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