After a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, this year the “ChiMiCapisce?” Prize is finally back. Now in its third edition, the “ChiMiCapisce?” Prize is a communication contest dedicated to young Italian chemists, organized by the Interdivisional Group for the Dissemination of Chemical Culture of the Italian Chemical Society (SCI), in collaboration with the Young Chemists Group of the SCI.
The prize has been launched to reward outstanding Italian researchers under 35, working in the field of chemical sciences, with excellent competence in the dissemination of their research topics to a non-specialized audience. Indeed, the name “ChiMiCapisce?” recalls on the one hand the Italian word “chimica”, i.e., chemistry, and on the other hand the Italian question “Chi mi capisce?”, which literally means “Who can understand me?”.
A first pre-selection phase was carried out by evaluating a short self-produced video, where candidates introduced themselves and explained the reasons that led them to participate in the prize call. After that, twelve finalists coming from all over Italy were selected to participate in the final, which was held in Rome, Italy, on May 24, 2022. Each finalist had only three minutes at their disposal for explaining their research in front of a varied audience, consisting of high school students, chemistry professors, and experts in science communication. Several different topics in the field of chemical sciences were covered by the twelve finalists, disseminated in a way that was easily accessible to the general public: from bioelectronics to photosensitizers, from biosensors to molecular machines, from green chemistry to nanomaterials, and so on.
Figure 1. The twelve finalists of the “ChiMiCapisce?” Prize 2022, together with the boards of the Interdivisional Group for the Dissemination of Chemical Culture and the Young Chemists Group of the Italian Chemical Society (SCI).
The communication skills of the twelve finalists were evaluated by two juries: a technical jury and a popular jury. The technical jury was composed of four members: Luigi Campanella, Full Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Cultural Heritage at Sapienza University of Rome and President of MUSIS (Multipolar Museum of Science and Scientific Information) and of the Italian Network of School Museums, Donato Monti, Director of the Chemistry Museum “Primo Levi” of Sapienza University of Rome, Marta Da Pian, Coordinator of the Young Chemists Group of the Italian Chemical Society, and Gianluigi Albano, Board Member of the Interdivisional Group for the Dissemination of Chemical Culture of the Italian Chemical Society. The popular jury was composed of a non-specialized public of ca. 100 high-school students.
The first-place winner of the “ChiMiCapisce?” Prize 2022, assigned by the technical jury, was Massimo Dell’Edera, Post-Doc at the Institute for Physico-Chemical Processes of the Italian National Research Council (IPCF-CNR) of Bari. His story on the use of oxide nanoparticles for photocatalysis and energy conversion was striking for its immediacy, simplicity, and originality.
The public choice prize, selected by the popular jury, was assigned to Riccardo De Marco, Ph.D. student at the Department of Chemical Sciences of the University of Padua, for the captivating communication style in highlighting his research on the recovery of textile fibers from clothing destined for landfill.
Figure 2. The winners of the “ChiMiCapisce?” Prize 2022.; left: Massimo Dell’Edera, first-place winner; right: Riccardo De Marco, winner of the public choice prize.
The 2022 edition of the “ChiMiCapisce?” Prize was an unbelievable success, not only for the huge number of applications received, but also in terms of general interest and appreciation by the Italian chemical community. However, this is only the first of many events scheduled by the new Board of the Interdivisional Group for the Dissemination of the Chemical Culture of the Italian Chemical Society, who will be in office for the three-year period 2022–2024. To stay updated on upcoming events of our group, please see our social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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