THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE FROM ATOMS TO GALAXIES

VATICAN CITY, 2 FEB 2012 (VIS) - "An exhibition which recounts the history of the universe, from the particles which make up the atoms in our bodies to distant galaxies". With these words, pronounced during a press conference held this morning in the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Jose Gabriel Funes S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory, defined the exhibition "Stories from another world. The universe inside and outside us". The event will run from 10 March to 1 July at the headquarters of the "Palazzo Blu" Foundation in Pisa, Italy.

  Presenting today's conference alongside Fr. Funes were Cosimo Bracci Torsi, president of the "Palazzo Blu" Foundation, and Antonio Masiero, vice president of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN).

  Fr. Funes noted how Pisa is important in the history of astronomy, being the birthplace of Galileo Galilei and the city in which Cardinal Pietro Maffi practised his pastoral ministry. In 1904 Cardinal Maffi was appointed by Pius X as president of the Vatican Observatory. The exhibition is aimed particularly at young people and great care has been taken "to make complex and difficult knowledge accessible, while at the same time avoiding the risk of superficiality". To this end the work of the curators of the exhibition, Alessandro Omizzolo and Franco Cervelli, has been fundamental, Fr. Funes said.

  For his part, Cosimo Bracci Torsi highlighted the fact that the event "is the outcome of fruitful collaboration between lay scientists and religious scientists, all members of scientific institutions of great prestige but with very different origins": the INFN, the Vatican Observatory and the Department of Physics at the University of Pisa. He explained how "the exhibition includes spectacular images, instruments and exhibits such as Lunar and Martian minerals, leading visitors on a fascinating journey which begins in the solar system and our material nature, reaching the stars of this and other galaxies, up to the spatial and temporal confines of the universe and of our current knowledge".

  Finally Antonio Masiero explained that the INFN, of which he is vice president, will bring to the exhibition its vast experience of research on the origins and structure of the universe.
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