Presented during the press conference held at Sapienza University in Rome on October 20, 2016, I Ragazzi di Pasteur is a novel project designed to help young people learn and recognize true science through a proactive and creative approach. The project is for middle-school and high-school kids and features a series of books and a nationwide competition titled “Bufale in rete: come riconoscerle!”. The winners will be announced on the websites of the promoters (www.ibsafoundation.org and www.istitutopasteur.it) within February 28, 2017.
Promoted by the IBSA Foundation for scientific research and the Pasteur Institute Italy, the project received commendations from Italy’s Minister for Education, Universities and Research Stefania Giannini and Italy’s Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin. The nationwide competition titled: “Bufale in rete: come riconoscerle!”
The competition is for middle-school and high-school students who will participate in two separate sections, and entails submission by students of comic panels on the theme of fake information, especially fake science, circulated on the internet and how to recognise it. The goal is educating young people to critically assess information they come across on the internet and helping them distinguish sites providing true science information from those peddling fake science. Students can enter the competition either as a team or individually and can submit up to six black-and-white or colour comic panels.
Competition: the judging panel and prizes
The judging panel will be composed of representatives from the IBSA Foundation for scientific research, the Istituto Pasteur Italia, the Scuola Romana dei fumetti and Carocci editors.
The schools submitting the best comics will win a cash prize for purchases of science materials and for setting up or boosting their science lab – as well as optical (light) microscopes for their lab. The schools achieving one of the first three places in each section of the competition will also win a special one-day class featuring a session with a Pasteur Institute scientist opening the doors to his/her lab for students to perform experiments and participate in other hands-on activities, and a session with a Rome School of Comics professor teaching kids how to create comics, from writing the storyline to drawing panels.
I Ragazzi di Pasteur: the book series
I Ragazzi di Pasteur is also the title of a series of books (published by the Italian editors Carocci) that will be distributed for free in most Italian middle and high schools. Designed to make young people learn science in a playful way, each book features scientific content authored by an expert in the given science field followed by comics on the same theme in the second part of the book. The comics were drawn by people from the Scuola Romana dei fumetti based on a story written by students. In the first book, titled Stem cell stories, scientific content was written by Antonio Musarò, Professor of Histology and Embryology at Rome Sapienza University, while the story for the comics was written by students from Poggiardo Middle School, Lecce. In the second book, titled Cops and robbers. Immunology and immunisation, the scientific part was authored by Professor Alberto Mantovani and Professor Angela Santoni, while the story for the comics was written by students from a comprehensive school of Rome.