Roberto Battiston
Libro: Nature’s Alphabet



Publication date

September 2022





“There is simply no way to fool nature. The laws governing it are absolute and non-negotiable”

Roberto Battiston

The world we live in is complex, uncertain, and unpredictable. Maybe even more so than ever before. Yet we cannot back away from this complexity: how could we live in this world understanding only a fraction of it? The chaos of the pandemic, the inappropriate reactions of certain leaders, and the increasingly viral circulation of fake news clearly show that it is only by thinking in scientific terms that we can understand and explain complex phenomena. This is precisely why science — with all its limits and uncertainties, but also with its interpretive efficiency — must be fully welcomed into public discourse. Protecting democratic ideals and reinforcing faith in institutions only happens when the public is well-informed.
As Stephen Hawking wrote, “In a democracy, it is extremely important for citizens to have a baseline understanding of science, in order to be aware of the increasing ways that science and technology influence our lives.”

What are the right questions to ask when we don’t understand something? How can we pinpoint the fallacy in an argument? Which cognitive errors guide our decisionmaking?

We are faced with an enormous challenge, Roberto Battiston writes to put the lesson we learned in the pandemic to the test: we need to focus on the environment. These issues may be elusive, slow to resolve, and contradictory, but no less critical for our futures. And we have to face them now, without letting ourselves be fooled by baseless ideas. Thanks to science, we have all the tools we need to understand problems and solve them: we just have to use them in the most efficient way.

ROBERTO BATTISTON is a Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Trento, where he researches space and astroparticle physics with a focus on dark matter and antimatter, in collaboration with INFN and ASI. He was the president of the Italian Space Agency (ASI) from 2014 to 2018, representing Italy in national, European, and international space contexts. In 2017, the asteroid 21256 Robertobattiston was dedicated to him.

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