The meeting with Professor Luca Beverina, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Milan-Bicocca and coordinator of the eni Joint lab for Musa Spoke 1 took place on 20 March at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, as part of the ‘Ask Me Anything’ format proposed by On Air – Voce della Scienza, a project that aims to explore the themes of the plays with an engaging and innovative approach.

Each evening, aimed at all ages, strives to bring a greater understanding of scientific topics, using new and informal communication methods, together with teachers, scientists and popularisers. The bar of the small theatre has thus become the stage for these pre-show encounters, where the audience is the protagonist with its own questions. using a paper aeroplane to jot down curiosities to throw on stage, creating an informal exchange between the speaker and the audience. A special prize is also added to the format: the best question receives free admission to the next show.

During the 20 March event entitled ‘Alchemy and Circular Economy: turning waste into new material’, Beverina addressed the topic of the circular economy, examining current innovations in chemistry and technology and assessing the distance to this model. Taking a cue from the ancient alchemical practice that sought to transform raw materials into precious metals, it was highlighted how this concept is revived today from a modern perspective, seeking new approaches to reduce the environmental impact of industrial production, especially in an era marked by the climate emergency.

Together with the audience, the role of chemistry in designing more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials was investigated. The interaction was intense, with an exchange of ideas lasting over 45 minutes, offering food for thought on the crucial importance of chemistry and materials technology in the transition towards a circular economy. The response to the event was extremely positive, both from the audience and the organisers.

The initiative represented a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of the environmental and social challenges related to industrial production, demonstrating how science can be a valuable tool to address contemporary challenges. At a time when sustainability has become an inescapable priority, events like this mark an important step towards building a more equitable and environmentally friendly future. Collaboration between science and civil society is proving to be crucial in tackling the global challenges that lie ahead.

For more information and to find out about upcoming events, please go to this link.