“Indignation will be the foundation stone of our new Science Centre”, article by Vittorio Silvestrini

The fire of the science centre of Città della Scienza represents a wound to be healed as soon as possible. We don’t know, at the present, what will be the results of the inquiries that we are waiting for with trepidation. However, whoever committed this crime has not dealed with a feeling of indignation and horror shared by citizens, institutions and the world of science in Naples, in Italy and all over the world.

The strong point of Città della Scienza, that represents its exemplarity at the international level, has always been the one of connecting in a unique chain the values of education, scientific dissemination, advanced training and business innovation. In a word, the connection between science and society, the awareness that only by increasing the scientific and technological skills among people it’s possible to overcome the decline of our country, repositioning Italy among the world economic powers able to compete on the most innovative areas.

No wonder if we opened Città della Scienza, since 1992, in the area of Bagnoli.

We aimed at showing, not just to the employees, but to all, the awareness that this area, symbol of the industrial society, could reborn to a new life, putting together innovative, clean and sustainable industry with a beautiful place full of history. We aimed at showing a possible trace to follow toward ecological reconversion of economy and civilization. When, more than 20 years ago, we launched these keywords, not everyone understood. Today, this is a world issue, even taking into account the terrible crisis that arises hard questions on the possible exit strategies.

The fire of Città della Scienza is therefore a tragedy.

Not just in individual terms, for us who work here since twenty years, investing in it an important part of our lives. Not just for the visitors that, literally, have cried watching the violence of the fire for the loss of a familiar and beloved place (neither us imagined how beloved it was!). Not just because, in Naples as in Iraq, culture survived even in times of war.

It’s also a common tragedy because it seems to launch to everyone, in a very dramatic way, the message (that too many in the last decades have tried to make common sense) that culture, knowledge, research are useless.

Our answer, as usual, is proactive. The activities of Città della Scienza have not been stopped not even for an hour. Ever since the morning of the day after, the start ups of the incubator were regularly at work. The Conference Center was up and running. We continued to plan our main events, from the technological showroom for the smart education that will be held in October up to the exchange forum between Italy and China that we organize since 2006. And we are already planning, thanks to the support of many people, the reopening of a small part of workshops and exhibitions. We responded in this way to confusion and pain, and we think that this is the right way, upon which we ask to everyone support and aid during the next months, when the echo of the flames will be decreased.

The word “sacrifice” means literally “to make sacred”. The fire of Città della Scienza, its sacrifice, has moved the consciences, has made one think and has made this place, in a certain sense, sacred. The science center will be therefore rebuilt there, as we are already working to do, together with the institutions, as soon as possible, as a sign of continuity and warning against ignorance and violence. All the people who are expressing in these days their solidarity and affection can bet on it.

Vittorio Silvestrini
President of Città della Scienza

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