The INFN experience in supporting and improving HEP Outreach
November 28, 2022
INFN is recognized as an Italian excellence in science. Born in 1951, over time it created a world-wide network of activities spanning from high-energy physics at the most powerful accelerators, to the search for Dark Matter and rare events in deep underground laboratories, flanking the operations of four national laboratories in Italy. However, until a couple of decades ago, its role was not adequately appreciated by the Italian public at large. Since the beginning of the millennium INFN unfurled a strategy aimed not only to promote its image, but also to improve the transfer of knowledge acquired in its operation to different actors. In this paper we will deal with the improvement of outreach, presenting the strategies pursed, and some of the paths followed to this aim. Due to space limitations only a schematic view of a twenty-something years of work will be presented. In the conclusion we will report the results of an external evaluation of our efforts. In this paper we will not discuss the program of refresher courses for teachers, despite their relevance in our strategy to improve INFN participation in lifelong learning activities for the Italian society. Likewise, despite its centrality to improve INFN capability in the realm of outreach, we will not present the training program aimed to our personnel involved in science communication, and we will not touch the complex activity recently started to assess the impact of INFN communication efforts. Finally, we do not discuss the initiatives and the strategies pursued in 2020-2022 due to the COVID19 pandemia, despite the importance of outreach actions taken by the Institute.
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