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70 Years of Research Shaping the Future: Celebrations for the anniversary of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics

On 8 August 1951, 70 years ago, the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics was born. It started from research on the atomic nucleus and cosmic particles, developed in Italy in the first half of the 20th century, and was destined to become the Italian institution of excellence for research in particle physics, a reference point in Italy and in international collaborations.

For its anniversary, the Institute has chosen to undertake a wide celebration, of institutional interest, but also a celebration in which public engagement is a key element. It tells the story of the journey that has led to historical results and discoveries for basic research, and has allowed to produce knowledge and technologies useful for society and industry.

With that objective, INFN is organising several initiatives over the course of an entire year, starting from the day of the anniversary. The reference point is the dedicated website that collects initiatives and resources developed for the celebration: a large space is dedicated to the history of INFN as a heritage to be valued, both for the role it plays in the context of the history and culture of Italy, and because of the commitment of an entire community.

To involve the staff in this narrative, everyone has been invited to share their memories in the form of texts, images, or multimedia files, collected in a Digital Album of Memories. The Physics Media Library, a digital archive of historical films on Italian physics from the second half of the 20th century, will also be available. The past, present, and future of the Institute have been recounted in the publication infn70+, distributed as an attachment to the INFN magazine Asimmetrie, which traces the history of the Institute through the voices of some of its Presidents and the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics winner and INFN researcher Giorgio Parisi.

However, the activity that will surely engage all the INFN divisions and laboratories throughout Italy is the organisation of celebratory events for the INFN community and for the public.

In September 2021, the inaugural event titled ‘70 years of knowledge of the Universe’ was held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome: a conference-show in which the story, enriched by music, readings, and videos, unfolded over seventy years of excellence in fundamental physics research, from its origins to the Nobel Prize discoveries, to the new frontiers and open questions about the universe.

Some events have been organised to coincide with other anniversaries, such as the 70th anniversary of the founding divisions, the 60th anniversary of the Legnaro National Laboratories, and others. This has offered the opportunity to recall stories, facts, and people, enhancing not only the role of INFN for Italy, but also the role that each site has in its territory, renewing connections with local communities. To date, thirteen events have been realised and the agenda for the coming months still shows more than ten events in many INFN facilities.

The anniversary is also celebrated through an intense activity on social networks: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, with posts and stories reconstructing the various stages of the history of the institution and promoting the events. Most of the events were also streamed on YouTube and collected in a dedicated playlist.

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