Laser between science and myth


‘Technological development is the new myth of the promised land which sees America as its prototype and symbol. Technology is left to deal with the hopes of realising a civilisation able to resolve the problems of mankind. Often though, hopes and expectations are disproportionate compared to the real possibilities of technology. The laser, which is one of the most important realisations of the last twenty years, suffers from a near-mythical popular image, which needs to be removed in order to let the truth emerge. The truth is expressed in the exhibition firstly through a rigorous, although elementary, scientific treatment of the subject (including the history, the explanation of phenomena, the physical laws etc.) and, secondly, through selected examples of the possible applications (in engineering, in medicine, in meteorology, in telecommunications and in atmospheric control). The layout of the exhibition takes this itinerary into account. The entrance to the exhibition is through a “rainbow” of lights, symbolising the image with which common man approaches the subject. We are then led through the scientific corridor by a series of simple but provocative questions (what is light?, how does a laser work?), reaching then the historical zone and the explanation zone. The second part of the exhibition is about applications: some ‘mysterious’ objects are shown and explained. Their spectacularity is combined with the concrete useful application of the underlying physical principle. Immersion in so much concreteness helps strip away the illusions of the myth and allows a better knowledge of the real possibilities of this instrument.’


25 Agosto 1984 - 09 Gennaio 1984


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions