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  16-05-2002: INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ON PHYSICS AND INDUSTRY 
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The Luminex cloth is made of optical and scintillating fibres
The Luminex cloth is made of optical and scintillating fibres



Detail of Erice
Detail of Erice


State of the art and trends for the future

A fecund interaction between industry and fundamental research is an extremely important part of the progress of a modern nation. In particular, many of industry’s most useful instruments come from the adaptation of results obtained in physics research. The most recent emblematic example of this phenomenon is the case of the Internet, which owes its extraordinary diffusion to the World Wide Web. This is one of the ‘inventions’ of Cern in Geneva, the European research centre that includes the community of physicists working in the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (Infn). The present workshop is the second staged by the Ettore Majorana Centre in Erice within the International School on Physics and Industry, directed by professor Enzo Iarocci, President of Infn. The meeting’s aim is to provide the possibility of discussion on new perspectives opening onto the connection between physics and industry and to offer physicist, engineers, directors of scientific institutions, entrepreneurs, young people and representatives of the political and administration world an opportunity to meet. In the course of the workshop different aspects will be analysed of the transfer to other fields of knowledge obtained thanks to basic research, both from a national point of view and in collaborations with other countries. All three days will be fully transmitted on line using Webcast on the page: www.infn.it/presidenza/documenti/erice02.html. In order to connect to this page the Real Player program is necessary, which can be downloaded for free from the website www.real.com. During the Erice workshop the most recent examples of the knowledge transfer, particularly in the fields of new telematic networks, medicine and the safeguard of artistic and environmental treasures, will be presented. Telematic networks are a essencial instrument for researchers and technicians, who have a great need of a quick and safe way to exchange data and information. On the other hand, the case of internet and the web show that networks and systems first developed for research may turn out to be extremely useful in totally different areas and even in everyday life. Researchers from all over the world are now developing equipment and systems that will permit a much wider and versatile use of the web than is now available. Calculators individually able to perform complicated programs might even become completely useless. A single terminal could be sufficient to connect to resources shared by all the Network users. Infn cooperates at the European projects whose aim is to design advanced telematic networks connected to the whole world. In Italy, the Institute has been charged by the Ministry for Instruction, University and Research, to construct the Garr-B telematic network. This has recently been enlarged to include all Italian universities and research institutions, as well as industries engaged in research programs in collaboration with universities. Furthermore, Infn was the first European institute to define its own project for the development of the so-called grid, the sophisticated interface that will permit access to complicated programs available through the Network. A fruitful and ancient connection exists between physics and medicine. Various Infn groups have devoted themselves to the development of those aspects of nuclear and subnuclear physics that are useful to improve tumour diagnosis and treatment. They work with researchers from many universities and with groups of doctors. The three most recent and important programs are called Calma, Taormina and Catana. Calma is a sophisticated neural networks software, first designed to help radiologists diagnose certain types of breast tumour. The Taormina project, on the other hand, concerns the application of the Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (Bnct), a radiation therapy in which the patient is not exposed to radiation from the outside. The radiation is induced, instead, within the very tumoral cells through the irradiation with a neutron beam. Finally, the Catana project was devised for the treatment of tumours by irradiation with a proton beam, a technique that is particularly useful in the case of tumours localised near vital organs. At the beginning of 2002, the first operation on patients affected by choroid melanoma, a tumour of the eye that is frequent and among the most malignant, was carried out. With the beginning of the operational phase of Catana, Italy becomes one of the few countries in the world able to use hadron therapy in tumour treatment. Appropriate particle beams may also be used to analyse the composition of artistic objects in a non destructive way, or detect the presence of explosive substances. For this reason, many instruments originally developed for basic physics experiments have been adapted to make them useful in the safeguard of artistic treasures. Furthermore, a few prototypes have been built of instruments able to localise mines, even those that contain no metal and thus escape more traditional detection methods.


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