Vol. 5 No. 2 (2021)
Feature Articles

Dante Alighieri Science Communicator

Gian Italo Bischi
University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy

Published 2021-09-09

Keywords

  • Science popularization,
  • Dante Alighieri,
  • Divine Comedy,
  • Medieval philosophy

How to Cite

Bischi, G. I. (2021). Dante Alighieri Science Communicator. Substantia, 5(2), 7 - 17. https://doi.org/10.36253/Substantia-1329

Abstract

This paper deals with the issue of communication and dissemination of scientific knowledge outside the circle of specialists. In particular, in the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, we will focus on the program for the popularization of knowledge outlined by Dante in the Convivio and De Vulgari Eloquentia, as well as several examples taken from his Divine Comedy concerning mathematical and natural sciences. Some solutions for communicating science proposed by Dante, such as the explanations of principles and scientific methods within a narrative framework (now often called the storytelling method), in addition to dialogues between characters, anticipate methods for science communication used by several authors after him. Examples are provided to show the depth of Dante’s knowledge concerning the basic concepts and methods of mathematics, physics and natural sciences (such as chemistry, meteorology, astronomy etc.). In addition, the examples demonstrate how effectively Dante used analogies and metaphors taken from sciences within his poetry.

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