Book: “The universe between the fingers” for blind scholars, stories of men and women from science from 600 to today

Rome – Ten exciting stories of men and women of science who from 600 to today, without relying on sight, have contributed to the progress of mankind. A book to permanently eliminate the prejudices that still keep blind people away from subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Below is an interview with young mathematician Michelle Milley, author of the popular article “The universe is between your fingersEphesians, 2021 edition.

Distinguishing features: blind. Born in Salerno in 1991, doctorate in mathematics in Naples, researcher in Optimal combinatorial In the Department of Engineering at Sannio University, he writes models and algorithms for solving problems related to the use of mechanical, human, and temporal resources, which in real contexts require decisions among an infinite number of solutions. Distinguishing features: blind from birth. Two serious illnesses only allow him to perceive light, certain shapes and colors.

In search of innovative solutions for the disabled. His name is Michelle Miele, he has several international scientific publications to his credit, he uses his mathematical talent to find innovative solutions also to problems related to the accessibility of services for persons with disabilities; Already with his thesis, he created a simulation using an algorithm that enables in less than one second to organize a day with 2,000 facilities for disabled passengers at large international airports, demonstrating that a better service can be provided than the current one, in fact better, at lower costs, while respecting Rights of both consumers and workers.

Constant stumbling over prejudices. However, his success is constantly clashing with prejudices: “In addition to the obstacles dictated by accessibility, I often have to clash with prejudices towards the blind, who even today from an early age are discouraged from studying scientific disciplines – says Milly – I well remember a professor at High school science told me I couldn’t understand math because I couldn’t see, but after fifteen years I’m dealing with applied mathematics and I’m part of a United Nations project on the initiative of Royal Academy of the International Academy of Sciences London, which brings together chemists, mathematicians, astrophysicists, the visually impaired and blind engineers who are participating in a scientific literacy campaign for blind people around the world”

Not embedding. The misconception that those who cannot use sight cannot pursue scientific careers is more alive than ever, and it is still often fed by parents, teachers, and even by associations that must deal with the inclusion of persons with disabilities, which Instead in the creep of the way they assert that those who do not see must be satisfied, because they cannot be an engineer or a doctor, “reveals the world, hence the urgent need” to prove that it is not only possible, but that it has already happened and even dozens of times For more than 350 years. Today we even have three blind pilots, including a woman. “She was born like this.”The universe is between your fingers‘, a popular essay based on ten sensational stories by partially or totally blind scientists, six from the past (starting with the seventeenth-century English mathematician Nicholas Saunderson) and four from the present, alive and active, contacted and interviewed by Millie, as Muna Menkara, a professor Chemistry in Boston.

The media received. A rigorous search that began during the lockdown, in the Internet archives or with institutions such as the British Museum, the University of Cambridge and the US Library of Congress, which did their best to provide him with documentation and allowed him to find “much” a world wider than you can imagine, made up of dozens of men and women watching the world from the light Dim, they have contributed to our well-being, saved our lives, helped us create a more inclusive society and better connected cities – explains the author – and between them they chose stories of mathematicians, chemists, engineers as well as a doctor and an entomologist who wrote extraordinary pages of science, which will be surprising and inspiring to many.”

Millie writes about popular music and comments on English football. Inclusion is not only in science, but thanks to science. Passionate about art history and travel, and in Great Britain’s love of “the totally inclusive mindset and politics that make people like me feel at home”, Michelle Meili also writes about popular music and commentary on English football, another great passion of his, in British specialist magazines. He is also the pilot project coordinator for the Italian Touring Club.access to art”, which aims to make 2D artworks such as paintings accessible to blind people, thanks to its back-tracking algorithm, the collaboration of the SInAPSi Center (Student Active and Participatory Integration Services) from Federico II University and an English company that supplies papers made of polymers that react with ink The printer, highlighting the features of the image.

Formula with keywords. For young people with the same problem as you, but also for civil society and political decision-makers, Millie designs a global formula based on three keywords: trust, context and inclusion. “First of all, we must believe in young people with disabilities, and give them hope. If the scientists I am talking about had not been trusted by others, we would never have heard of them, nor would we enjoy their discoveries, and science and the world were progressing more slowly – he comments – we should absolutely avoid pity Self-pity and piety.”

A win-win environment is created with participation. On the contrary, many organizations and associations in Italy today tend to isolate ghettos, a phenomenon not very different from racism towards minorities and gender, as he points out, “Blind people, women or men, are not necessarily keyboard operators, since the moment they are born They have the right to follow the path suggested by their talents, and if they want to be a mathematician, a dancer or a painter, they have the right at least to be able to try that path that does not exclude others. As the story of entomologist François Huber illustrates, “the amalgamations of Thanks to the solutions developed, great benefits are achieved not only for those for whom they are designed, but for society as a whole.”

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