ICTP celebrated the United Nations' International Day for Women and Girls in Science on February 11 with many activities, including a special online event targeted to school students.
The event, titled "Scienziate per il cambiamento climatico" (women scientists for climate change), featured two high-level scientists who discussed their research on climate change and their work as women in climate science. Erika Coppola, a climate scientist in ICTP's Earth System Physics section and one of the authors of the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Anna Pirani of University Paris-Saclay, now a visitor at ICTP and head of the Technical Support Unit of IPCC's Working Group I, welcomed around 20 classes of students connecting from schools in Trieste and the surrounding region.
The event focussed on the science and the latest evidence on climate change, while at the same time celebrating women in science, by providing an example to young students of two women scientists who managed to obtain high level positions in a field usually dominated by men.
Coppola and Pirani started by outlining the path that led them to become scientists, describing every step in their academic and professional careers, the choices they made along the way, and what sparkled their curiosity and their passion for physics and climate science.
They encouraged the students to interact and participate in the event, for example by testing their knowledge and interest on women in science and surprising them with interesting curiosities, such as the fact that the first scientific publication ever made on climate science was an article on the effect of heating from solar light on different gasses written by a woman, Eunice Newton Foote, in 1856.
The two scientists then described their work for the IPCC and in particular their involvement in the production of the 6th assessment report, explaining how such a big and complex scientific enterprise works, with contributions of many scientists coming from different countries and scientific backgrounds.
Finally, they presented the main results of the IPCC report, discussing the consequences of climate change for humanity and for the environment, and sharing the message that "recent climate changes are widespread, rapid, increasing and unprecedented in thousands of years," and that according to scientific evidence,"climate change is already affecting every region of the Earth, in multiple ways, and the changes we experience will increase with further warming."
The video recording of the event (in Italian) is now available on ICTP's YouTube channel, at this link.