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MANIS:  Metaphor and Narrative in Science

Imaginative Approaches to Learning and Communication


On December 2, 2016, the Center for Metaphor and Narrative in Science. Imaginative Approaches to Learning and Communication was inaugurated, which is hosted by the Department of Education and Humanities of Unimore. Its mission is to promote multi and inter-disciplinary research relating to the role of metaphor and narrative in science communication, science education, and mathematics. At the center, we wish to explore metaphor and storytelling as fundamental devices of imaginative rationality, especially as they are used in science education.

In collaboration with Hans U. Fuchs and Elisabeth Dumont (Zürich University of Applied Sciences at Winterthur, Switzerland), the center, MANIS, was conceived and founded by Annamaria Contini (who is its current director) and Federico Corni (who chairs the Scientific Committee). It brings together international experts from a wide range of fields: physics, geology, biology, and mathematics; aesthetics, pedagogy, philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and literature.

This center will be the research arm of an initiative directed at developing modern education for schools and universities, training of the coming generations in scientific-industrial and related settings, and science communication for all sectors of society. We aim at bringing together leading experts from fields as diverse as cognitive science, philosophy, anthropology, economics, developmental psychology, science and engineering education, history of science, and linguistics and narratology.

The results of our research on imaginative rationality are seen to be directly useful for  applications  and the assessment of their efficacy. This is certainly true for science learning in schools, teacher training, and the interaction between the public and science. We believe that research on metaphor and narrative in science will add to our understanding of  science learning and communication