The day when a Nobel Prize winner taught 8th graders

Andrea Toschi recounts the lecture given to Italian middle school students by Rita Levi Montalcini shortly after been awarded the Nobel Prize

In February 1987 I asked Dr. Rita Levi Montalcini – a collegue and friend of my parents – if she’d like to speak to the students of Scuola Media Statale “Pio XII” located at the periphery of Rome in the Casal Bruciato working-class neighborhood where I was a teacher of Musical Education. Rita accepted with her habitual enthusiasm, so for two hours more than one hundred 8th grade students, all crammed in the gym together with their teachers and the principal Ada Lucarini, listened to an engaging lecture on the nervous system. In those days many schools were wired with loudspeakers in every classroom, so also those students who hadn’t been able to fit into the gym had a chance to listen, which the did with uninterrupted attention. Even now I thank Rita for making accessible such a precious teaching to so many young people – by all means no biology experts –  with the clarity that is the signature of true scientists.

Andrea Toschi

The Italian TV news broadcast about the event:

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