Naples, star dust in underground art

La magia della stazione Toledo

A cosmic ray detector. A telescope made ​​in the National Laboratories of Gran Sasso of INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics), to describe the magic of the universe has been installed by the physicists of the Neapolitan section of the INFN together with engineers ANM (Azienda Napoletana Mobility) in the spaces of the Toledo metro station in Naples, elected unanimously by the international press as the most beautiful in Europe for contemporary art it houses. The beautiful railway station is thus enriched by another piece, this time coming from the world of science.

The initiative, sponsored by the City of Naples and the Campania Region, is the first of its kind experienced in Italy in a public place like the subway. Objective, intrigue thousands of passengers passing through every day to stop Toledo, bringing them closer to the work done by physicists and astrofici that explore the secrets of the cosmos and to the constituents of matter.

The detector is a real telescope, able to show the invisible particles – cosmic rays – that are constantly arriving on Earth, emitted by the Sun or stars or even more distant from the earliest moments of the Universe. Hundreds of these particles through the atmosphere every second and there’s also underground, tunnel, 40 meters below the station Toledo. Even at this level, the electronic eye of the detector makes them visible to the public with the lighting of photo detectors which are connected LEDs that emit flashes of light at each step.

Revealing the cosmic rays – through underground tests, on the surface of the Earth or in space – the physicists of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, derive valuable information on the evolution and composition of the universe, is also trying to solve the puzzles of dark matter and of ‘ antimatter. In this way, important applications are offered: from biomedicine, the study of volcanoes, to monitoring pollution and safety controls.


“The meaning of an initiative, in some ways unusual and surprising as this – INFN said the president, Fernando Ferroni, is to really push everyone to wonder about the meaning of scientific research, the value to society of its findings and knowledge captured. Raise questions and awareness of these issues is an integral part of the mission of a research institution like ours”.

“Once again – said Alberto Ramaglia CEO of ANM SpA – the subway becomes a vehicle of knowledge and place of ideas. We are pleased to have offered our contribution to research and in particular its dissemination through the successful collaboration with the National Institute of Nuclear Physics”.

The inauguration of the cosmic ray detector, was preceded by a presentation of the project layman who was held in the Hall of the Royal Mineralogical Museum at the Centers Museums of Natural Sciences and Physical street Mezzocannone. Present were the mayor of Naples , Luigi de Magistris, Vice-President of the Regional Council Guido Trombetta, President INFN, Ferroni and CEO of ANM spa Ramaglia.