Uncertainty. Interpreting the Present, Foreseeing the Future

October 12, 2021 > February 27, 2022

curated by INFN Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Vincenzo Barone, Fernando Ferroni, Vincenzo Napolano, Antonella Varaschin

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Uncertainty. Interpreting the Present, Foreseeing the Future 12 October 2021__27 February 2022
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The category of uncertainty permeates modern scientific vision, in particular the vision of those sciences that we tend to describe as “exact”. This, because our knowledge of the world is the product of observations and measurements that always contain a margin of uncertainty. This margin may be evaluated and reduced but it can never be fully eliminated because it originates in the random fluctuations that inevitably accompany natural phenomena and our own observational procedures.

Since the 18th century, scientists have known how to bridle chance with logic and probability. Thanks to the development of mathematical and statistical methods incorporating the uncertainty relating to the individual parts of a whole and overcoming it in a collective description, science has acquired the ability to describe and to forecast the quantitative conduct of increasingly complex natural and human systems. In addition to which, the quantum revolution has shown how chance also lurks in the fundamental constituent parts of the physical world.

But uncertainty is not merely a scientific concept, it is also a crucial aspect of our own existence. The rapid changes taking place today and, even more disruptively, the impact of the current pandemic on our lives, have made the issue of uncertainty all-pervasive and persistent, placing it at the very heart of our efforts to interpret the contemporary world.

The exhibition entitled Uncertainty: Interpreting the Present, Foreseeing the Future sets out to illustrate some of the many facets of the notion of uncertainty and the ways in which science deals with it. And our awareness of the unavoidability of uncertainty triggers a need to rethink and enhance the ideas and tools that allow us to understand and to govern it, calling on science, art and culture at every level to assist us.

Uncertainty  | Photo M3S © 2021 Azienda Speciale Palaexpo
Uncertainty  | Photo M3S © 2021 Azienda Speciale Palaexpo

The settings for the three exhibitions have been devised by the Formafantasma Studio – Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi – two Italian artists and designers based on Milan and Rotterdam. Listed by the “New York Times” in 2011 as two of the most influential designers for the next decade, they won the Designer of the Year accolade at the Dezeen Awars in 2020.


Palazzo delle Esposizioni's exhibitions are promoted by ROMA Culture (culture.roma.it).