Friends Science tour of Tuscany

Tuesday 14th June 2016 @ 19:00
to Sunday 19th June 2016

Friends Chairman, Rod Rhys Jones will be leading this Members - exclusive group comprising of 30 Members and Members guests of Friends. It promises to be a hugely fascinating trip.

The tour will be taking place from the evening of Tuesday 14 June until Sunday 19 June, based around the centres of Pisa and Florence.

We are delighted to say that Professor John Burland from Imperial College London will be joining the group in Pisa to explain on site how he stabilised the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We have also arranged for a visit to the European Gravitational Observatory, EGO, hosted by its Scientific Director Professor Francisco Fedicaro who was in Washington for the amazing announcement that gravitational waves have been observed by LIGO, a similar instrument in the US. It will be fascinating to see the actual instrument and hear what plans he has for future research. Arrangements have also been made to visit the LENS – the European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy near Florence.


The programme:

Tuesday 14 June 20.00 - Pisa Welcome drinks and dinner.

4* Hotel accommodation in Pisa for three nights.

Wednesday 15 June

Morning - Piazza del Duomo guided tour and a talk by Professor John Burland about his work on stabilising the Leaning Tower.

Guided visit to explore La Torre Pendente (Leaning Tower), the Duomo, the Baptistry where Galileo was baptized and the Cathedral of Santa Maria with the pendulum lamp.

Afternoon - Guided visit to Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa bio-engineering and robotics with Prof Maria Chiara Carrozza, previously Minister of Education. There will be a general presentation for 30 mins, then the group will split into two for separate lab tours. These will cover neuro robotics; artificial hands; robot companions for citizens; creative engineering design; sensor signals and information processing; soft robotic; surgical robotics; and translational neural engineering.

Thursday 16 June

Morning - European Gravitational Observatory, EGO – Scientific Director, Prof Francesco Fidecaro has agreed to take a party around this impressive installation which is similar to LIGO where gravity waves were first identified - 30 mins by coach from Pisa.

Afternoon - Visit Larderello to see the site of the first geothermal power station in the world and its Geothermal Museum, 75 mins by coach from EGO. If this schedule does not work we may take a guided tour of 'The history of Galilean science in Pisa', a two-hour guided walking tour of historical aspects in Pisa, including places such as Galileo’s birthplace.

Evening - Pisa Chao drinks and dinner.

Friday 17 June

Morning - Florence, LENS – European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy, a research centre providing advanced laser and spectroscopic facilities. Prof Paul French, Imperial College London, is on the Scientific Advisory Board and has made arrangements with Lorenzo Tombaresi for us to visit LENS on the outskirts of Florence – 1 hour from Pisa by coach.  

Afternoon - Visit LABEC using the application of nuclear techniques to cultural heritage and environmental problems.

Transfer to 4* Hotel accommodation in Florence for two nights.

Saturday 18 June

Morning – Guided visit to the Uffizi Gallery and Museum

Afternoon – Guided visits to Museo Galileo:

and The Vasari Corridor:

The Vasarian Corridor is a long, raised passageway that connects Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria to Palazzo Pitti on the other side of the river Arno.

It passes through and along some of Florence’s most important landmarks, over the Ponte Vecchio and ends up in the Boboli Gardens. It is a very unique space, designed and built in 1564 by Giorgio Vasari to allow Cosimo de’ Medici and other Florentine elite to walk safely through the city, from the seat of power in Palazzo Vecchio to their private residence, Palazzo Pitti.

The passageway contains over 1000 paintings, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, including the largest and very important collection of self‐portraits by some of the most famous masters of painting from the 16th to the 20th century, including Filippo Lippi, Rembrandt, Velazquez, Delacroix and Ensor.

Evening – Florence farewell dinner and drinks.

Sunday 19 June - Depending on flight departure times, the group will be offered 'unofficial' options of where to visit in Florence.

The cost is £750 per person and includes 5 nights 4* accommodation (sharing a double/twin room, including breakfast), internal transport by coaches on two days, all museum entry fees, three dinners and all guides in Pisa and Florence. It also includes a charge to cover Friends administration costs plus hosting speakers in Pisa. Flights are not included.


Venue: Tuscany

Campus Map reference n/a
on the Imperial College London Map