Nat Geo Explorer Federico Fanti presenting his research project.
The National Geographic Science Festival 2019 in Rome, Italy drew in 65,000 visitors, including 29,000 students.
Nat Geo Explorer Mandy Barker with her work “SOUP: Nurdles” as she discusses plastic pollution.
The program, which took place from April 8 – 14, included a keynote by planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, panels with National Geographic Explorers, the premiere of “Science Fair,” and a presentation on Explorer Academy by Nat Geo Kids Editorial Director Becky Baines.
‘Invention’ was the theme for the festival and starting point for National Geographic. They created key art, promotional materials and a campaign strategy to drive awareness.
The Festival totalled 500 events to understand and celebrate Invention and marked three important anniversaries: 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci’s death, 50 years since the first Moon landing and 150 years since the creation of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table.
National Geographic ran more than 200 panel sessions, including Nobel Laureates Mourou and Strickland, and Italy’s five local National Geographic Explorers. There were also 300 kids’ labs for science play, experiment and practice, plus eight exhibitions including top photographer Mandy Barker’s Soup. They also hosted seven concerts, had a National Geographic Virtual Reality box and two bespoke National Geographic portals with augmented reality.
Kathryn Fink’s speech during the Science Fair premiere.
During the Festival, National Geographic took the opportunity to shoot 20 interviews with scientists, researchers and explorers. They secured 10 scientific partners including the European Space Agency, Italian Space Agency, the Nuclear Physics National Institute and Italy’s Ministry of Education. This content will support Italy’s Planet or Plastic? campaign.
The Science Festival was held in one of the biggest venues in Europe, the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. Peripheral events were organized in 46 locations across the city, including libraries, universities and theatres.
National Geographic has aligned with the iconic Italian science event for three years. Since then, visitor numbers have increased exponentially from an initial average of 17,000, to 25,000 in 2017, then 51,000 in 2018, and now an astonishing 65,000 in 2019.