Festivals attract people with curiosity…

We are pleased to announce a very different event for this year called Intimacy, The Science Of Relationships.’ Join author and neuroscientist Giovanni Frazzetto for a unique discussion exploring the science of relationships, everything from family, work to love and our engagement with technology. Giovanni is an engaging speaker who has published books on relationships and emotions. He was awarded the John Kendrew Young Scientist Award for his cross-disciplinary and science communication efforts. We had a chat to Giovanni in advance of Science Week to find out more..

Giovanni, you are currently a research fellow at Trinity College Dublin,
what brings you to Ireland and what exactly are you researching during your time here?
I am interested in understanding what intimacy is today, and how art, science, design and technology can together help us understand it.
 
What first inspired you towards a science-related career?
At about 16 I read an article about molecular biology in a scientific magazine. I was fascinated and wanted to learn everything about genes, proteins and invisible reactions. Later on, I became more interested in psychology and neuroscience. However, since I was a student I have always tried to filter what I learnt in science through the lens of art and the humanities, and vice-versa.
 
In your research, you talk about the importance of human interaction for our well-being and yet loneliness is an epidemic? Why is this the case?
I suppose there may be a kind of disenchantment with relationships nowadays. While technology has given us the opportunity to connect widely, it may also make us spend a lot of time on our own.
 
How can we use science to improve interpersonal connections?
In general, an effective scientific method to improve personal connections is observation.
In habit and routine, we may keep making mistakes in interpersonal relationships. But if we begin to pay more attention to our own and other people’s needs, we will be able to improve the knowledge of who we are and what makes us most comfortable alone or with others. We will begin to rectify inconvenient patterns, and reinforce behaviour that is more helpful to us.
 
In your book, you look through the lenses of emotion, psychology, philosophy, art and personal experience… What can we do to ensure science meets art and culture more often in order to engage more people?
Complex phenomena like love, intimacy and relationships can hardly be understood satisfactorily from a single perspective. Indeed, most questions, be they personal life questions, societal issues or global challenges, earn a multi-disciplinary approach for an elucidation. I would concentrate on reinforcing a trans-disciplinary approach in schools and universities, as early as possible in the education of students. We need to reward and encourage transdisciplinary learning so that it becomes standard.
 
Why are events like the Midlands Science Festival so important do you think?
Events like the Midlands Science Festival are important because they represent a regular appointment with a curated series of lectures, conversations etc. where scientists, educators, students, and other interested people can gather and always learn something from one another, effortlessly. Festivals attract people with curiosity. Visitors stock up with ideas and bring home a lasting inspiring energy.