Biennale collettivo fosbury home

The Politecnico at the Biennale: 5 Alumni design the 2023 Italian Pavilion 

“The choice of a young collective made up entirely of men and women in their thirties aptly responds to the theme of the 18th edition of the Biennale. This year’s Biennale Architettura, entitled “The Laboratory of the Future”, has been called upon to investigate sustainable solutions to future ways of living”. 

With these words, the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, announced the appointment of the Fosbury Architecture collective to lead the curation of the next Italian Pavilion for the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale, which will take place from 20 May to 26 November 2023.

The collective was founded in 2013 and is made up of an all-Politecnico roster. Alumni and architects Giacomo Ardesio, Alessandro Bonizzoni, Nicola Campri, Veronica Caprino and Claudia Mainardiare already working on the theme and title of this 18th edition of the Biennale Architettura: “The Laboratory of the Future”. 

Biennale collettivo fosbury
Fosbury Architecture. Foto © Gianluca di Ioia, La Triennale

Among the various criteria that prompted the Directorate-General of Contemporary Creativity to choose them are "experience gained in the national and international fields, scientific, curatorial and research activities, ensuring a balanced gender distribution". The Fosbury Architecture collective has already participated in numerous design and curatorial experiences in important museum and private spaces. 

"With immense honour and gratitude, we welcome the appointment as curators of the 2023 Italian Pavilion at the 18th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. We would like to thank the Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, and the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity for the trust placed in us and all the professionals who have supported this project. We will work with the utmost commitment, aware of the value that this appointment represents, especially for the younger generations,”

comment the curators, who will have to set up the 1,200 and 900 square metres of outdoor space that make up the Italian Pavilion and will be responsible for marketing the Made in Italy brand and Italian research to architecture experts and enthusiasts from all over the world.  

musa home

Launch of Musa: the ecosystem of technology and sustainable innovation

Milan has launched an ecosystem of technology and sustainable innovation, MUSA (Multilayered Urban Sustainability Action): the collaboration between the Università di Milano-Bicocca, the proposing body, the Politecnico di Milano, Università Bocconi and Università Statale di Milano will enable the development of smart solutions for renewable energy and  waste management, the study of new models of green mobility, the creation of an incubator and acceleration hub for  startups, optimization of the use of  big data for the health and well-being of citizens, the development of new solutions of sustainable finance and the creation of the conditions for an increasingly inclusive society, free from inequalities.

Transforming the metropolitan area of Milan into an innovation ecosystem for urban regeneration, a model that can be replicated on national and European level. This is the ambitious challenge that the four universities will face in the next three yearsthanks to partnerships with 24 public and private entities and a total investment of EUR 16 million, with EUR 110 million from the   National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR).

The project has six areas of action, or ‘spokes’, each coordinated by one or more universities:

  • The project has six areas of action, or ‘spokes’, each coordinated by one or more universities:
  • Big Data-Open Data in Life Sciences
  • Deep Tech: Entrepreneurship & Technology Transfer
  • Economic Impact and Sustainable Finance
  • Sustainable Fashion, Luxury and Design
  • Innovation for Sustainable and Inclusive Societies

MUSA was presented at the Università di Milano-Bicocca, with the presentation attended by the rectors of the four universities: Giovanna Iannantuoni (Università di Milano-Bicocca), Ferruccio Resta (Politecnico di Milano), Gianmario Verona (Bocconi), Elio Franzini  (Università Statale di Milano), the President of the Lombardy Region,  Attilio Fontana, Regional Councillor for Education, Universities, Research, Innovation and Simplification, Fabrizio Sala, the Mayor of Milan,  Giuseppe Sala, and the President of the Cariplo Foundation, Giovanni Fosti.

musa
Gianmario Verona (Università Bocconi), Elio Franzini (Università Statale di Milano), Giovanna Iannantuoni (Università di Milano-Bicocca), Ferruccio Resta (Politecnico di Milano). | Credits Polimi

Developing technologies for economic and circular sustainability and promoting high-tech entrepreneurship are the two main objectives of the Politecnico di Milano within the MUSA ecosystem. The Lombardy Region and the metropolitan area of Milan, in particular, are a unicum in the national context, starting from leading sectors, such as fashion and design, gradually moving through to new companies with a high rate of innovation. The Politecnico di Milano Foundation, which has always been close to the needs of companies, will manage these two spokes together with the university,

said Ferruccio Resta.

In the cover image the rectors of the four universities: Gianmario Verona (Università Bocconi), Elio Franzini (Università Statale di Milano), Giovanna Iannantuoni (Università di Milano-Bicocca), Ferruccio Resta (Politecnico di Milano).

Discover more: polimi.it

Credits header: lombardiaeconomy.it

stonehenge

A Politecnico study reveals one of the mysteries of Stonehenge

Stonehenge continues to attract the attention of scholars and researchers more than four millenia after its construction. Giulio Magli, professor at the Politecnico di Milano, and Juan Antonio Belmonte, professor at Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias and Universidad de La Laguna in Tenerife, have published on Antiquity, authoritative journal of Archaeology, an innovative study which helps explain the monument original function: the theory that Stonehenge was used as a solar calendar is wrong. Its structure instead accounts for a symbolic interest of the builders to the solar cycle, most probably related to the connections between afterlife and winter solstice in Neolithic societies.

Archaeoastronomy, which often uses  satellite images to study the orientation of archaelogical sites, has a key role in this interpretation, since Stonehenge exhibits an astronomical alignment to the sun which refers both to the summer solstice sunrise and to the winter solstice sunset.

stonehenge
Credits: Robert Anderson on Unsplash

In the paper, Magli and Belmonte refute the theory that the monument was used as a giant calendrical device, based on 365 days per year divided in 12 months, with the addition of a leap year every four. This calendar is identical to the Alexandrian one, introduced more than two millennia later, at the end of the first century BC as a combination of the Julian calendar and the Egyptian civil calendar. The authors show that this theory is based on a series of forced interpretations of the astronomical connections of the monument, as well as on debatable numerology and on unsupported analogies.

First of all, Magli and Belmonte refer toastronomy: they show that the slow movement of the sun at the horizon in the days close to solstices makes it impossible to control the correct working of the alleged calendar, as the device (remember: composed by huge stones) should be able to distinguish positions as accurate as a few arc minutes, that is, less than 1/10 of one degree.

Second,  numerology. Attributing meanings to “numbers” in a monument is always a risky procedure. For example, in this case, a “key number” of the alleged calendar, 12, is not recognizable anywhere.

Finally, cultural paragons. A first elaboration of the 365 plus 1 day calendar is documented in Egypt only two millennia later than Stonehenge (and entered in use further centuries later). Besides, a transfer and elaboration of notions with Egypt occurred around 2600 BC has no archaeological basis.

Credits home: : Robert Anderson on Unsplash on Unsplash

Credits header: Jack B on Unsplash

fortune home

Who are the 3 Politecnico Alumnae in the Fortune 40 Under 40 ranking?

Managers, researchers, content creators and athletes: this year, Fortune Italia has once again drawn up the list of young people under 40 who are changing the country by bringing innovation to their industries. The names also include three Polytechnic Alumnae who have distinguished themselves for their professionalism, talent and ideas. Let's get to know them better: 

ANNALISA ANDALORO 

annalisa andaloro
Credits: Fortune Italia

Alumna with a Master in Building Systems Engineering and PhD, Annalisa Andaloro cut Innovation manager at Alperia Spa, a multi-utility for which she is developing the group's innovation ecosystem, with a focus on operations and training. Since 2021, she has been a member of 'La Carica delle 101', a network of women who work pro-bono to support emerging companies, providing advice on business development and scalability.

Expert in building energy efficiency, she has coordinated several European projects. She is scientific director for the international executive level Master in Façade Architecture, Construction and Engineering (FACE). 

GIULIA ROSSI 

giulia rossi
Credits: Fortune Italia

After a Master at MIP Politecnico di Milano, Giulia Rossi Rossi joined Amazon in 2019, and progressed to the role of Principal digital innovation lead Southern Europe at Amazon Web Services (AWS)in 2021. Her goal is to support companies in the journey to transform and accelerate their business, and to strengthen their expertise. For over 15 years, she has been an Innovation Advisor and Dgital Strategist, creating product portfolios and market strategies in sectors such as telecommunications, cybersecurity and also in the energy sector, gaining experience in Silicon Valley, the United Kingdom and the Iberian Peninsula.

In her current role at Amazon Web Services, she helps companies to adopt an innovative approach and develop cloud-based solutions from the AWS Cloud. Rossi is very active in supporting gender equality, and is a board member of Women & Technologies, as well as being Executive MBA MIP Alumni ambassador. 

MARIA VITTORIA TRUSSONI 

maria vittoria trussoni
Credits: Fortune Italia

A graduate in Mathematical Engineering, Maria Vittoria Trussoni cut Head of sustainability & green tech at NTT Data Italia. Right now, she is working on AI and digital twin computing techniques to monitor and predict the environmental impact of certain processes and buildings (such as data centres), and is pursuing a line of research that aims to build models to quantify the impact of IT and technology in terms of production of CO2 equivalent. “Green tech is the meeting point between the need to reduce emissions or impact in terms of sustainability and the expansion of technology: the prospects are (almost) infinite,” Maria told Fortune Italia. She adds: 

“[The advice I give to young people who want to pursue their dreams is] to be multi-skilled, dynamic, curious, to know how to absorb different passions and pick up new skills and focus a lot on people and empathy.” 

You too can support the Girls @ Polimi scholarships with a donation starting from 10 euros. Click here .

earhart home

Two researchers from the Politecnico winners of the prestigious Amelia Earhart Fellowship

Since 1961, the year of the first orbital flight, about 600 people have gone into space. According to data from March 2022,75 of them were women (source nasa.gov).

See the list of female astronauts in history

You needn't travel so far though: even on Earth aerospace professions are mostly dominated by men. Worldwide, women in this industry account for about 25% of the workforce.. Academia, companies, institutions and foundations around the world are increasingly addressing this subject, providing fertile ground for players to work together towards the goal of greater gender balance, including through scholarships and doctorate degrees dedicated to women pursuing this path (we also talk about this here and here).

This is the case of female researchers Eleonora Andreis and Mariachiara Gallia, PhD students from the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology at the Politecnico di Milano, who in 2022 won two prestigious Amelia Earhart Fellowships, awarded annually by Zonta International a 30 giovani donne che perseguono un dottorato di ricerca in campo aerospaziale o astrofisico in tutto il mondo. Abbiamo parlato con le due ricercatrici politecniche premiate quest’anno e ci siamo fatti raccontare su cosa stanno lavorando.

eleonora andreis
Eleonora Andreis

Eleonora Andreis, 25 years old, Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering and Master's degree in Space Engineering, with an Erasmus placement at the University of Liège in Belgium.

"My PhD research topic concerns the development of algorithms for the autonomous navigation of miniaturised satellites in deep space, within the context of the EXTREMA project (winner of an ERC- Consolidator Grant in 2019). I work within the DART GROUP supervised by Professor Francesco Topputo.”

Andreis's project consists of developing algorithms that enable a miniaturised satellite to autonomously locate itself in interplanetary space; the satellite observes the external environment using onboard cameras and is able to derive its position by triangulating the information it extracts, in a process which Andreis explains is “similar to what sailors did in ancient times by observing stars in the sky”.

Her project focuses on small, low-cost satellites, which promise to be major players in space research in the coming years. Since navigating a miniaturised satellite from Earth incurs a similar cost to flying a standard satellite, Andreis is mainly working on making the satellite autonomous in its navigation operations. At the same time, she is developing small, inexpensive navigation technologies and methodologies, testing them on hardware that mirror the onboard set-up.

"Another innovative aspect of my project lies within the context in which the navigation algorithms are applied, namely deep space. Nowadays, research in the field of autonomous optical navigation is more focused on other case studies, in particular those in which the satellite is in low or medium orbit around the body it is observing, which may be a celestial body or another satellite, for example, while few research groups are actively working on its interplanetary application.”

“Actually, I hadn't planned on doing a PhD whilst at university”, concludes Andreis. "It was a decision made during my final year, whilst I was working on my master's thesis. The topics I was working on in my thesis really intrigued me and around the same time PhD positions had opened up on very similar research topics within the context of a highly important project (EXTREMA), so I took the plunge. After finishing my PhD, my plan is to stay in research."

Mariachiara Gallia, 26 years old, Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering and Master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering. During her Master's degree, she completed an Erasmus placement at the University of Southampton.

“Ever since I was a child I have always had a passion for maths and physics. I have always been a very curious person and particularly fascinated by aircraft and how they work. However, after graduating at the liceo scientifico (high school), I had chosen to enrol in the Faculty of Mathematics, driven by the passion I had cultivated during the liceo. After a few months, I realised that the maths I had studied in high school had actually nothing to do with what I was doing. So I decided to transfer to a faculty that was more practical and could be applied to real-life. I enrolled into Aerospace Engineering and immediately realised that this was the field that I wanted to work in; in particular, I was very passionate about aeronautics and aircraft aerodynamics."

Gallia is working on the numerical simulation of ice accretion and ice protection systems on fixed and rotary wing aircraft, by developing the PoliMIce simulation framework. "I work with Prof. Guardone's research group with Dr. Barbara Re, Dr. Giulio Gori, Dr. Camilla Conti and my PhD colleagues: Tommaso Bellosta, Andrea Rausa, Alessandro Donizetti, Luca Abergo, Francesco Caccia and Yang Peng. The main objective of my research project is to develop a framework that can help in the design and optimisation of anti-icing systems.

Part of my project consists of studying the physics of the problem, i.e. the aerodynamics of the aircraft, the trajectory of the cloud particles impacting the aircraft, and in particular the energy and mass exchanges regulating ice formation and melting (when the anti-icing system is activated). The second part consists of the application of optimisation methods to the design of an anti-icing system. In particular, the innovative factor concerns the optimisation that is carried out in a robust manner, i.e. considering uncertainties in the design parameters in order to obtain a more reliable and safe system even outside deterministic design conditions."

Like Andreis, Gallia was also convinced at first that she wanted to enter the world of work after university. "I became passionate about research thanks to the calming, yet stimulating environment I found whilst writing my thesis with Prof. Guardone and his research group. So, after my thesis, I decided to go down this path, which for now, despite the expected ups and downs, is bringing me a lot of satisfaction. The Politecnico is recognised overseas as a centre of excellence, offering many opportunities to carry out research, as well as possibilities for collaborating with European and non-European institutions, allowing students to work in an international environment and constantly feel connected to the wider world. Finally, thanks to our relationships with companies in the industry, it is possible to see the results of the research we carry out applied “in the real world”. After my PhD, I would definitely like to continue working in research, maybe even in academia, in Italy or abroad, depending on the upcoming opportunities that arise.”

Support students: with a donation starting from €10 you can help fund scholarships:. Donate now.

nhoa home

Partnership with NHOA group for a new JRC

NHOA Group (NHOA.PA, formerly Engie EPS) and Politecnico di Milano sign an agreement for the establishment of a Joint Research Center (JRC) with the aim of developing innovation, research, and training initiatives in the Energy sector to enable the global transition towards clean energy and sustainable mobility.

The scientific collaboration agreement consolidates the long-standing partnership between NHOA Group and Politecnico di Milano and stems from the mutual desire to develop joint training, research, and innovation initiatives. The main objective is to address cutting-edge research topics in energy storage, e-mobility and distributed energy resources.

nhoa

The collaboration covers the following areas:
•    power conversion systems’ innovative control and design to sustain weaker electrical grids;
•    New battery technologies’ development focusing on EV second-life batteries;
•    cutting-edge EV charging solutions coupled with storage of renewable energy;
•   energy management systems and cloud computing unlocking distributed energy resources.

Sustainability, global transition, clean energy, and sustainable mobility are not slogans. They are actual commitments and leading priorities in research, economic and political agendas. An obligation to Politecnico di Milano, the first technical university in Italy and one of the top institutions in Europe.

commented Ferruccio Resta, Rector of Politecnico di Milano.

Among the many initiatives, NHOA Energy, Atlante and Free2move eSolutions - the three Global Business Lines of NHOA Group - invest in the growth of next generations, supporting PhDs and young researchers.

NHOA Energy also contributes to the Polytechnic Equal Opportunities ( POP – Pari Opportunità Politecniche ) program with the Girls@Polimi scholarships, initiative, which provides for the donation of a full-cycle scholarship to encourage final year high school students to enroll in STEM disciplines.

NHOA Group JRC activities will include 8 new PhD scholarships to support the different research initiatives and in 2023 the creation of a JRC lab in which students, researchers, and professors from Politecnico di Milano and NHOA Group R&D engineers will work together to develop new products for NHOA Energy, Atlante and Free2move eSolutions.

The collaboration with NHOA Group gives birth to a Joint Research Center that not only stems from solid ground, but also reflects a long-lasting vision and a mutual approach that is paradigmatic in addressing complex and highly demanding global scenarios.

Resta concluded.

alserio home

The Milan of tomorrow: a gallery of Politecnico works  

The Premio Architettura e Urbanistica Urban File 2021 selected the most significant and virtuous recent works in the city of Milan: 7 of the 8 winning projects are works by Politecnico Alumni. We interviewed some of them to learn about how the city is changing and will continue to change. The interviewees are Paolo Asti, Pasquale Mariani Orlandi, Sonia Calzoni and Sebastiano Pasculli   

Chapter 1: Alserio 10, the curve of time  

  • PROJECT: Regeneration of existing residential buildings and tourist accommodation  
  • FIRM: Asti Architetti  
  • ALUMNUS: Paolo Asti  
  • PLACE: The Isola district in Milan   

Paolo Asti (Credits: A. Cherchi)

At the end of the 1980s, at number 10 Via Alserio in Milan, a team of editors from the prestigious publishing house Selezione dal Reader's Digest were hard at work drawing up the World Atlas. Every day, they worked on the oceans and epochs, the sciences and Earths in their own round world of the building at number 10: a building designed by Melchiorre Bega in 1968, who gave the building curves instead of corners, so that it seemed to rotate around the district.

“Unlike the usual city architecture, which is placed right at the edge of the street, this building is placed in the middle of the block and is visible from 360°,” begins Alumnus Paolo Asti, founder of Asti Architetti, who led the building redevelopment project. Today, Alserio 10 is a residential complex, with 70 spacious apartments, each with its own balcony. “We have taken and emphasised the legacy of the curved aspect featured in the original design by creating balconies that chase one another like waves around the whole building,” explains Asti. - The curved line is easy on the eye. It gives you a sense of flowing, growing and transformation. Greenery is an integral component of the façade because people love being surrounded; this green filter is a kind of portal between inside and outside. Nature also influenced our choice of materials: we used a lot of wood or imitation wood materials and, on the ground floor, we used aluminium with a bronze effect. The most pressing issue of our time relates precisely to land: I see no need for further land consumption but rather a better utilisation of it.”  

The Isola district, where Alserio 10 stands , best represents the transition from past to future in urban planning:

“Here, the historic Milan of old shops, which have disappeared elsewhere, coexists with the large real estate industry. Milan is a polycentric city, which, given its characteristically dynamic nature, is not restricted to a single city centre, but rather has been able to create many centres.”

This duality of time dominates Paolo Asti's work, who is currently engaged in the redevelopment of the Velasca Tower. Talking about this latest project, Asti says: “Citizens need this iconic piece of 1960s Milan back in the city. The restoration has to make the building functional again by making it seem like nothing has changed from 1956 to 2022. I often stop myself from changing perfect buildings designed by those who have come before me, even if ravaged by time. Because time devastates everything - people and buildings alike.”  

MAP is one of the many initiatives created by Alumni Politecnico di Milano. If you want to receive two issues of the magazine in paper format, consider donating..

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dynamis home

On the start line: students that build racing cars 

«You won’t get many credits for the time you don’t spend preparing for exams, but in return it’s a huge leap in quality. It forces you to get your hands dirty, to understand and to imagine.” The speaker was the engineer Giampaolo Dallara , who in 1972 founded the Italian racing constructor that bears his name in Varano de’ Melegari. Dallara is an Aeronautical Engineering alumnus, a motorsport enthusiast and one of the main sponsors of Formula SAE in Italy. He was addressing students in the Politecnico’s DynamiΣ PRC team: more than 100 students that design and construct a Formula 1 style prototype racecar each year.

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foto di Tommaso Chemello, Alumnus ingegneria meccanica e membro del team DynamiΣ

FORMULA 1 FOR STUDENTS

DynamiΣ PRC’s cars compete in the Formula SAE championship (in Europe it is called Formula Student), one of the biggest competitions for open-wheeled racecars which hosts over 15 global events and involves students from more than 600 universities across the world. The drivers are also students and therefore, for safety reasons, the events are time trials rather than wheel to wheel races (with a few exceptions).

Students compete in three categories: internal combustion vehicles, electric vehicles and driverless vehicles. Each event is held in a different country and divided into two sessions: the first, which is static, assesses the technical side of the vehicle, the financial aspects and the ability to create a comprehensive marketing strategy. Dynamic tests are then carried out on the track: Acceleration, Skidpad (handling), Autocross (fastest lap time) and Endurance and Efficiency (prototype reliability). In Italy the competitions are held at the circuit in Varano de’ Melegari, within walking distance of Dallara Automobili (the initiative’s main sponsor). Each year, Dallara goes around the garages on the Friday before the competition, when the teams have finished testing and are making the last tweaks to their cars.

Watching the students discussing how to fit a chassis or imagining how to build a wing is a tonic, giving me enthusiasm to put back into my business,” remarked Dallara. “ And then there’s the confirmation of how young people are truly a strength of our country, of how dedicated they are despite the sacrifices: because they are often forced to reschedule their exams in order to do this work.  

Given the demands of taking part in these competitions, it is no wonder that they can get in the way of the students’ studies: for example, Alberto Testa, a Space Engineering student and the current technical director of DynamiΣ, told us that he commits around 70 or 80 hours a week to the team. “It’s inevitable that exams take a bit of a back seat.”

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foto di Tommaso Chemello, Alumnus ingegneria meccanica e membro del team DynamiΣ

IN THE GARAGE  

Moreno Palmieri graduated in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 and today works in R&D at Ferrari. During his studies, he was part of the DynamiΣ team: a team that won a great deal but did not exactly start off on the right foot.

“In 2014, we experimented with a carbon fibre chassis for the first time. But, not having much money, we made do with flat carbon fibre panels glued together. It was a little heavier than a carbon fibre chassis moulded using industrial techniques, but it cost a lot less. We were wet behind the ears and we made an error in the design: the internal inserts for attaching the internal components of the car were too small. During preliminary testing at the Vizzola circuit everything had gone well, but the tarmac at the Varano circuit performs much better. During the brake test, we had so much grip that the forces exerted on the suspension brackets of the chassis were much stronger than predicted, to the extent that one of the inserts was torn off. It was a disaster! We were dejected. But the competition officials, staff from Dallara, came by the garage for their usual look around and they encouraged us to find a solution. We worked on the repairs through the night, fixing the chassis with sheets of steel. Once we had finished, the car weighed 10kg more: it would have lost a little performance, but at least we could compete. The following morning, we showed up at the brake test again. This time the chassis held but the suspension brackets broke, having already been damaged during the first test. We pulled another all-nighter for the repairs because the competition was the next day: it was our last chance. We found a makeshift solution, but the car could not withstand the third brake test and we had to withdraw. However, what we took away from this story was a great opportunity. The engineers at Dallara had noticed us because of our tenacity, because we hadn’t given up in the face of such a big problem, we had tried everything. A few months later, Mr Dallara came to meet us at the Poli and he offered to support us in building the chassis with the proper tools and equipment. He put us in contact with Bercella, a company in the sector, which also taught us a lot about professional manufacturing.”

foto di Tommaso Chemello, Alumnus ingegneria meccanica e membro del team DynamiΣ

Since then, DynamiΣ has made up for the failure of 2014 many times, finishing on the podium at all of the subsequent editions. “The students often surprise me with examples of great creativity and imagination” explains Dallara, remembering countless visits to the garages. “New technologies are screened in advance, whereas sometimes the more conventional parts, like a suspension attachment, feature a certain ingenuity. But I’m also surprised by the speed with which they learn. The teams turn up for the first time without any experience, a long way behind the leading teams. But over a year or two they bridge the gap and start to become competitive.”

THE UNKNOWN LIMIT OF SPORT  

Alberto Testa has been part of the team since 2019, the year in which the Poli ranked Poli ranked fourth in the world and first in Italy, competing in the Internal Combustion category. “After this success, we decided to take on a new challenge.or rather, two. In 2020 we constructed our first electric prototype and this year we will add an autonomous driving system to the car in order to compete in the electric vehicle class, both with a driver and in the driverless category.

Filippo Piovani is also a student of Aeronautical Engineering: “my last year, in theory,” he said. It is his third season in DynamiΣ. We found him in the workshop where the members of the team were gathered around the new prototype working in tandem on many things at the same time: finishing and assembling parts, checking and double-checking calculations, treating the mould of the inverter container in the spray booth. They would stay there until midnight, with special permission from the Department of Mechanical Engineering (staying open just for them). “One of the challenges of the inverter container is shielding it from electromagnetic interference caused by high voltage electronics,” explained Filippo. “It risks distorting the low voltage signals that control the operation of the car. Last year we had an electric car for the first time and there were moments when the control sensors for critical parameters were providing incorrect information because of this problem, transmitting the error to the computer that runs the car. This year we have added molecules of nickel to the carbon fibre, which should increase the level of shielding and solve the problem. At least in theory, we need to test it to find out.

After the fire-up, track testing will take place until mid-July. The championship begins on 12 July and will continue throughout the summer: the Poli will be in Varano from 17 to 19 July, in Hungary from 7 to 13 August and in Germany from 15 to 21 August. We asked Filippo what their expectations were:

"To win, no matter what. And we’re looking to improve on last year. The target is to achieve with electric what we did in 2019 with the internal combustion model: fourth in the world.”

«“That’s how the Poli team does things,” remarks Dallara, laughing. “They don’t just want to take part; they are used to winning. But they are not the only ones. The Formula Student championship is becoming more competitive every year. The Poli has won a lot, but the others have the drive to win too. It is no longer good enough to improve a little: sporting contests are not about reaching a defined level or beating a record, they are about being better than your opponent. This means that the limit is unknown until you meet on the track.".    

MAP is one of the many initiatives created by Alumni Politecnico di Milano. If you want to receive two issues of the magazine in paper format, consider donating..

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ponte di archimede home

Archimedes Bridge

Dall’archivio MAP #3

THE E39 IS A ROAD IN NORWAY that is not of the standards to which we are accustomed. For long stretches, it is not even a road. Seven ferries transport road vehicles along a route which takes about 21 hours to climb the 1100 kilometres from the western coast.

The Norwegian administration’s goal is to reduce the duration of the journey to 11 hours, through infrastructure immersed in the landscape: floating bridges and underwater tunnels, innovations and old techniques such as Archimedes’ bridge, a design which can now be realised thanks to the latest technologies.

ponte di archimede
Credits: Statens Vegvesen

Behind these infrastructural works, which will change a nation and more, is an Italian: the Alumna Arianna Minoretti, a civil engineer from the Politecnico di Milano.

“The Norwegian state was looking for someone who was interested in working on this big project on the E39, so I sent in my application”,

she recounts.

Looking back now, it still seems so strange to me. “My current boss called me to ask if I could attend an interview in a week’s time. The interview lasted two hours and at the he told me: “Look, this will be my last interview because I think you are the person we are looking for. I will send you a financial proposal and if you agree you can move here and start in January”.

There are economic interests (50% of exports are located on the west coast) and social interests behind the design of this major projectI know what it means to have the need to live close to health services, having had major allergic problems”, continues Minoretti. “Every time I arrive in a new place I ask where the closest hospital is. In some places along the Norwegian coast I have been told that it took up to three hours by car (sometimes you need the helicopter).I am convinced that the E39 project is also a social project. Just think of those living outside of the main cities in Norway; reaching their workplaces, schools, hospitals can be complicated – the most important infrastructure to which people should have access. 

MAP is one of the many initiatives created by Alumni Politecnico di Milano. If you like this initiative and the other ones dedicated to the Alumni community consider donating.

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How does one become an inventor?

The word “inventor” s a little archaic; nowadays nobody (or almost nobody) would say that they are a professional inventor. The media calls them start-uppers or entrepreneurs; at the Poli they are called engineers, designers, architects, researchers, scientists and, usually, they can be found in the laboratory, not in front of a board of directors. For one scientist, discovering his entrepreneurial side was not so automatic.  

Scientific research is the basis on which it is possible to look into the distance and invest in the future”, remarks Donatella Sciuto, a Vice Rector of the Politecnico di Milano. “It is essential for interpreting and accelerating the major processes of technological development and to reduce social problems. Through research, university plays a key role in activating the processes of change and growth in different regions and, with them, new entrepreneurial activities≫.  

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Donatella Sciuto, Prorettrice Vicaria del Politecnico di Milano | Credits: s2p

But to do this, we need tools to transform research into innovation, which are not actually the same thing. And, since there is no innovation without research, to bring inventions out from the laboratory, an idea is not enough. You need what in technical jargon is called technology transfer: cut needed to transform an idea or an academic result into a product that can be sold on the market.. One of the objectives, for both Italy and Europe, is to become independent and avoid being in the role of technology importers, and to tackle the major social challenges that await us. And the Politecnico is also playing its part in this.  

From laboratory to business  

At the Politecnico, there are several tools that serve to increase the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), or the level of a project’s technological maturityand assess it from the perspective of its social-economic impact. One of these tools is Switch2Product (S2P), the innovative programme, organised by the University in partnership with PoliHub and Deloitte’s Innovation Workshops, which puts researchers and investors in contact to develop a proof- of-concept. Then there is PoliHub, the Politecnico di Milano’s Innovation Park & Startup Accelerator, which follows researchers until they achieve TRL 5 (the phase in which they demonstrate that the technology also works outside of the controlled conditions of the academic laboratory) and in the product/market fit. At that point, researchers are ready to create a start-up, receiving a sum of between 500 thousand and one million euros from investors.  

ADAPTA Studio and AGADE, two of the Poli’s spin-offs, are just two examples of the businesses that passed through S2P and the PoliHub incubator and accelerator programme. The former originated in the Department of Mathematics, and the latter emerged from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

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