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Energy Transformations

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Organizer: Elena Fratto

Co-Organizer: Paola Villa

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Energy is an intuitive concept in our daily lives. A synonym of vitality, dynamism, and power, it fuels every human enterprise from nutrition to creativity, and it manifests in all the various acceptations of "work" (be it intellectual, emotional, physical or mechanical). Energy sustains our bodies, illuminates our cities, runs our cars, cools our refrigerators and heats our minds; it enhances our capability of "seeing" through particle accelerators or it simply accompanies a daily gesture as switching the lights on. 

We know from the laws of physics that energy in isolated systems is conserved over time and it is constantly transformed, but we also tend to forget that conservation of energy comes at a cost. To put it in laymen terms: "There is no such a thing as a free lunch". Hence, the production of energy and its expenditure have always been at the center of political, economic and social issues from the carbon age to global warming, from slave work to colonialism.

This panel will analyze, through the lens of literature, all the different transformations of energy and their interplay with the social, economic and cultural sphere.

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