PhD programme: Science, Technology, and Humanities
Natura cultura...
Storia della scienza
Storia, scienza e società
Pancaldi, Volta...

of Philosophy
University of Bologna
via Zamboni, 38
40126 Bologna, Italy
tel. +39.051.2098353
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About this site


Tommaso Panajoli


PhD in Science, Technology and Humanities, University of Bologna, (2009-2012).


Office address:
CIS – Department of Philosophy and Communication
University of Bologna
Via Zamboni 38
40126 Bologna



July 2012: Ph.D. in Science, Technology, and Humanities, Department of Philosophy, University of Bologna. Dissertation title: Una prospettiva storico-filosofica sull'evoluzione del curricolo di fisica nella scuola: problemi e innovazioni pedagogiche (“A historical and philosophical perspective on the evolution of school physics curriculum: issues and pedagogical innovations”). Supervisors: Professor Barbara Pecori, Professor Vincenzo Fano.

June 2008: “Laurea Magistrale” (Master Degree) in Philosophy of Science - Philosophy of Physics, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy. Dissertation: "Simmetrie: epistemologia, scienze naturali e didattica", Supervisors: Prof. Vincenzo Fano (Philosophy of Science) and Prof. Gino Tarozzi (Philosophy of Physics).

July 2005: “Laurea Triennale” (Bachelor Degree) in Philosophy and Natural Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy. Dissertation: "Antimetafisica e il problema della demarcazione in Rudolf Carnap", Supervisors: Prof. Vincenzo Fano (Philosophy of Science) and Prof. Gino Tarozzi (Philosophy of Physics).

July 2001: “Diploma di Maturità Scientifica” at Liceo Scientifico G. Torelli, Fano (PU), Italy.


Philosophy: the logical-philosophical foundations of mathematics and physics; history and meaning of the concept of “symmetry”; interaction, clashes, and relationships between metaphysics and science.

During my “laurea” studies I attended many courses on logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, foundations of physics, history of science. I also acquired some basics conceptual tools in order to understand 20th-century mathematical and physical theories, focusing especially on the philosophical study of relativity and quantum mechanics. I also developed an interest in a historical and philosophical understanding of contemporary science. In my theses I developed an interdisciplinary approach to science teaching and education, focusing especially on science education in high school.

PhD studies:

I applied a number of conceptual tools developed within recent epistemological studies to the communication and teaching of science and philosophy.

My research explores some problems in science education from a philosophical and theoretical point of view, dealing in particular with some of these interrelated issues:

  • the notion of scientific literacy: meanings and problems;

  • “science for all”: the historical and philosophical foundation of the idea and some educational programmes and conceptions dealing with it;

  • the “History and Philosophy of Science” approach and contribution to innovation: criticism and virtues compared to some alternative approaches;

  • factors/difficulties in educational innovation: looking at the Italian science education status;

  • some case studies from philosophy of science (physics and math) useful for research and innovation in pedagogy and science education.

Dissertation summary

Over the past twenty years there have been some international studies on the problems of school science and some consequent strategies for educational change. Many researches have pointed to a new concept of scientific literacy as a fundamental knowledge, prior to career choices and relevant for every student. The starting hypothesis of this research argues that some of these analyses and the main idea of a non-vocational scientific literacy show significant limitations when related to the Italian context. The specificities of the latter are addressed, first, from a comparative point of view, discussing few international reports on science education. This comparison has highlighted the difficulty of having a set of clear and definitive evidences on the problems of science education discussed by these documents, in particular through the data concerning the crisis in scientific vocations and students’ attitudes towards science. Also the institutional framework of the Italian high schools shows how the educational recommendations and some curricular projects, discussed within the international community, find some important obstacles due to principles of selection and to different school tracks for the upper secondary level. The present work is based primarily on a historical and pedagogical reconstruction of the physics curriculum, through national guidelines, syllabi, and the analysis of some representative textbooks of the last decades. This study of the “intended” curriculum revealed, firstly, the “academic” nature of high school physics and its weak educational value, secondly, the impact, of the international issues discussed, on educational aims and learning tools embodied in textbooks. Despite the evolution of these features of the curriculum, the analysis of historical and philosophical knowledge used by textbooks has highlighted the lack of a cultural contextualization of physics as one of the main obstacles to promoting a more relevant science education.

Selected presentations

"Symmetry and invariance: artistic and scientific developments of the concept of symmetry before modern mathematics", SILFS (Italian Society  for Logic and Philosophy of Science) Postgraduate Conference, 29-31 May 2013, Urbino.


- Fano V., Panajoli T., «Metaphors and the ontogenesis of universals», forthcoming in Isonomia.

- Panajoli T., «Storia e significato delle simmetrie nella scienza: spunti per l’approccio HPS all’educazione scientifica» (“History and meaning of symmetries in science: reflections for the HPS approach in science education”), in Mantovani R. (ed.), SISFA. Atti del XXX convegno nazionale. Urbino 2010, (Proceedings of the XXX conference of the Italian Society for the History of Physics and Astronomy, 30 June-3 July 2010), Urbino: Argalìa, 2012.

- Panajoli T., «Invarianza e oggettività: il variegato mondo delle simmetrie» (“Invariance and Objectivity: the variegated world of symmetries”), in Tatasciore C., Graziani P., Grimaldi G. (Eds), Prospettive Filosofiche. Ontologia, Roma: Bonanno, 2012.

- Panajoli T., «Il connubio tra storia della scienza e didattica delle scienze: un esame di alcuni motivi pedagogici» (“The connubial between History of Science and Science Education: some pedagogical remarks”), in Frank M. L. and Pogliano C. (eds), Scorci di storia della scienza. Seminario congiunto dei dottorati. Bari 26-28 giugno 2008, Pisa: Plus, 2010.

Professional experience

January - December 2007: non-paid assistant in the editorial staff of a local cultural periodical.

I occasionally worked for the Pesaro-Urbino Province administration:

2007, 2008: Author (with others) of the Newsletters for the III and IV International Meeting on youth policies, Urbino.

2008: D. Bonazelli, I. Gidiuli, F. Montanari, T. Panajoli, V. Tonucci (editors), Report of the III International Meeting on youth policies (in italian) – Urbino, 9-12 May 2007, Grafo 5, Fano.

Linguistic competences

Good knowledge of English, basic knowledge of French

Computer skills

Basic knowledge of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office, and acquaintance of Mac OS-X and Apple’s applications.


Music and soccer (five).