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Jun 18 – 20, 2024
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
America/Toronto timezone

Cohort Pitch 5 - Physics without Words

Jun 20, 2024, 2:30 PM
PI/1-100 - Theatre (Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics)

PI/1-100 - Theatre

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics



Caroline Lima (Perimeter Institute) Cynthia Arias Pruna (Charles University) Javiera Hernandez Morales (University of Greifswald) Raquel Izquierdo García (Perimeter Institute)


Authors from PSI 2022 & 2023:
Cynthia Arias Pruna, Caroline De Lima Vargas Simões, Javiera Hernández Morales, and Raquel Izquierdo García

Our project is a game that combines concepts from flashcards and card memory games: one has a deck of cards where half the cards correspond to drawings that represent certain concepts of physics, while the other half contain short explanations of the same concepts. All cards are put on a table face down, and one can reveal only two cards at a time. A player wins a pair of cards when they successfully match a drawing with its corresponding explanation, and the player that collects more pairs wins the game.

ACTIVITIES: We are asking for your help! We have a list of concepts that could potentially part of the game, and we want to ask the whole Perimeter Community to collaborate with our project by:
• Making a drawing about a concept,
• Provide an “in a nutshell” explanation,
• Provide a long explanation.
You can participate by coming to our stand in the Atrium and draw using pencil and paper provided there. You can also draw on a blackboard or tablet and submit a photo/file to the linked form (it will require you to sign in to a google account to be able to upload the document). You can provide the explanations by filling the form as well. Please write your name in your drawing/explanation so we can credit you when the game comes out!

When I was in my last year of high school, I participated in a summer camp on "didactics of mathematics", where I spent a full week sharing with other high school students around mathematics, and it was one of the best experiences I remember from that time of my life.

During this summer camp, we had an activity where we got to meet "proofs without words", a concept in mathematics where you are challenged to prove a mathematical theorem only using pictures and drawings. We had tons of fun trying to match the pictures we were provided, with the mathematical theorems we thought they were trying to prove, and this image of me working in groups with my friends came back to my mind immediately after seeing the call for projects for the PSI reunion conference.

Me, Javiera, together with my fellow PSIons Carol, Cynthia, and Raquel, want to propose for our project the creation and development of a board game based on this idea and call it "Physics Without Words". The idea is to create a deck of cards where half the cards are drawings that illustrate a particular physical phenomenon (for example a bent line to show Snell's Law), while the other half would be the explanations of the phenomena, and the main goal is to match them all correctly. This game would be an excellent tool for teachers in schools and could be easily accommodated to the different levels from primary school to high school.

We intend to involve the Perimeter Institute Community by asking all participants of the conference to help us create the cards. We could provide a list of phenomena that we want to explain, and we could have professors, postdocs, PhDs, or even PSI members suggesting explanations "in a nutshell" that can fit in the back of a playing card (something along the lines of "Snell's Law is..."), as well as proposing drawings. We could give credit for this help by putting the name of the person on the card, which would also help students and teachers get to know the names of the amazing researchers who work at PI.

Our main expenses so far (detailed in the document) would be 1) Travel: to financially help two members of our group who are currently based in Germany and the Czech Republic, and 2) Game: need to hire a graphic designer to design the cards, then to print several decks, and finally promote their use and distribute them in schools. In the future, we can think of mass production of the game, translation into different languages, promotion via TikTok and YouTube, and many ideas that we already have.

We believe that this is a project with a huge potential, that can promote collaboration not only in PI during this conference, but also in every classroom where it will be played. We are also very proud of being a group composed of only women, with a variety of backgrounds that highly enrich our project.

Presentation materials

External references