HOGWORDS School of Cryptography for Young Learners Mobility Sparks Excitement in Roma, Italy

From May 7th to May 11th, 2024, Roma, Italy, became the stage for an exciting exchange of knowledge and culture as the HOGWORDS School of Cryptography for Young Learners Mobility unfolded. This collaborative effort, part of the KA2 Erasmus+ project, brought together students from Romania and Italy for a week of exploration into the world of cryptography. 10 enthusiastic Romanian students, along with our youth workers, Loredana Sima and Sorin Ulmeanu, joined forces with twelve Italian peers accompanied by Dr Caterina Del Colle and Vladimiro Paschali for a journey of discovery. Their destination? The fascinating world where mathematics and computer science meet the art of code-breaking.

The program was packed with activities aimed at fostering learning, teamwork, and cultural exchange. One highlight was a visit to the CNR-IAC headquarters, where students had the chance to learn from experienced professors like Prof. Marco Pedicini, Prof. Fabrizio D Amore, Prof. Iona Lasinio, Prof. Nicola Apollonio and Prof. Giovanni Franzina. Professor Nicola Apollonio gave the students an illustrative lecture entitled ‘A Module of Linear Algebra’, showing how mathematics can be used to keep secrets safe. Prof Marco Pedicini also helped to unlock the secrets of codes and techniques used to protect digital messages. Dr Giovanni Franzina with ‘Research in mathematics is fun’ showed how exciting and creative mathematics can be. Similarly, Prof Fabrizio D’Amore offered a sample lecture on computer engineering with an insight into career prospects in this field of study. Professor Giovanna Iona Lasinio, and colleagues Prof. Anna Conte and Prof. Stefania Gubbiotti, opened up the horizons of the study of statistics in the contemporary world. Their talks inspired the students to explore new ideas and tackle challenging problems.

The heart of the week was the Cryptography Contest, where students worked together to solve puzzles and crack codes. As they tackled each challenge, they formed friendships and learned to think critically and solve problems as a team.

As the week came to the end, the students said their goodbyes, leaving with new friends and a deeper understanding of cryptography. The HOGWORDS School of Cryptography for Young Learners Mobility showed the power of bringing together students from different backgrounds to learn and grow together.

The KA2 Erasmus+ project is implemented by Confine Mondo Cultural Association (Italy) and Imago Mundi Association (Romania) in partnership with the National Research Council of Italy (IAC:CNR), teachers from Sapienza University in Rome and students from Colegiul National “Ion C. Bratianu” Pitesti and Colegiul Național Alexandru Odobescu of Pitesti and the following Italian scientific high schools: S. Cannizzaro, A. Avogadro, A. Righi, Plinio Seniore, C. Cavour of Rome, Gregorio da Catino of Poggio Mirteto (RM) and G. Galilei of Pescara. The project provided local, online as well as international activities.

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