Can these seemingly disparate domains meaningfully communicate with one another or potentially find common ground despite their apparent differences? That was the question at the centre of the debates.
Kicking off the event, renowned Italian writer Luca Doninelli challenged established viewpoints.
"Throughout my years of study, I firmly believed that literature and science remained separate. However, today, that certainty wavers. Science focuses on factual truths, differing from literature's exploration of human emotions and imagination," he said.
Doninelli did acknowledge that there is a common ambition to achieve the unachievable that drives both writing and scientific study.
For over four decades, the town of Rimini in northern Italy has hosted the Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, an annual event held in late August. This year, the event centres around the theme "Human existence is an inexhaustible friendship."
The Communion and Liberation Movement has organized the Rimini Meeting every year since its start in 1980. The event, which draws a sizable crowd of devoted attendees, has developed into a forum where eminent people have discussions about important subjects.
Doninelli emphasized the similar focus on details that separates talented literary and scientific minds. He observed that this similarity results from a special sensitivity to reality's essence, which reveals its innate beauty. Science's endeavours to get closer to the illusive truth are paralleled by great artists' and scientists' pursuit of precision.
This viewpoint was shared by Juan José Gómez Cadenas, a professor of physics at the Donostia International Physics Centre. In sharing his own experience, Gómez Cadenas recalled how he first looked to science as a solace for human suffering. Initially, he saw the world as a safe sanctuary for reason, but with time, he noticed similarities between the anguish that science and literature both cause.
Gómez Cadenas observed: "Scientific and literary perspectives can both capture beauty. In science, beauty emerges when comprehended and uncomprehended phenomena intersect, notably since the advent of quantum mechanics in the 20th century. This theory allowed for precise calculations, illuminating the universe's enigmatic facets—within which, perhaps, science's own beauty resides."
The professor also emphasized how brevity is a common theme in both science and literature. Poets condense the cosmos into a few lines, whereas scientists provide succinct explanations for cosmic events.