Thursday June 20th
19:45 live music by Groove Barrio Trio
Today’s topic revolves around perception of facts, so how individuals, groups, and societies, organize, perceive, and communicate about reality. People build a series of mental “filters” through biological and cultural influences that they use to make sense of the world. The choices they make are influenced by their creation of a frame. Successful framing techniques can be used to reduce the ambiguity of intangible topics by contextualizing the information in such a way that recipients can connect to what they already know.
This Science Café elaborates amongst others on how images are used both pro and con novel technologies. Everyone has most probably seen the scary images with flames from the tap in the discussion about fracking, but did you realize that the same technology is used to harvest geothermal energy, for which very different images are used, and that is surely not perceived as scary? Some of the images are very persistent, and more knowledge does not always help.
The big question is if and how we can achieve responsible research and innovation, which role existing imaginaries play in this, and whether it is possible to create new – well informed – ones together with opponents and proponents. To address this topic in full width we have invited two excellent speakers that come from two ends of the perspective. Dr. Tamara Metze investigates the process of framing, and traveling of frames, whereas Ward van Beek makes use of the power of a good story.
Tamara Metze is an associate professor in the Public Administration and Policy group of Wageningen University. She did MSc’s in Political Science, and Science and Technology Studies, and obtained a PhD in Public Administration at the University of Amsterdam. Her research interests are the (im)possibility of democratic innovations, with special interest in visual framing, boundary work, traveling of facts and uncertainties, and so on.
Ward van Beek is partner in ItsaRep and Advisor Content & PR at World Food Center. He has been in Technology PR and communications since 1993. Before that he was responsible for marketing in the financial services industry. Ward strongly believes in the power of a good story; well told, to the right audience, at the right moment and the right place. His specialty is Technology PR, IT PR, Copywriting, Interactive PR amongst others.
Thursday May 23rd
19:45 live music
We have as many human cells in our bodies as bacteria, and there are around 1 billion bacteria and 1 million fungi in one tea spoon of soil. We are surrounded and colonized by microbes! In this session we will look at how our gut microbiome can protect us from disease, help us digest food and might even affect the way we act and feel. For plants, this is similar, a better microbiome leads to healthier plants. But how are microbiomes assembled, and what makes the microbiome of plants and humans different? In this Science Café Dr. Clara Belzer (WUR) will explain the implications of the microbiome for human Health, whereas Dr. Ronnie de Jonge (UU) will help us understand the ins and outs of plant microbiomes.
Thursday May 9th
19:45 live music
Life is full of risks, and taking risks may even make life more interesting. Assessing, discussing, or preventing risks is a daily activity in organizations as well as on an individual level. Some of the risks we take are not seen as such, whereas they can be potentially harmful; there is always a risk of failing. Furthermore, some actions are considered normal by some people while they are considered risky by others. So, when do we consider a decision risky? Should risks be avoided? Or do they enrich our lives?
This Science Café elaborates on how risk behavior differs between individuals, how risk behavior develops within individuals, and within society as a whole. For example, is implementing self-driving cars a risk for the individual, and / or the society as a whole? The first speaker, dr. Margot Peeters, will present risk behavior and risky decision development in young people. She will specifically talk about the development of the brain and the influence of social context. The second speaker, Sven Nyholm, will talk about risky decisions in the context of self-driving cars.
Dr. Margot Peeters obtained her PhD at Utrecht University with a thesis on the role of automatic and controlled processes in the onset and continuation of alcohol use in adolescents. Currently, Margot Peeters is assistant professor at Utrecht University, where she works at the department of Youth in Changing Cultural Context and studies risk behavior from early adolescence to young adulthood.
Dr. Sven Nyholm is assistant professor at the Philosophy & Ethics department of Eindhoven University. He will address the ethics of self-driving cars and possible crashes, how to deal with coordination issues in mixed traffic involving both self-driving cars and human-driven cars, and if people can insist on driving regular cars, even if that is riskier than using self-driving cars.