Attention in a distractive world

Thursday January 16th

19:45 live music
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

FOCUS, we all need it in our study and work, or to navigate and travel safely from place to place. Yet in the world around us there are many distractions, visual and auditive signals that all compete for our attention. Luckily our brain filters these signals, enabling us to function in a world of information overload. In this Science cafe we explore the current knowledge of how these filters work and how the transmission of important information can be promoted. Our speakers will guide you through the world of distraction. Our first speaker Prof. Stefan van der Stigchel will focus on visual stimuli, whereas our second speaker, Prof. John van Opstal, will address auditory stimuli.

Prof. Stefan van der Stigchel is a professor in Cognitive Psychology at the department of Experimental Psychology at Utrecht University and principal investigator of the research group AttentionLab. For his research on visual attention, he received a VENI and VIDI NWO grant. Stefan is author of the popular science book “Zo werkt aandacht”, published in English as “How Attention Works” in January 2019. His second book “Concentratie” was released in the Netherlands in November 2018 and will be published by MIT Press in 2020.

Prof. John van Opstal is Chair in Biophysics at the Faculty of Science and Director of the Donders Centre for Neuroscience, both at Radboud University, Nijmegen. Prof. van Opstal studies sound localization behaviour of human and non-human primates. He regards sound localization as an action-perception problem, and probes the system with fast, saccadic eye-head gaze-control paradigms, to study the very earliest underlying neurocomputational mechanisms. He exposed his ideas in his book “The auditory system and human sound-localization behavior”, published in April 2016. Prof. van Opstal received numerous prestigious awards and grants such as NWO VICI and ERC advanced.

PREVIOUS SESSION: old masters, new technologies

Thursday November 21st

19:45 live music by Sun Inside
20:15 speakers
Café Loburg

The work of the old masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer has proudly represented the Golden Age of Dutch paintings. Although their story endures overtime, the same cannot be said about their paintings. In this Science Café, we will bridge fields between art, particularly paintings and how technology can reveal their hidden history and help conservation efforts.

Dr Joen Helmans, a scientist from the Rijksmuseum and UvA uses chemistry to understand the aging of paint and will discuss the ethical implications for painting conservation.

Dr Willemijn Elkhuizen uses 3D scanning, modelling and printing to achieve reproductions that are indistinguishable from the original masterpieces, having worked on pieces such as the Selfportrait by Rembrandt or Vermeer´s Girl with Pearl Earring.

Exploring and discussing science with professionals, funky music and a drink.