Recent years have witnessed an emerging consensus that science is not – and cannot be – completely free of values. Which values may legitimately influence science, and in which ways, is currently a topic of heated debate in philosophy of science. These discussions have immediate relevance for science teaching: if the value-free ideal of science is misguided, science students should abandon it too and learn to reflect on the relation between science and values – only then can they become responsible academics and citizens. I investigate ways in which reflection on science and values can be incorporated in science education. In particular, I try to show how recent philosophical insights about science and values can be used in courses for students in Health Sciences and in debates in the context of Big Data. An example of the interaction between science and values concerns the way a choice between biomedical approaches and clinical trials is made. Assuming that there is money available for only one type of research project, then what are the reasons a scientific committee can have for choosing for one proposal over another. How do they choose between a proposal that focuses on the underlying mechanisms of a bodily disorder (biomedical approach) and a trial to determine the effect of a medicine to recover the patients suffering from the same disorder (clinical trial)? Students easily understand that values – such as explanatory success, applicability, reliability and scope on the one hand, and social relevance and financial feasibility on the other – are necessary to make a choice between these two research proposals. A more difficult, and more interesting, question is why certain values prevail over others. The same holds for the influence of values on Science in the application of scientific research. If medical research regarding a potentially dangerous influenza virus results in the development of an effective therapy, the answer to the questions whether and, if so, how this therapy can be applied, depends on the values involved. Values such as generality (the expected scope of the therapy), safety (the degree of the health risks), individual freedom (should the therapy be prescribed compulsory?) and financial conditions determine the answer to these questions. It is clear that these answers, among others, depend on the political views (and ideological sources) of the government. Students may be very apt to discuss these questions, and these discussions could indeed be helpful to better understand the interaction of Science and values. However, in my courses it is even more important and interesting to reflect on the influence of values in the 'heart' of scientific practices: what role do values play when a hypothesis or theory is tested? Dr. Edwin Koster University: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Department: Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities Courses: Philosophy of Education, Philosophy and Ethics Favourite beer: I like to drink 'una clara' - a fresh draft beer mixed with lemon juice - that reminds me of the time I lived in Madrid and enjoyed it immensely ... Want to know more? If you want to know more about Edwin Kosters research, you can find his most recent publications here.
When I first visited the US during my graduate studies I was surprised to learn that among my fellow students - in the words of Eminem -- "nobody listened to techno". One of the dominant youth cultures in Europe, especially in the UK and the Netherlands, was quite peripheral and unknown in the United States. This was unexpected as most conventional music histories identified the United States - and cities like Chicago and Detroit - as the birthplace of house and techno music. So I became intrigued by the question how it happened that a musical genre that emerged in the US was quite slow to develop in its country of birth but became so widely adopted in European countries? The graduate courses I was taking during my visit to the US on the sociology of culture provided some clues to solving this problem. In texts on cultural globalization I learned about "Americanization" and how US culture could spread across the world. But the examples were mostly of Hollywood movies and other mainstream US commercial culture that could become global culture because of the "deep pockets" of the US cultural industries. The idea was that cultural products became "globalized" because of the strength of their domestic US industry. However, the fact that a musical form -- like house or techno -- that was actually not successful in the US could also spread to other countries was not explained by these theories. Another set of theories also gave a partial answer. I learned how musical forms can be studied as "art worlds" -- as collective social worlds that similar to social movements can grow in size and become more widely diffused as the networks of people who participate in these artistic worlds grow and become more widespread. New cultural innovations, like a music style, can emerge from the seeds of only a few people -- a group of friends who experiment with new instruments or musical idioms -- and while initially considered to be strange and unfamiliar can become more widely adopted when more and more people become "recruited" into this world. But this is a relatively slow process -- one that takes time and effort by people who can bring others and the necessary resources together to create clubs, record labels, venues, and a whole range of organizations and institutions, etc. When I started to actually study the emergence of the dance music field in the UK I was struck by two things that these theories indeed could not explain. First, I found that the house and techno acts that were adopted in the UK were not the most successful acts in the US. Actually, the less successful, the more likely an act would attract the attention of the UK adopters. The UK adopters had a distinct preference, it seemed, for underground, peripheral dance music from the US -- paying more attention to, for example, a commercially unsuccessful Chicago based act rather than an act based in New York that already had a modicum of success in the US. Second, the adoption of US-based house and techno acts was almost immediate. Not only were most house and techno acts released in the US and UK within a very short time period from each other. But also the "genres" themselves -- the idea that these musical acts could be grouped under a similar category -- were in some cases actually almost immediately or even earlier established in the UK than in the US. For example, the genre of Techno gained recognition in the UK when Neil Rushton discovered records from Detroit by Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins in a crate of records that normally only contained soul records. Rushton saw a commercial possibility and convinced the record label 10 Records to release a compilation album. The working title was in first instance: The House Sound of Detroit (named after an already existing house music compilation). The marketing department of 10 Records, however, decided it was necessary to differentiate the album from House and to give it a separate and clear genre identity. Juan Atkins had used the term Techno before so they settled on that term as a way to market their music. So the title became - Techno: The New Dance Sound of Detroit. And by releasing this compilation album in the UK they had invented the "techno" genre in the UK before it even gained ground in the US. This quick adoption in the UK of unsuccessful US culture led me to reframe my original question. Perhaps it was not the right question why house and techno were unsuccessful in the US yet successful in the UK. Perhaps it made more sense to see these as two sides of the same coin: that the successful adoption in the UK was predicated on the unsuccessful development of these genres in the US. Because of economic and cultural reasons, the peripheral, non-commercial status of these genres in the US would actually make these interesting for adoption in the UK. Economically, the lack of domestic success made these acts cheaper to license on the UK market. Culturally, UK audiences, journalists and label owners could claim the music as a form of - what cultural sociologists call - "cultural capital": a form of prestigious culture because of its rarity and noncommercial character. They, in other words, actively sought out the obscure, the rare, the non-commercial in other national contexts and adopted it to enhance their status and position within their own national contexts. And thus it could happen that while in the US nobody listened to techno, it became the basis of a new cultural field in other contexts far removed from Chicago and Detroit. Alex van Venrooij (Current) favorite beer: Lowlander IPA University: Universiteit van Amsterdam Department: Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences Programme: Cultural sociology Want to know more? Find Alex's research profile here.
The first few months of 2020 have been a rollercoaster. We started off January busy with the organization of the Pint of Science festival. Then, in March, covid-19 decided to mix everything up. We moved the festival to September, but later we unfortunately had to decide to cancel the festival. We still have our passion for sharing science (and beer). Therefore, we decided to look for new ways to bring science to you. Therefore, we decided to renew our blog! We asked scientists to write about their research. Dr. Alex van Venrooij teaches sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He wrote an article in which he tells about the journey of techno and house music to Europe and how his research came to be. You can read all about it next monday. We would also like to introduce you to Dr. Edwin Koster, he writes about his experience with the incorporation of philosophy in science education. His blog will be posted the 10th of august. As you may have noticed, we also recently started with online events. Here, scientists discus their research and answer your questions. Check out our online events here. In addition, you can now check out what is going on behind the screens of Pint of Science in our first ever podcast! Cheers! Eline van Bloois
#pint19 Amsterdam - Hacking the immune system to fight cancer
With the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine being awarded to Immunotherapy, it was the perfect time to learn about what immunotherapy research is happening right here in Amsterdam! It was a busy and cosy night in De Jonge Admiraal, building on the success of the introduction of Pint of Science events to Amsterdam, in May 2018. Our 2 speakers from the NKI (Netherlands Cancer Institute) introduced us to the theory behind immunotherapy and on what progress is being made. First, Maarten Slagter, a PhD student, introduced us to the immune system, T Cells and exactly what the nobel prize was awarded for. He then expanded into the different treatments currently available and how each treatment shows good results but not to all patients. There are a vast number of variables that can affect which treatment is right for which patient and his research is focused on mapping all these variables. Then Leila Akkari, group leader at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, explored the local environment of tumors with us and in particular a specific cell; the macrophage! Her research is showing that this is an extremely awesome and promising cell to be used in future treatments. With some beautiful images and videos, it was a very captivating talk! Everyone stayed long after the talks drinking and asking the speakers inquisitive questions about their research. The interactive pub quiz, which was appropriately won by ‘Mr T Cell’. Thank you to everyone who attended and was involved in this event, and everyone from De Jonge Admiraal. We are preparing a wide range of topics for the May festival and look forward to spreading more science around the city! More details and events to follow so don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Central Team
With the second event of Pint of Science in Groningen, the local team was expecting to see more people coming, but they were not ready for the boom of science enthusiasts that filled the upper floor of the Café the Crown. For the occasion, around 40 people came to hear the two talks given by the amazing speakers from the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry of the University of Groningen. The night started with Clemens Mayer, fresh assistant professor, who introduced the very interesting topic of data storage using DNA as a containing device. Clemens engaged the public with catching examples, that made clear how much an emergency is to find new ways to store the huge amount of data that we generate daily. All the presents were challenged to answer a short quiz about the presentation and the winners enjoyed some pints sponsored by Pint of Science. After a pause to quench the thirst and to engage with the speaker, the floor went to Jeffrey Buter, postdoctoral fellow in the group of the Nobel laureate Ben Feringa. Jeffrey talked about another topic that is extremely relevant for the entire community, tuberculosis, and specifically he managed to explain in an accessible manner how the disease develops and, most importantly, in which way scientists are trying to fight the bacterium that is responsible for it. The night went on with a second quiz and with the presents having the occasion to directly question the two speakers about their work. More events will follow during the month of March thanks to the efforts of the Groningen team. More details and events to follow so don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Central Team
The Pint of Science team in Groningen was just born in October last year, and to start with the right foot, an event was organised in November in Café the Crown. The aim of this evening was to let the people in the city know about us, while engaging them with some scientific topics. The theme of the evening was “The Biotech in our Daily Life” and we covered aspects of biology and biotechnology that are relevant to the society in a general way. A presentation was given by Alejandro Gran Scheuch on the microorganisms from Antarctica and their ability to degrade diesel in contaminated areas. After a short quiz, where the 20 participants to the event had the opportunity to win some beers (we are named Pint of Science after all), the stage went to Friso Aalbers, who introduced some concepts on the many uses of enzymes in cheese and alcohol production and in the industrial processes to substitute pollutant chemicals. The interest of the heterogenous crowd that gathered in the pub was clear, as they invested the two speakers with questions relative to the various aspects of the introduced topic and above all on the potentialities and future developments of them. In general, the evening was a great success and the team in Groningen is looking forward to having some other of these events before the great festival in May 2019. Groningen is not the only city Pint of Science Netherlands has expanded to, with four other cities (Maastricht, Nijmegen, Eindhoven and Delft) setting up a Pint of Science team and working towards the main event in May (20th to the 22nd). More details and events to follow so don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Netherlands Team
One month ago, Pint of Science came to the Netherlands and brought science (and beer!) to a broader audience. For our first year we had four events in three cities, 21 speakers and sold more than 170 tickets. We even had an article on de Telegraaf! A massive thank you to everyone who participated - we really could not have done this without your contribution. A big thank you to our sponsors Macrogen, BaseClear and Genetwister, who believe in scientific communication and supporting us in our early days! If you haven’t completed the feedback form, we would greatly appreciate it if you could do so as it will help us make next year’s events better! :D So what next? While the events were successful this year, we are looking to improve on the events and expand the number of events and cities for the upcoming year. As this is Pint of Science Netherlands, we are looking to have talks in Dutch (alongside talks in English). To ensure that we can deliver to a greater audience, we need more volunteers so if you are interested in helping us out and promoting scientific communication to a broader audience, drop us an email at We will be taking a bit of a hiatus during the summer months but rest assured that we are brewing up ideas on how to make next year’s events #pint19 will be better so don’t forget to subscribe! Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Netherlands Team
Next Monday, the 14th of May, will be our first EVER Pint of Science event in the Netherlands (Wageningen and Amsterdam). Looking back to when we started organising this a couple months ago, we cannot believe how time flew by and how the events slowly unfolded (although finding venues on short notice was definitely a hurdle!). We have four events spanning three cities, which is more than what we thought we would be able to manage when starting to organise the events in late February. Just as a reminder, while the events are free, we will be checking tickets so please make sure that you and your friends have booked your tickets (or you could be denied entrance at the location) Which event to attend? Well, honestly, all of them are shaping up to be great nights with talks spanning from how eating poop can balance your gut, how the sun contributes to geomagnetic storms and to how people come to live and relate to places shaped by perpetual humanitarian governance. While you may be a whiz in a specific subject already, these events are a great way to discover the cutting edge research within the Netherlands that is going on in other specialities. In case you've forgotten the event details: Amsterdam 14th May – Hacking the Body, Mind and Society @ de Jonge Admiraal Javastraat 149 15th May – From Particles to Galaxies @ Café Checkpoint Charlie Nassaukade 48 Wageningen 14th May – Planet Earth and Our Society @ Loburg Molenstraat 6 Utrecht 15th May – Our Body to Galaxies and Beyond @ Louis Hartlooper Tolsteegbrug 1 So don't forget to tell your friends and colleagues and make sure you register for a ticket for the event! We look forward to seeing you at the event and share a biertje (or two) while listening to these talks. Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Netherlands Team #pint18 #PoS18 #PoSNL18
Since our last post we've been tidying up the final details, launching the event pages (which you can find here -> Wageningen, Utrecht, and Amsterdam) Here are the speakers we have lined up and what you can expect at each event (TLDR: it’s drinks, fun, and lots of interesting science! :D) Wageningen – Monday May 14th @ Café Loburg Our Wageningen event will be themed “Planet Earth and Our Society”. During that evening we will be hearing talks from 4 scientists, including ones about how we are going to feed a population that is set to hit 10 billion by 2050 (Prof. Vincenzo Fogliano), how we are combatting antibiotic resistance, which is one of the biggest problems in medicine today (Dr. Justin van der Hooft), and how we deal with humanitarian crises, which, as a result of climate change, looks like it is a topic that will be even more important than it has ever been (Bram Jansen). Lastly, we will hear Arni Janssen and Marjolein Derks discuss why considering the environment when expanding on agriculture is important for not only the ecosystem but also production. Utrecht – Tuesday May 15th @ Louis Hartlooper This event will cover everything from Our Bodies to Galaxies and Beyond! Again, we will have 4 speakers, including Prof. Christiane de Morais who will speak about how art informs the progress of physics, and how concepts from completely different fields can be applied to quantum mechanics. Prof. Marta Grootenhuis will tell us about what we can do to offset the psychological damage a cancer diagnosis can do to children. Prof. Alenandre Bonvin will be letting us play with a virtual reality device he uses to understand some of the fundamentals of life, and Dr. Carl Shneider will speak about the storms in space that threaten everything our modern society is built on. Amsterdam – Monday May 14th and Tuesday May 15th Monday May 14th @ de Jonge Admiraal This event is scheduled to have 6 speakers, and the theme of the evening is “Hacking the Body, Mind and Society”. We will hear how gene editing may treat disease and optimise our children (Santiago Gisler), and how eating poop (!) can balance your gut and heal your heart (Guido de Bakker). Erik Arnoutsen will explore how easy it is to control computers using brain implants, while James Elsey will get into the thorny topic of whether it is possible to erase memories in order to treat psychological trauma. We will hear from Annelies Vredeveldt whether our memories are at all reliable, and what we can do to improve eye witness testimonies. Finally, Esther Weltevreden will look at how social media and fake news bias our decisions and shape our society. Tuesday May 15th @ Café Checkpoint Charlie Our second Amsterdam event will be more physics focused, looking at everything From Particles to Galaxies. We will have 6 scientists talking about the smallest and the largest things in our universe and everything in between. Stan Bentsvelden will tell us about about the discovery of the Higgs Boson and why it is important. Erik van Heumen will explore weird types of matter that are completely foreign to us, but unite the smallest and biggest structures in the universe. Christian Majnez will speak about how the quantum revolution will change everything we know about computers, and Marcel Vonk will try to convince us that black holes hide in our midst. Each event will be fantastic so come join us for one (or two :D ) for a pint and some awesome science! Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Netherlands Team #pint18 #PoS18 #PoSNL18
This past week we have been slowly but steadily getting things together for PoS NL, and have several updates. As this is our first year in the Netherlands, we are organizing a limited number of events, with the idea of having a full festival in 2019. We will be launching the individual city events this week, but here is a taster of what is in store. Amsterdam is going to be our biggest event, where we will be in two locations over two nights. The Amsterdam team have confirmed their venues and are currently busy recruiting speakers. On May 14th we will be holding an event on the theme “Hacking the Body, Mind, and Society”, and that will be on in de Jonge Admiraal (Javastraat 149). This will be a broad ranging theme which will include talks about things like how we can hack our bodies, and the reliability of eye witness testimony. The following evening on May 15th we will be at Café Checkpoint Charlie (Nassaukade 48) for an event themed “From Particles to Galaxies”, where we will have speakers on things like the Higgs Boson and weird forms of matter that are neither solid, liquid nor gas! We can guarantee that there will be plenty of pints of certain liquids available at each venue however! In Wageningen our team has put together an event titled “Planet Earth and Our Society”. That will be held in Loburg (Molenstraat 6). At that event we will be chatting about how food science is helping us feed an exploding population, and about research into global development. It should be an extremely interesting and thought provoking evening. Our Utrecht team have confirmed that the event will be held at Louis Hartlooper (Tolsteegburg 1), and they are putting together the program for the evening. In that case we have decided to go with a broad roster of speakers, working in areas such as cancer, astronomy and molecular biology, so there won’t be a specific theme. Just lots of interesting science. We will also have an event in Delft, but details for that have yet to be finalized. It looks like we will have lots of very interesting talks in mid-May, so why don’t you join us for a drink and a chat about the cutting edge research happening in the Netherlands! Amsterdam 14th May – de Jonge Admiraal Javastraat 149 15th May – Café Checkpoint Charlie Nassaukade 48 Wageningen 14th May – Loburg Molenstraat 6 Utrecht 15th May – Louis Hartlooper Tolsteegbrug 1 Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Netherlands Team #pint18 #PoS18 #PoSNL18
Welcome to the Pint of Science website! Apart from tweeting and posting on Facebook, we are going to blog about how we are organising the event, why communication in science is important and believe in promoting science to the public. But first things first, What is Pint of Science? Pint of Science is an international science festival that takes place in May every year. It is exactly what it sounds like: scientists communicating their research over a pint of whatever beverage takes your fancy. In 2017, the festival took place in 175 cities in 9 countries across 4 continents, and this year we are bringing it to the Netherlands! As an event, Pint of Science aims to communicate the science in a relaxed, accessible way. We want an open atmosphere, where people can discuss science, and ask researchers questions about their latest discoveries. Where can I attend? This year we hope to have events in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Wageningen and Delft, with themes covering the latest research in topics such as genetics, neurobiology, physics and psychology. Why is it important? Science is prevalent in all facets of our lives nowadays, and the relationship between science and society is a complex one. Pint of Science aims to provide a platform for scientists and the public to engage at a more social level, and to give people with no prior knowledge of a subject an insight into the exciting work being carried out. The information doesn’t necessarily flow only in one direction either. This platform allows for mutual learning between scientists and members of the public, increasing scientists’ familiarity with a breadth of perspectives, frames, and worldviews. In a world where facts are increasingly coming under attack, this kind of engagement is essential for maintaining the trust between science and the public. And this year, we are going to host it in the Netherlands! So follow us on Twitter, Facebook and this blog and we'll keep you posted (and a teaser will be coming out shortly :D) Met vriendelijke groet, Pint of Science Netherlands Team #pint18 #PoS18 #PoSNL18