On 3 September, the Spui in Amsterdam was transformed into a public lecture hall, as leading professors from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) gave lectures on their field of study in the Glass House of Science of Scholarship throughout the day.
In a series of mini-lectures, they explained their academic work in an accessible manner. The Glass House of Science of Scholarship is one of the activities which the UvA is organising in 2012 to mark its 380-year anniversary. The fifteen mini-lectures each lasted 20 minutes and spanned disciplines as diverse as law, health, neuroscience, globalisation, natural science and sustainability.
‘The UvA’s aim with the Glass House was to bring education to the city: to share knowledge from all the faculties with everyone, one time only for one day only, right in the heart of Amsterdam,’ said the UvA’s Rector Magnificus Dymph van den Boom.
The programme was broad, with all the UvA’s research priority areas represented. Sociologist and lecturer of the year Gerben Moerman kicked off. Agricultural scientist Louise Fresco talked about the price of food, psychiatrist Damien Denys talked about the sense of abnormality and Henkjan Honing gave a lecture on man as musical animal.
There were big names like Alexander Rinnooy Kan and former Dutch government minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin. Barbara Baarsma and Arnoud Boot talked about economics, brain researcher Victor Lamme research into our brains and Joep Leerssen about nationalism in Europe. Top researcher and chemist Gadi Rothenberg talked about sustainability and Amsterdam Medical Center (UvA-AMC) dean and specialist Marcel Levi discussed eternal life.
The Glass House was the same structure used by 3FM Serious Request, but was not organised in collaboration with this Dutch radio station. Unlike the 3FM DJs, the professors were allowed to leave the Glass House after their mini-lectures.
The Glass House took place as part of the UvA’s lustrum (anniversary occurring every five years), the theme being 380 years of curiosity.