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Groningen University at the Noorderzon festival

The evolution pavillion, molecular motors, sugar and more
09 August 2017

17 August marks the start of the 11-day Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival in our beautiful Noorderplantsoen park. This year, young and old will return home from Groningen’s international arts festival much smarter, thanks to the University of Groningen (UG). The University of Groningen and its partners are presenting three lectures for children, an evolution pavilion, six academic lectures and a debate. The opportunity of a lifetime to refresh your knowledge for a small fee.

The ‘Evolve’ pavilion

Why do woodlice have gills? And why do we have an appendix? It’s evolution! At the end of August evolutionary biologists from all over the world will meet at the University of Groningen for an international conference . This is why we are setting up a pavilion about evolutionary biology at the Noorderzon Festival. From 20 to 24 August the Evolve pavilion will demonstrate how evolution works through interactive set-ups, experiments and ongoing interactive research. Join us in building a large DNA sculpture or come along on a safari, and discover how plants and animals to adapt to the city. Ask all your burning questions in the evolution café, or attend one of our scientists’ flash lectures.

Courtship Dance

In the evenings theatre show De Balts offers a mix of art and science ; a courtship dance of animals. The programme was developed by Science LinX – the University of Groningen science cent re – together with biologists of the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) and is supported by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. Admission to Evolve is free of charge, with the exception of the theatre show.

Lectures for children at Rotor

Each year the University of Groningen pre-University Academy presents three great children’s lectures at Rotor, the Noorderzon young visitors’ programme. For only EUR 3 each, 8 to 12-year-olds can join us in the Horatio tent for one of the following lectures:

18 August - So what is sugar actually? Everyone has heard of and most people like it: sugar! Sugars come in many shapes and sizes, and not just in your food. While we all know that you shouldn’t eat too much candy, some sugars are actually healthy. University of Groningen researcher Marthe Walvoort specialises in the chemistry of sugar molecules. In this lecture, she will introduce you to the wonderful world of sugars.

19 August - Molecular engines in a nutshell In 2016 Professor Ben Feringa of the University of Groningen won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the development of nano engines: cars made of molecules that are 1 ,000,000,000 times smaller than one of your hairs. How did they do this research? And will we ever be able to use nano engines in medicine? Two of Feringa’s colleagues, Erik Pinxterhuis en Paco Visser, will explain all this in a children’s lecture.

20 August - A monster under your bed? Have you ever seen a monster under your bed or felt your phone buzz while there was no incoming call? You are not crazy: it simply has to do with how your brain works. The brain is constantly playing ‘guessing games’, trying to interpret the meaning of all the stimuli that enter through your senses. The brain makes clever use of information from your memory and your surroundings. Researcher Jacob Jolij will teach you all about it.

Academic lectures and debate

Can’t wait for classes to start again in September? Between 21 and 26 August the University of Groningen and Studium Generale will treat you to six lectures and a debate [P21] at the Noorderzon Festival. At various locations in the Noorderplantsoen park; admission varies from EUR 3 to 7.50 per person.

  • 21 August: Ewald Engelen (Studium Generale) , Whose fault is it? (Wiens schuld is het?)
  • 22 August: Dr Thijs Lijster (UG) , Kleist, Kafka and Coetzee about the ‘state of exception’. (Kleist, Kafka en Coetzee over de ‘uitzonderingstoestand’)
  • 23 August: Lectures and debate (UG) , Follow the leader? Debate on the influence of art on politics and society with, among others, Pascal Gielen (University of Antwerp), Julian Hetzel (theatre maker) and Mark Yeoman (Noorderzon) ( Follow the leader?
    Debat over de invloed van kunst op politiek en maatschappij)
  • 23 August: Boris Nikolai Konrad (Studium Generale) , The Science and Methods of Memory Champions
  • 24 August: Prof. Liesbeth Korthals Altes (UG) , The writer as the thorn in the flesh. (De schrijver als luis in de pels)
  • 25 August: Dr Melanie Schiller (UG) , Soundtracking Germany – 70 years of imagining the nation from Schlager to Techno
  • 26 August: Ronald Hünneman (UG) , MA, The art of enjoyment . (De kunst van het genot)

The 27th edition of the Noorderzon Festival takes place from Thursday 17 to Sunday 27 August 2017. The full programme, including information about locations and starting times can be found on .

Last modified:07 August 2020 11.47 a.m.
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