Fuelling the Future

MCEC’s first outreach symposium, on catalysis and sustainability, was held last 14 December in the Academy Hall in Utrecht. ‘Fuelling the Future’ was aimed at a broad audience and open to anyone who was interested. Throughout the day, around one hundred guests were present for lectures by Ib Chorkendoff, Regina Palkovits, Peter-Paul Verbeek (University of Twente) and Ewald Breunesse (Manager Energy Transitions at Shell, who replaced Marjan van Loon who unfortunately was unable to attend). Cartoonist Paul Schenk summarized the event in drawings. The topics and views presented, the presence of some protestors, as well as the interesting and very in-depth questions from the audience, made for a lively discussion round that continued well into the closing round of drinks.

MCEC PhDs Jasper Lozeman, Jeroen Vollenbroek and Anne-Eva Nieuwelink interviewed the speakers on their lectures, research and (scientific) views. Their articles (both in English and in Dutch) will be published in full in February, on this website and on mcec-researchcenter.nl. If you’d like to stay tuned, please sign up for our newsletter!


Peter-Paul Verbeek: “There are two styles of philosophy: analytical philosophy and continental philosophy. The analysts often have an exact-sciences approach. They want to base themselves on scientific facts and are mainly concerned with elucidating and finetuning concepts. Given my own background, that approach also rooted in me. At the same time, much of what I do is building on the continental tradition. (…) Philosophy to me has become more and more a kind of design: a way of designing concepts. “(Jeroen Vollenbroek, December 2017)


Regina Palkovits: “It is most important that, from the beginning, you make clear that the definition for being excellent in your field is not that you are best in using the most complex words. That is usually an attitude that people develop: using all the jargon from a specific field in presentations or use heavy numbers of abbreviations. But there is no chance for a collaboration if you proceed like this. So you have to forget about all your standard vocabulary and that sometimes makes your presentation appear maybe a bit trivial. But if you are brave enough to make this step, then you can profit a lot. If, really if, you lose the feeling that in definition a good scientist should use eloquent wording, which makes it impossible to communicate, you will have good collaborations.” (Anne-Eva Nieuwelink, December 2017)