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Best of European Science

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21 May 2019




21:00 (more or less) 

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Quai aux Briques 74
1000 Bruxelles

Wheelchair accessible





In partnership with the European Research Council


What do the topics of evolution, moral responsibility and equal opportunities have in common? Scientific excellence, that's what! This event brings together three top Belgian scientists whose research is supported by the European Research Council (ERC). Join Dominic Bowman, Karine Van Doninck, Kristien Hens and Dirk Jacob for this very special journey through space, genetics, bioethics and sociology.

The music of the stellar symphony

Dominic Bowman

Postdoctoral Researcher, member of an ERC-funded team

Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven

Stars are the building blocks of galaxies in the universe, and are responsible for making most of the chemical elements on the periodic table. Star quakes in vibrating stars cause their surfaces to twinkle and shimmer, which astronomers use to study what is going on inside them, similarly to how geologists study earthquakes on the Earth. From pulsars to even our own star – the Sun – there are many different types of pulsating stars in the universe, each providing a different piece of the puzzle to understanding the cosmos.

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Innate vs acquired: what epigenetics tell us about moral responsibility

Kristien Hens

Bioethicist , ERC Grantee

University of Antwerp, Department of Philosophy

Psychiatric conditions are traditionally conceptualized as innate or acquired, biological or psycho social, genetic or environmental. But it is never that simple, is it? Findings in the field of epigenetics indicate that the social and physical environment influence how genes are expressed, leading to a far more complex and nuanced view on psychiatric disorders, with ethical implications. Kristien Hens focuses her research on such ethical implications, and what it means for our perception of moral responsibility

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Bringing equal opportunities to immigrant children

Dirk Jacobs

Professor in sociology , ERC Grantee

Université Libre de Bruxelles

The home situation of children has a considerable impact on educational attainment, for a multitude of reasons. On top of that, pupils who find themselves in schools with a high concentration of children of disfavoured background tend to score badly. School systems in Europe that are highly segregated often do poorly in assuring equal opportunities, particularly for children of migrant background. Prof. Dirk Jacobs and his team from the EQUOP project examined why this is the case and explore pathways to combine equal opportunities and excellence in education for all children.

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