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Launched in 2012, Pint of Science is an international science festival with the mission of demystifying scientific research. It takes place every year in May over three evenings during which science talks take place in bars and cafés in a language accessible to the general public. In May 2018, 120 000 attendees took part in this celebration of science across 274 cities and 21 countries all over Europe.

The ERC will be one of the sponsors of Pint of Science Belgium that will take place on 20-22 May in 15 different Belgian cities. ERC grantees based in Belgium will give talks and reach out to the general public.

20 May 2019 at 18:30

Bâtiment Creative Spark
Rue Emile Francqui 6, 1435 Mont-Saint-Guibert

Patrice Cani, Professor and Senior Research Associate FRS-FNRS, Université Catholique de Louvain, FNRS, WELBIO / ERC grantee

Quand votre matière fécale conditionne votre santé…

Venez découvrir comment les microbes de nos intestins influencent notre santé. Comment ils dialoguent avec nos organes, en particulier notre cerveau, et avec les tissus adipeux. Comment ils influencent notre appétit et même notre humeur ! Comment ils régulent le stockage de graisse dans notre corps et contribuent au développement de l’obésité et du diabète. Car vous n’êtes pas le seul à apprécier votre repas: quand vous festoyez, vos hôtes intestinaux sont à la fête aussi ! Enfin, venez faire la connaissance de Akkermansia muciniphila, la bactérie qui est au cœur des recherches de notre orateur.


20 May 2019 at 19:30
KFK hope
Rue des Poissoniers 21, 1000 Bruxelles

Pierre Vanderhaeghen, KU Leuven, VIB & Université Libre de Bruxelles / ERC grantee

What makes us human?

Or, at least, what makes our brain unique, even compared to our primate relatives? To try to address this question, we will go back to the very beginning, and we will dive into the fascinating process of the human brain development because it is at the roots of human brain evolution! And as our brain is still keeping a lot of secrets, we will also put ourselves into researchers shoes and see how they try to tackle this difficult question, using very diverse technologies, from human genomics to stem cell biology to neural circuit studies.


Leuven Centraal
Margarethaplein 3, Leuven

Taïssa Danilovich, Postdoctoral researcher, KU Leuven / Member of the ERC-funded team AEROSOL

Molecules in space

Molecules are tiny particles that are all around us here on Earth: in the air we breathe, the water we drink and all living things. Molecules are also found in space, where we can use them to learn about all sorts of things, from baby stars to distant galaxies. But if we can't even see the individual molecules around us, how can we see them in space where they are very far away? In my talk I will explain how astronomers use special telescopes to identify and study all sorts of molecules in space.


21 May 2019 at 19:30
Quai aux Briques 74, 1000 Bruxelles

Best of European Science

Kristien Hens, Bioethicist, University of Antwerp / ERC grantee

Innate vs acquired: what epigenetics tell us about moral responsibility

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


Dirk Jacobs, Director of Group for Research on Ethnic Relations, Migration and Equality, Université Libre de Bruxelles / ERC grantee

Bringing equal opportunities to immigrant children

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.


Karine Van Doninck, Professor, Laboratory of Evolutionary Genetics and Ecology (LEGE), University of Namur / ERC grantee

The evolutionary scandal: all you wanted to know about a strange little creature living in your garden moss

Have you ever heard about bdelloid rotifers? Chances are you have not, though these microscopic animals living in moss and lichen have been around for millions of years, and they are quite interesting fellows. This all-female species can survive in extreme conditions, and has persisted all this time despite the expected negative consequences of asexuality. Karine Van Doninck and her team are studying the mechanisms that prevent genome deterioration and promote diversification in the absence of sexual reproduction, shading some light on this "evolutionary scandal".


Dominic Bowman, Postdoctoral Researcher, member of an ERC-funded team, Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven

The music of the stellar symphony

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.


KFK hope
Rue des Poissoniers 21, 1000 Bruxelles

Patrik Verstreken, Principal Investigator, VIB-KU Leuven / ERC grantee

Fruit flies look more like us than you think

Our brain is a fascinating organ, capable or forming memories, producing thought, coordinating our behavior. This is an extremely complex process still not entirely understood. Many organisms have a brain, also fruit flies, and what is exciting is that many of the processes that occur in our brains are also at play in a fruit flies’ brain. Deciding to eat or sleep, finding the motivation to take complicated actions, learning to avoid hazardous situations, flight in three dimensions, mating rituals or defending a source of food, their brains do it all. I'll discuss how researchers use fruit flies to understand better humans brain functions.


Goudsbloemstraat 50, Leuven

Tom Lemmens, Ph.D. student, KU Leuven / Member of the ERC-funded team HoloQosmos

Have we seen Gargantua?

Have we actually seen a black hole in real life? The movie Interstellar gave us the most accurate representation of a black hole in a movie to date but how was this image made? And can't we just point our most powerful telescopes at the nearest black hole and find out? Black holes are a common occurrence in science fiction and they are equally common in ongoing research. There's much about them which we still don't know even though they have been around in physics for more than a 100 years. So how do we know for sure that they actually exist at all?


Kantienberg 9, 9000 Gent

Vikram Virdi, Postdoctoral Researcher, VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology / Member of the ERC-funded team GlycoTarget

What's for dinner? Antibodies!

Many diseases are treated nowadays with antibodies, pieces of our own immune system that have been engineered. However, until now, these engineered antibodies needed to be given through injections. But no more: Dr Vikram Virdi and a team of ambitious researchers have designed a system where antibodies can be 'eaten'! This will have a huge impact leading to more possibilities in the way we treat diseases. Ever wondered what antibodies taste like? Come and find!


Kantienberg 9, 9000 Gent

Axel Cleeremans, Director, Neuroscience Institute, Université Libre de Bruxelles /ERC grantee

Consciousness: is this what separates us from machines? (Title TBC)

[Tentative description] Prof. Axel Cleeremans is developing a new theory, the Radical Plasticity Thesis, maintaining that consciousness is a long-lasting property of our brain rather than just a static feature. In order to test it, he is taking a multidisciplinary approach including psychological studies and advanced brain imaging.


Irish Pub Hasselt
Fruitmarkt 32, 3500 Hasselt

Bart Vermang, Hoofddocent, University of Hasselt / ERC grantee

What does the future of solar energy look like?

Increasing the share of renewable energy in the electricity system is key in our transition to a low-carbon economy. Many trends and models indicate that solar energy will become the main source of (renewable) energy in the near future. But how does a solar powered society look like? Prof. Dr Bart Vermang will give us a glimpse of the next generation of high efficiency solar panels that may power your house, car, bicycle or event phone in the future.

22 May 2019 at 19:30

Brussels Beer Project
Rue Antoine Dansaert 188, 1000 Bruxelles

Axel Cleeremans, Director, Neuroscience Institute, Université Libre de Bruxelles /ERC grantee

Consciousness: is this what separates us from machines?

While computers can calculate or recognise faces, they are not aware of themselves (yet?). Consciousness is in the essence of human beings; its nature, however, appears to lack a reliable explanation. Prof. Axel Cleeremans is developing a new theory, the Radical Plasticity Thesis, maintaining that consciousness is a long-lasting property of our brain rather than just a static feature. In order to test it, he is taking a multidisciplinary approach including psychological studies and advanced brain imaging.


KFK hope
Rue des poissoniers 21, 1000 Bruxelles

Olivier Collignon, Principal Investigator, Research associate FNRS, Université Catholique de Louvain, FNRS / ERC grantee

Building a brain in the dark

The human brain evolved highly specialised regions dedicated to the refined processing of visual information. What does happen to these regions if you are born blind? Are they simply left dormant and unused? No! In case of blindness, the brain reorganises itself and the regions normally dedicated to vision now involved in the processing of information from the remaining senses. This demonstrates the fascinating ability of the brain to change the tuning of its neurons due to experience, a mechanism called brain plasticity. But what happens then if a blind person recovers sight?


De Spuye
Tervuursevest 101, Leuven

Cole Johnston, Ph.D student, KU Leuven / Member of the ERC-funded team MAMSIE

Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are

Simply put, there are countless stars. Yet every year, we build expensive missions to observe more and more of them. New space telescope missions are on track to observe more than 1,000,000,000 stars, despite there being only about 10,000 professional astronomers in the world. The question then becomes, just how do we figure out what all these stars are? Here, I will talk about how astronomers manage to figure out what all these stars are, which ones are the most interesting for detailed investigation, and what we learn from looking at so many in the first place.