Amsterdam Science Now: Flirty moths, screaming balls and your brain on caffeine

In cooperation with Amsterdam Science Magazine

31mei2018 17:00 - 18:30


We welcome you to attend the first ever Amsterdam Science Now, where three contributors to the latest issue of this popular science magazine give you a flavour of what they’ve been working on and why it makes them tick. This first edition is all about sexual selection, the physical behaviour of hydrogel balls in a hot pan, and how coffee affects your brain.

Amsterdam Science is a popular science magazine that aspires to share the enormous diversity, quality, creativity and enthusiasm of the Amsterdam scientific community. It is a platform for researchers from all stages of scientific career to share their latest and most interesting findings with a broad audience that spans beyond their own department.

About the programme and speakers

Why we are not all equally attractive

To start off, Prof Astrid Groot will tell you about the complexities of moth mating choices, and how this can offer an explanation for why we’re not all equally attractive. Groot is Professor in Population and Evolutionary Biology at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam. She leads a research group whose main focus is understanding the evolution of sexual communication and its relation to the evolutionary formation of distinct species.

The elastic Leidenfrost effect

Next, Dr. Scott Waitukaitus will explain what makes hydrogel balls scream when they’re thrown into a hot pan, and how we can use this phenomenon to make so-called ‘soft engines’. Waitukaitus is post-doctoral researcher in the Mechanical Metamaterials group at AMOLF and Leiden University. He and his collaborators discovered a new phenomenon that affects ‘squishy’ materials in contact with a hot surface: the elastic Leidenfrost effect.

How caffeine affects your brain

Last but not least, Dr. Amber Kerkhofs will tell us how drinking a cup of coffee affects how our brain cells communicate with each other, and what short- and long-term effects this has on us. Kerkhofs is currently finishing her PhD project at the Centre for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) at the VU University, Amsterdam. She is also a policy officer for the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and one of the founders of the science outreach initiative Scientist Wanted.


You can sign up for this program for free. If you subscribe for the program we count on your presence. If you are unable to attend, please let us know via | T: +31 (0)20 525 8142.

Location: SPUI25