Researchers celebrate around the clock

Published Sep 04, 2017

The speakers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology seminar marathon have now been announced. The marathon will be held during the anniversary week in October that celebrates the 100th year founding of the university campus.
“It will be a very interesting programme that demonstrates the full breadth and depth of the whole of KTH,” says Donnie SC Lygonis, who will host the seminar marathon.

Do you want to know more about the space telescope that was developed in a basement at KTH? Or learn about smart electricity grids or how the connected society will look in 50 years? Then come to the seminar marathon at the Dome of Visions during the anniversary week in mid-October, when KTH will celebrate the 100th birthday of the founding of its campus on Valhallavägen.

Starting at lunchtime on Tuesday 17 October, the seminar marathon will involve a hundred researchers, professors, lecturers and alumni tell exciting stories about KTH’s history and contemporary and future research. Each speaker will talk for 20 minutes before the next one takes over. This will continue around the clock until Thursday 19 October at 2 pm.

The non-stop seminar event is primarily aimed at KTH staff and students, but others in the academic world or beyond will find it of interest and anyone is welcome to come along.

The seminars are grouped into nine different topics: urbanism, life science, space, mobility, energy, societal development, teaching and learning, communication, and environment and resources.

Live stream online

“Considering the interesting content, I think there will be many different types of people there and a good range of audience members in the Dome of Visions,” says Donnie SC Lygonis, a business development coach at KTH Innovation. “I also think there will be great interest among our alumni worldwide in following the live stream online. The TEDx audience is very active and interested, as is the start-up world.”

Which are the “must see” programme items?
“That’s a tough question. I think the organisers have really managed to put together a wide-ranging and interesting programme. But I don’t want to miss the night session about space, even if I’m not hosting at that point.”

One of the speakers on the space topic is astrophysicist Mark Pearce. He will take to the floor at 1.30am and explain how, among other things, he was involved in building the space telescope that was sent up in a balloon twice the size of Stockholm’s Globen arena last year to measure X-rays from the Crab Nebula.

“It will be very enjoyable to be part of the 100th anniversary celebrations in this exciting and inspiring form,” says Mark Pearce. “It will certainly be a challenge to squeeze what I want to say into 20 minutes, and at night. But space is quite easy to sell, so there’ll probably be plenty of energy in the audience.”

Mark Pearce hopes that the audience will include plenty of young people.

“I’m passionate about my research and I would like to inspire young people to choose a scientific path and help them understand the importance of scientific methodology – which is particularly important in these times when so much that is published is based on hazy or unfounded information.”

New target groups

Kerstin Forsberg is one of the speakers in the field of sustainability. She is also looking forward to speaking to a partially new audience in an exciting and different context. She is a lecturer in chemical engineering and focuses her research on resource recycling.

“Among other things, I’ll be talking about how our research team develops separation processes in order to recycle valuable metals from, for example, nickel-metal hybrid batteries, which are common in consumer electronics and electric cars. I’d also like to convey the enjoyment that can be gained from working with research and education and all the possibilities that arise from working on problem solving with people from all over the world.”

Kerstin Forsberg considers the anniversary event to be a good way to highlight KTH’s research for new audiences.

“In addition to KTH students, I hope that there will also be some spontaneous visitors who just drop in while passing.”

Documented for the future

When Donnie SC Lygonis was asked by the KTH Communications Department if he would like to be a host for the seminar marathon he said yes “without a second thought”.

“The seminar marathon is a very exciting and different event that will attract a lot of interest,” Lygonis says. “It’s also great that it will be documented for the future so that in another 100 years people can see what we were doing in 2017.”

Hosting a total of 50 hours of seminars without interruption will be a tough task for Lygonis and the student who will share the hosting responsibilities.

“The idea is that we’ll put in shifts of five to six hours and rest and sleep between them,” says Lygonis. “I’m not actually sure where I’m going to sleep, but after ten years in the military I don’t think it will be a problem; I’ve slept in far more uncomfortable places.”

Do you have any tips on how you and the audience can stay awake?
“Plan a schedule and combine that with short breaks and fresh air.”

Text: Per-Ola Knutas

Facts: Anniversary week

The seminar marathon is the highlight of the Campus 100 week, which begins on Monday 16 October. The celebrations will include activities all over KTH. Here are some of the highlights:

  • App tour: The Campus 100 project group and the property owner Akademiska hus have developed a special app that provides a guide to the university area and its rich architectural history.
  • Exhibitions will be arranged at the entrance to KTH, in the main library and in the teaching building.
  • A light exhibition, with master’s degree students from the KTH Lighting Department, will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Art tours with KTH’s art guides, will take place at lunchtime on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Lab tours of KTH’s lab environments will take place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Operadax, led by conductor Gunnar Julin, will conclude the anniversary week with a concert on Nybrokajen.

Read more about the celebrations here  and on KTH’s Facebook page

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