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Doctoral student came second in EUTOPIA's Science Slam

News: Nov 28, 2022

In November he competed, together with eight other young European researchers, in the art of presenting their research in a popular science format in less than five minutes. Luca Versteegen, a doctoral student in political science, came second in the Science Slam competition in Ljubljana.

– I’m incredibly happy with my presentation. I felt that my message got across and received a great response from the audience, says Luca Versteegen.

The competition, which was conducted as part of EUTOPIA Week, took place in the main lecture hall at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television, and was streamed live; in addition to a jury and audience voting, you could also vote online. The winner was the favourite Matevz Dular from the University of Ljubljana, who spoke about exploding bubbles and how to manipulate them.

Emotions such as hate and love govern political values and how we vote. It is the starting point of Luca’s thesis work, which deals with the psycho-social reasons for the overwhelming success of the far right in the last 10–20 years.

The secret behind a successful performance is to prepare meticulously, but above all to connect with the audience and to use humour, Luca believes.

– It is important to relate the content to people's everyday experiences and questions, so I tried to connect it to the current political situation in Slovenia. I linked my presentation to a more general theory of party sympathy and emotions; you tend to think less of a person whose political views differ dramatically from your own. It's like dating someone who at first glance is nice and sociable but when you find out they sympathize with a party from the other side of the political spectrum, it can lead to a change in your feelings.

Luca thinks it goes without saying that, as a young researcher, he should take part in various popular science events.

– In addition to being fun, it's actually part of our job. For me, popular science is a way of paying back the taxpayers for the research that I conduct. Many researchers think that their research is finished when they have written a scientific article, but I have always seen it as self-evident. Furthermore, it provides great preparation for other career paths, where you benefit tremendously from being able to communicate. Then it doesn't really matter how many articles you have written.

This was the third time that Luca has competed in the Science Slam – he also came second in April.

– Similarly, to the Eurovision Song Contest, it is not an entirely impartial competition, but it is still fun and educational. I hope my performance contributed to a little more love and a little less hate.


Page Manager: Staff Portal|Last update: 12/5/2022

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Print date: 2023-03-26

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