CEU Launches Popular Science Lecture Series

A new lecture series discussing popular scientific topics kicks off on February 7. The first three events of the “Knowledge Knows No Limits” series focus on scientific research conducted by Central European University’s professors in the areas of climate change, cognitive science and network science.

Each lecture also includes a professor from another Hungarian university or expert from the field, as well as a popular Hungarian figure who can provide practical ways to incorporate the research discussed into everyday life.

“It is essential to include speakers who can provide an account of how science contributes to our society from different perspectives,” said CEU Pro-Rector for Hungarian Affairs Zsolt Enyedi. “People want to know about the practical steps that they can take to make life better on earth. These lectures will discuss and offer advice on how ordinary people are affected by the phenomena studied by scholars.”

The first lecture, “Climate Change – How Can We Stop It?,” examines what we can expect from a future where climate change goes unaddressed and discusses the options we have for reducing its effects. Speakers include Diana Urge-Vorsatz, professor in CEU's Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy; Csaba Korosi, director of environmental sustainability at the Office of the President of the Republic of Hungary; and Reka Nagy, author of the Okoanyu blog and several books on sustainable living.

All lectures will be held in Hungarian, with simultaneous English translation, so that any Hungarian citizens curious about the topics can attend. To attract local Hungarian attendees that may not have ever visited CEU for a lecture before, the university is promoting the events though traditional and social media.

“One goal of this lecture series is to promote the importance of Hungarian science and Hungarian research as a whole,” said Flora Laszlo, acting director of CEU’s Community Engagement Office. To achieve this, the lectures will also be recorded and edited for television, thus having the potential to reach a much wider Hungarian audience than the events themselves.

The series expands on CEU’s ongoing efforts to engage the public and provide programming that benefits Hungarian society. Such efforts include the InnovationsLab, the Public Policy Lab, open access to the CEU Library for local students and researchers, the Romani Studies Program and a number of volunteer activities throughout the year. You can read more about CEU’s civic engagement activities and cooperation with Hungarian academic life at this link.

“Universities and academics have an obligation to help their communities. If society does not feel that universities have a tangible use, then people will not understand why money goes into higher education and research, and they will not understand why the fight for academic freedom is so important. The work at universities isn’t done for its own sake; it’s done with the larger social purpose in mind,” said Enyedi.