1. Faculté des Sciences
  2. Accueil
  3. Agenda

Science & Cocktails @Flagey with Robbert Dijkgraaf

Publié le 3 juin 2019 Mis à jour le 3 juin 2019

3 juillet 2019 de 19:00 - Flagey

In the framework of the largest string theory conference in the world, Strings 2019, Science and Cocktails is organizing a special event at Flagey. We'll be sipping cocktails in the art-deco building with string theorist and science superstar Robbert Dijkgraaf as he'll tell us all about the fundamental laws of Nature. Afterwards, cellist and composer Benjamin Glorieux will perform a musical piece together with invited guests especially commissioned for the occasion, while live-video artist Klaas Verpoest will accompany them with his visual magic.

What is string theory? What happens to stuff that falls inside a black hole? What are the fundamental building blocks of space and time? Did Nature have any choice in picking the fundamental laws of physics? What is the role of mathematics in physics?

For decades, since the discovery of quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of relativity, scientists have been trying to combine the two perspectives of the world into one single unified theory. These two theories describe most of reality, ranging from the largest structures in the Universe to the smallest particles. Yet, when these two theories meet there are serious limitations to our understanding, such as what space and time are made of, the inside of a black hole or the Big Bang.

One of the results of these decades of constant search is string theory: where the strangeness of quantum reality and the weirdness of relativity theory come together and create something even more puzzling - a world with extra dimensions. String theory says that there is only one fundamental object in the universe: the string. Much like the strings in a guitar give rise to different sounds when you pluck them, the strings of string theory give rise to the different constituents of the observed reality when you make them vibrate at different energies. Is everything in the world made of strings? If so, what is a black hole?

String theory in its many incarnations provides a theoretical framework to answer some of the deepest questions, often with surprising results. At the same time, it raises some disturbing new questions, making painfully clear how little we understand of our Universe. And it couldn’t be better than having one the most amazing string theorists in the whole wide world to explain this to you!

The musical performance tonight has us all very excited as well. We have asked cellist, composer and conductor Benjamin Glorieux to put together a performance especially for the occasion and inspired by `strings' in all its varieties. He enthusiastically agreed and is working together with Anthony Romaniuk (piano) and Jo Thielemans (electronics) to put together something truly amazing. Benjamin also invited the Rembrandt Frerichs Trio to perform on the straight strung grand piano, developed by Chris Maene. All of this combined with the extraterrestrial acoustics of Studio 4 will surely be an unforgettable experience.

The visual aspect of the performance will be covered by video-performer Klaas Verpoest, who has been realizing live video graphics for various (contemporary) classical compositions since 2006. His aim is to create an experience that at times illustrates a clear synergy between the picture and the sound – and at other times a strong contrast between these two experiences.

We have no idea exactly what will happen, but with these amazing artists we know we are in good hands. It is bound to be a unique experience, which can only be seen, heard and felt at this special incarnation of Science and Cocktails at Flagey!

Find more info on

Le 13 juillet 2019