About the programme
The Power of the Sun brings together literary scholars, astronomers, designers and climate scientists to illuminate our cultural histories and imagine new solar futures. Due to the current climate crisis, diverging conceptions of Sun and its relation to our existence have come into being. What is the future of our dealings with the Sun, and, taking into account climate catastrophe and increasing inequality, what kind of transitions are needed to create a more democratic use of solar power? How do we retain our place under the Sun?
Since the beginning of human history, the Sun has been central in making sense of our existence. As the source of life, the Sun has been worshipped, mystified, harvested, and feared. With the Copernican Revolution, we have realized that the earth – and consequently, humanity – is in fact not at the centre of the universe. Indeed, the Sun has eclipsed the earth. But that has not always been the case. How was the Sun conceived and visualized throughout the centuries? And what do these imaginations of the ‘immense lemon yellow disc’, as Vincent van Gogh described the Sun, tell us about our place under it?
About the speakers
Sophie Battell is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Zurich and NIAS Fellow from February-June 2023. She researches early modern literature and culture. As a NIAS Fellow, she is working on her second book, Sun Cultures in Early Modern England.
Marjan van Aubel is an award-winning innovative solar designer who’s studio Marjan van Aubel Studio brings solar energy into daily life. Designing for a positive future through combining the fields of sustainability, design and technology. She is co-organiser of the Solar Biennale and author of Solar Futures (2022).
Misha Velthuis is a lecturer at the Amsterdam University College. His interests range from Earth/Environmental Sciences and statistics/modelling to the field of Science and Technologies and its focus on the politics of knowledge.
Lex Kaper is full professor Observational Astrophysics and Instrument Development at the University of Amsterdam and adjunct professor Education in Astronomy at the VU University Amsterdam. His research group works on the formation, evolution and fate of massive stars.
Zará Kars (moderator) is a Public Historian and Programme Manager Arts & Science at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS).
This NIAS Talk takes place at SPUI25. You’re welcome to join this programme. Entrance is free but registration is required.
NIAS Talks @ SPUI25
Each month NIAS organises a NIAS Talk at SPUI25. During the NIAS Talks fellows of the Institute engages with artists, scholars and journalists on interdisciplinary themes that touch upon public debate. Most of our talks are livestreamed and recorded. To (re)view our previous talks, please visit our YouTube channel.