Research Symposium Shines Light on the Role of Language in Engaging Audiences in New (Quantum) Technology

On November 6, our research symposium The Role of Language in Engaging Audiences in New (Quantum) Technology took place. This was made possible by the Network Institute and NeFCA and organised as part of Aletta Meinsma’s (PhD student Quantum & Society, Leiden University) visit to Gudrun Reijnierse (Assistant Professor Language & Communication, VU University). The symposium aimed to establish an interdisciplinary research community of people interested in the areas where language, public engagement and emergent quantum technology meet. The symposium brought together a diverse group of around 30 people which included physicists, humanities scholars and social scientists amongst others.

A total of 14 speakers covered a wide range of topics. Examples of topics discussed included the effect of the use of metaphors in communication about new technology, conversations between scientists and citizens in community centres, the popular media’s portrayal of quantum technology as a monster, and many more. As the event was held at Restaurant De Bosbaan, participants had the opportunity to take a walk after lunch in ‘het Amsterdamse Bos’. Other networking opportunities were during playing quantum games (check out here), and later during drinks and dinner.

Some of the comments from participants we received afterwards:

  • “The symposium was AMAZING! I woke up in the middle of the night with a brain full of ideas; it was extremely inspiring, a great combination of people and research backgrounds and everything worked so smoothly.”
  • “It was like a well-structured literature review where speakers presented one well-chosen research paper and all sessions formed a coherent paragraph.”
  • “Thanks for organizing the great event!”

    Attendees on their walk around the Amsterdamse Bos