This page features the programme modules and theme weeks at Think Corner in 2014.
Think Corner programme 2014
How does climate change impact Arctic regions? How are oil disasters studied in the Arctic? What will Arctic business be like in the future – on whose terms will it be conducted and who will be responsible for it?
The University of Helsinki's Think Corner and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are organising The Arctic Future events in early December to discuss topical Arctic issues concerning the environment and economy together with experts in the field. Welcome to listen and participate in the discussion on the development of the Arctic regions.
Modernisation will not work in Russia – or will it? Can Putin’s popularity be explained by economic growth? What will happen if the Russian economy collapses? Are we in an information war, and who is pulling the strings? What are the possibilities and requirements for promoting democracy and freedom of speech in Russia?
Current and future developments in Russia raise many important questions. It is impossible to understand Russia through just one discipline or academic collaboration alone. We need a new concept, RussiaHUB Helsinki, which connects the most important Russia experts in the Helsinki region from different fields of science, politics and finance.
Think Corner will see the launching of RussiaHUB Helsinki on 17–21 November. Come join us! The University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute is coordinating RussiaHUB Helsinki.
Your daughter Emma, born today, will live to see the 22nd century. What will our society be like then? Will the Nordic welfare state still exist? Who will pay for Emma's retirement, and how will your grandson Onni receive treatment for his diabetes? Will beer, cigarettes and processed sausage still be available in stores? The occupants in your building cooperate to arrange the cleaning of the stairwell and groceries for the old lady next door, but you hear talk of another gated community under construction in the more expensive neighbourhood of Westend in Espoo. In 2100, the limits of welfare will have become stark. With irreversible climate change, there may not be enough bread and circuses to go around. Will today’s hot topic, the Finnish social and health care reform, even be remembered?
This autumn, Think Corner discusses the welfare state of the future. Details on the programme will be announced in August and September.
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Its European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva is the leading research centre for particle physics (i.e., the study of the basic structure of matter) and not only employs Finnish researchers, but also houses the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the world's largest particle accelerator. In 2012, researchers working on the LHC discovered the Higgs boson, which had been sought for decades – a discovery that led to a Nobel Prize in 2013 for the theoreticians who predicted the particle’s existence.
The CERN anniversary week at Think Corner between 29 September and 3 October discusses research on the basic structure of matter and the role that matter plays in the universe. Since CERN is an important developer of new technologies, one day will be dedicated to its achievements in information technology. The week will also feature an educational perspective on science when Think Corner hosts events discussing the science camps for upper-secondary school students organised at CERN as well as the dissemination of research data in schools. Finnish experts will present the latest research and results from CERN.
How will the Ukrainian crisis affect the future of Europe? What kind of new borders have been drawn across Europe? How do we define what will be allowed and what will be forbidden in the future? What are the values on which European cooperation will be built?
The new division of Europe theme week at Think Corner will have experts steering discussion on the new iron curtains falling across Europe. The focus is on Europe, its values, wellbeing and spheres of power. Why is wellbeing unevenly distributed across Europe, and what are the future implications of this inequality? How are equality, human rights and freedom of expression protected in different parts of Europe? Where are the boundaries between conservative and liberal Europe? How does Europe carry out justice, and how will it define its spheres of power in the future?
The theme week is organised by the Aleksanteri Institute in cooperation with the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Law.
We all live somewhere, and where we live, we call home. However, home is much more than a place. It’s the feeling that bolsters our identity. Home can mean a city or a country that is important to us or a place where we feel comfortable.
In May–August, the University of Helsinki hosts discussions on homes, living and habitats. Researchers from different fields will guide us on a return trip to landscapes, Helsinki, urban living, metropolitan politics, the differentiation of neighbourhoods and homelessness.
The theme At home in the city features the new urban academy and highlights the dialogue research and researchers engage in with the audience and the environment.
Known as the most polluted sea in the world, the Baltic Sea has for centuries served as a connection between its surrounding areas as well as a channel for transport and trade. Pollution both on land and sea burden the shallow sea, and busy boat traffic increases the serious risk of an oil spill. In addition, chemicals travel from the catchment area boasting 85 million people into the sea, where they can cause unexpected effects. On the other hand, international cooperation to improve the situation of the Baltic Sea has increased, and this year the focus is on the Gulf of Finland.
During the week beginning on 12 May, Think Corner examines the old and new challenges for the Baltic Sea as well as the significance of the focus on the Gulf of Finland in 2014. Until 15 May, Think Corner will also house an exhibition on the Gulf of Finland, which revealed what lies beneath the surface. The events are a part of the Science Days event organised by the Helsinki University Centre for Environment (HENVI), which also featured other open events.
The capacity and abilities of the human brain may seem magical, but scientific research into their function is progressing rapidly: new secrets of neurons and brain chemicals are revealed every month. State-of-the-art equipment provides an increasingly detailed image of the function of our brain.
Between February and April, Think Corner will host researchers from several different fields to spark discussion on how society and all of us should recognise the psychophysical facts: what our brain can do and how its function can be maintained. The brain is an astoundingly adaptable organ, but we can't ask it to do just anything. Neither should we expose it to all the stress we often do in our daily hustle and bustle.
A great deal has been said about pampering and maintaining the brain – not all of it based on fact. At Think Corner we get ready to bust some myths and turn cutting edge information from the pages of scientific journals into easy-to-understand sessions and discussions. Specialists focusing on different parts of the brain, linguists, learning researchers, doctors, sleep and trauma researchers and a host of other experts discuss their latest research finds and what they mean to our day-to-day lives.
Can you teach a fetus? Can you train a shy child to be brave? How can we rig the brain of a comprehensive school pupil to be as receptive as possible? What does digital technology do to the brain? What’s going on in the hormone-addled brain of a teenager? Can we keep the gears in our brains turning better by eating right – or by exercising our brains? How do traumas manifest in the brain and how can we lessen their impact? How about stress? How were psychological illnesses analysed before the advent of modern medicine? What’s the secret of the spryest grannies and grandpas?
To celebrate February’s Sochi Winter Olympics, Think Corner will spend a week examining the background, significance and goals of the games arranged in Russia. During the theme week, the Sochi Winter Olympics will be discussed in connection with the debate on human rights, the status of a superpower, money, and Russian domestic policy. The focus will be on topical issues as well as the past, with Sochi’s significance in Russian history among the topics. Organised by the Aleksanteri Institute, this Think Corner theme features both researchers and external experts supporting a programme full of discussions, information sessions and interviews. To celebrate the Olympics, the week will also include competitions and sports events.
At the end of January 2014, Think Corner will focus on the Arctic together with researchers from the University of Helsinki and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland. Presentations on 29 January will discuss arctic ice and climate change, the arctic food supply network and the position of aboriginal peoples surrounded by the mining industry. On 30 January, the programme features a panel discussion on the development of the Arctic from a wider perspective, touching on topics such as the security and energy policies of superpowers, the global economy, and climate issues.
Students of textiles teaching and craft science introduce the world of craft through different topics. Traditional handicraft topics, visiting specialists and modern craft science for all who are interested!
The autumn 2014 events will be held on 8 September, 13 October, 10 November and 8 December.
Media Corner – Navigating Communications, event series by Media ry, the organisation for students of media and communication studies, provides four fresh, interesting perspectives on communications by examining a range of topics from organisational communications to blogging. Media Corner also provides its visitors with the opportunity to participate in debate and to challenge the communications views of the professionals.
The autumn 2014 events will be held on 22 September, 20 October, 24 November and 15 December.
Unisport arranges 15-minute neck and shoulder exercise sessions two times a week. The sessions are free and open to all visitors. No exercise equipment or special clothing is needed. Can breaks get any easier and more entertaining than this?