x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Did you know

This event occurred on
March 25, 2017
9:00am - 7:00pm CET
(UTC +1hr)
Diepenbeek, Limburg (nl)

“Did you know?” is the curiosity-arousing theme for the upcoming edition of TEDxUHasselt. With this theme we are going back to the basics of TED, which is all about spreading new innovative and sometimes even controversial ideas.
Also this year our aim is to present world-class speakers on our stage, in order for the audience to enrich their lives by gaining new experiences which they would otherwise never encounter.

Hasselt University
Agoralaan Gebouw D
Diepenbeek, Limburg (nl)
Event type:
University (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­U­Hasselt events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Bella DePaulo

Social psychologist
Movies, novels, love songs, and even scientific research all seem to tell us the same stories: Everyone wants to find that special someone. Once you get married, you will live happily ever after and you will never be lonely again. In her talk, “What no one ever told you about people who are single,” University of California social psychologist Bella DePaulo shows that these beliefs are all myths. More people than ever before are living single – often by choice. A close look at the best scientific studies shows that people who get married do not end up happier or psychologically healthier than they were when they were single. The stories we have so often been told are distracting us from other stories about single people that we have never been told. The untold stories help us understand why so many people choose single life and thrive there, often finding meaning, fulfillment, autonomy, mastery, rich and varied personal relationships, and sweet solitude in their single lives.

Bert Conings

Materials scientist
Harnessing sunlight to meet the ever increasing demand for energy at the global scale has long been pursued by scientists and engineers. Materials scientist Dr Bert Conings, from the Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC) at Hasselt University, is among researchers on the vanguard pushing technological boundaries to increase the efficiency of solar energy production. During his talk entitled “A "Eureka" for Solar Energy”, Dr. Conings will discuss the relevance of solar energy, an everlasting sustainable energy source, that can reduce the dependency on adverse carbon emitting energy resources. Getting at the physical chemistry of burgeoning metal halide perovskites, his talk will focus more deeply on the groundbreaking photovoltaic applications of this state-of-the-art material class, shedding light on their ability to drastically improve global solar energy harvesting.

Daniel Ospina

Organizations Designer and a creative systems thinker at Conductal
Daniel's inclination for systems and design has led him to bridge industry, academia, and the arts. At Conductal, Daniel applies insights from his creative background and Social System Design to help small organizations to scale and large organizations to understand communities and develop a culture of innovation. Beyond Conductal, Daniel is a visiting lecturer on System Design at Said Business School (Oxford University), an Associate Fellow of London University, and a Co-founder and Steering Group Lead at Crossmodalism (an international community bridging artists, scientists, designer, and entrepreneurs).

Dirk Heylen

Professor in Socially Intelligent Computing
For many people, public speaking is a nightmare. And consequently nonprofessional and even professional speakers take intensive speech coaching to communicate more effectively. However, taking the vast advancement in speech technology into account, one cannot help but wonder if communication skills will soon be provided by Artificial Intelligence. Considering the immense progresses in computer analyses of body language and human vocals, and also taking into account the developments in emotion recognition, it seems more than feasible that machines whom successfully progress in mimicking our cognitive functions will soon be supporting effective feedback on our flawed communication. During his talk entitled “The Perfect Artificial TED-talk Coach: coming soon, or never?” Prof. Dirk Heylen from Socially Intelligent Computing at the University of Twente, will talk about his research that targets the use of Artificial Intelligence to create the perfect talk.

Edward Schiettecatte

Founder of TRAINM: A new concept of neurorehabilitation
The concept of neuroplasticity has drastically changed the understanding of our brain in the past decade. The ability of our brain to reorganise itself by forming new neuronal connections throughout life has unfolded novel insights and prospects in how our brain can adjust in response to new stimulations and changes to its environment. At TEDxUHasselt 2017, Edward Schiettecatte will describe how neuroplasticity can be put in use to compensate for injury and disease, providing life-changing therapies to patients who have no other viable chance of recovery. During his talk entitled “TRAINM: A new concept of neurorehabilitation”, he will explain how he and his son came to the idea to start TRAINM—the first and only outpatient neurorehabilitation center that offers patient-personalized high intensity therapies integrated with non-invasive brain stimulation, neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Edward will focus on research that has proven to enhance positive neurostimula

Isabel Beets

Molecular neurobiologist
The brain is one of the largest and most complex organs in the human body. Consisting out of many specialized areas with each well-coordinated functions, the majority of our brain consists of a web of billions of nerves that communicate in trillions of connections called synapses. It is the core of our nervous system, executing millions of molecular processes that make us who we are. And yet, so little has been uncovered about the mystic mysteries of the human brain. Molecular neurobiologist Dr. Isabel Beets is one of the many scientists who feels passionately challenged to unravel the delicate complexity of our brain. In her talk “Big ideas from small brains”, Dr. Beets will explain how the roundworm C. elegans can be used to decipher processes related to learning, forgetting and making memory in the human brain. More precisely will she point out to the TEDxUHasselt 2017 audience how transferable knowledge about the human brain can be obtained.

Johan Janssens

Co-Founder of Joomla
Co-Founder of Joomla. Founder of Nooku. Techentrepeneur. Web Architect. Free Software Advocate.

Lonnie Aarssen

Biology Professor
The maxim “work hard, play hard”, which can be traced back to early 1872 has long been used to express an implied connection between dedicated effort and having fun. But is this correlation true? Biology Prof. dr. Lonnie Aarssen from Queen’s University in Canada did the research and was able to uncover a statistical link between these two motivations people like to display. During his talk entitled “Unpacking the ‘work hard-play hard’ animal”, Prof. Aarssen will discuss how some of these deeply-integrated motivations are shaped by relentless Darwinian selection. He will explain how this biological evolution is a double-edged sword that on the one hand enables us to deal with the awareness of our own mortality, but on the other hand disables us in gaining a deeper understanding of the impact of humanity on our small planet. On our stage, Prof. Aarssen will unravel his answer to a final critical question: Can this negative aspect of our biological evolution be overcome?

Olivia Remes

Anxiety is one of most prevalent mental health disorders, with 1 out of 14 people around the world being likely affected. Leading up to conditions such as depression, increased risk for suicide, disability and requirement of high health services, very few people who often need treatment actually receive it. In her talk “How to cope with anxiety”, Olivia Remes of the University of Cambridge will share her vision on anxiety and will unravel ways to treat and manage this health disorder. Arguing that treatments such as psychotherapy and medication exist and often result in poor outcome and high rates of relapses, she will emphasise the importance of harnessing strength in ourselves as we modify our problem-coping mechanisms. At TEDxUHasselt 2017, Olivia will stress that by allowing ourselves to believe that what happens in life is comprehensive, meaningful, and manageable, one can significantly improve their risk of developing anxiety disorders.

Ruben Donné

Sailor inspired by his father having MS
The surest way to make your dreams come true is to just live them. And Ruben Donné did exactly that! When Ruben’s father was diagnosed with the incurable autoimmune disease Multiple Sclerosis, better known as MS, Ruben realised it was never too late to chase his big dream. At TEDxUHasselt 2017, he will talk about his wild adventure sailing solo across the Atlantic Ocean. His goal: raising money for MS research and bringing the dreadful disease to people’s attention. During his talk “SailingChallenge4MS - Man vs. Nature”, Ruben will tell you about the 14,477 km long trip, his preparations and sacrifices, his positive mindset and most importantly his ultimate ambition of inspiring others to contribute something positive to the world.

Sander Otte

Technology professor
Over the past twenty years, the scale of data storage decreased at an astonishing rate. With society currently creating more than a billion gigabytes of data every day, further decrease of data storage area is becoming increasingly relevant. Although currently incredible amounts of data can already be stored on very small areas, we have reached the limit of scaling down any further. Together with his team, however, Prof. Sander Otte from Delft University of Technology found the ultimate solution. He managed to successfully apply a pioneering approach that enables the storage of data at the atomic scale, creating a record-setting hard drive with the smallest data storage area ever achieved. During his talk “Crafting matter atom by atom”, Prof Otte will explain how atomic scale storage can allow 500 times more data storage on identical storage areas, thereby outperforming all other existing media.

Sandra Matz

Benjamin Franklin once said: “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants” and so, throughout time the saying that “money can’t buy happiness” took hold as conventional wisdom. Now thoroughly confirmed by science, it is established that a higher income, higher gross domestic product, and higher spending are not necessarily related to greater feeling of happiness in life. However, according to psychologist Sandra Matz from the University of Cambridge, these statements are not completely true. At TEDxUHasselt 2017, in her talk entitled “How money can buy you happiness”, Matz will argue that if money is well spent it can be a contributing factor to our general happiness. She will explain that if one stops worrying about making more and more money, but rather focuses on spending it in a meaningful way that meets psychological needs, preferences, and true motivations.

Saskia Van Uffelen

CEO Ericsson Belux
The world around us is changing constantly. The Digital Revolution, however, that started in the 1950s and is still proliferating today, is perhaps one of the most significant and disrupting developments in human history. In our present society, in which over 50 billion devices are connected, competition does not come from the ‘sector’ any longer. Moreover, altering our daily lives, Saskia van Uffelen, CEO of Ericsson BeLux, will discuss how the digital transformation is also modifying our conventional business models and our traditional sectoral view. On stage of TEDxUHasselt 2017, she will focus on how our entry to the digital era, that moved us to a sharing economy and flat organisations, has put us in the lead of reshaping our economy. In het talk entitled “Dare to Disrupt”, she will clarify that the Digital Revolution is more than just technology, but rather a change in society enabling us to create an excelling civilisation for future generations.

Stijn Ilsen

Aerospace engineer
It resulted in one of the largest well-documented mass-extinctions in Earth’s history. In an era in which the first mammals appeared. An unexpected event resulting in the loss of 75% of all plant and animal species… Bringing an end to the magnificent era called the Mesozoic. Nearly 65 million years ago, our ancestral mammals cheated death when an approximately 10km wide asteroid hit Earth and resulted in the infamous end of the Dinosaurs. And yet, only little awareness is raised for these catastrophous dangers that hide high above us in the skies. During his talk entitled “It’s time for planetary protection”, aerospace engineer Stijn Ilsen will address the implications and dangers that come along with potential asteroid impacts. Having participated in multiple European Space projects and having experienced first hand how technological developments can enable humans to reach space, Stijn will discuss strategies to prevent Doomsday from happening.

Organizing team


Antwerp & Hasselt, Belgium


Diepenbeek, Belgium