Record-breaking trend continues as Zwarte Cross three-day attendance hits 197,000. Rain, wind or shine, the mini-lectures presented by various University of Twente lecturers regularly drew plenty of listeners to the Universitent in Theatre Meadow. The space contained 175 seats, but sometimes there was standing room only. The enthusiastic stories about science were interspersed with music, and the Science on Tour students presented various demonstration experiments.
Kerensa Broersen concluded her lecture on “Grey matter at the Black Cross” (i.e. Zwarte Cross) at 17:00 on Friday, after which the band struck up and a veritable conga line began winding its way through the Universitent. It seems that science and music go hand in hand. The crowd listened in attentive silence during the lectures, but later on they were all dancing and singing along with the band. “A delightful, light-hearted way to combine a little learning with some fine entertainment”, says Guus Rijnders, the man behind the University of Twente/Zwarte Cross partnership. Time after time, there was a full house for Guus Rijnders’ lecture, entitled “Pee smells better than you think!”. Even Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, presenter of the Dutch TV chat show “De Wereld Draait Door” (The World Keeps On Turning) briefly called in at the Universitent to see what was going on.
During Saturday’s summer storm, the Universitent was bulging at the seams even more than usual. People who had sought shelter from the weather listened attentively to Edwin Dertien’s mini lecture about: “The robots are coming, what now?” He had even brought a couple of small robots along to the Zwarte Cross, including the Dancing Head. This is the very same robot that could be seen dancing like crazy at the Hi-tech Fashion event staged by the University of Twente during last June’s Innovation Lecture. The Dancing Head got up to all sorts of adventures during the Zwarte Cross, but more about that later.
On Sunday afternoon there was another busy, fun-filled session in sun-drenched Theatre Meadow. The Universitent was packed with people, and once again there was standing room only. The scientists addressed the audience from inside a small wooden church. “After all, my brain is itself a temple!” says festival professor Tante Rikie.