In 2022 the YAE will turn 10 years old, and in celebration we are organising a seminar series to showcase the diversity of fascinating research within the Academy. Each month we organise a one-hour seminar with three short, accessible talks for an interdisciplinary audience; one each from Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, and Social Sciences and Humanities. Seminars are on Zoom, open to YAE members and others, and will be filmed for wider dissemination.

There is one seminar left this year before the Annual General Meeting in October, and that will be on Tuesday the 27th of September, from 15.30 to 16.30. Please see the speakers and their topics below, and register via Eventbrite by clicking on the orange button. Registered attendees will be emailed a Zoom link the day before the event.

Moniek Tromp: Batteries: Towards Sustainable Energy Storage Systems

The urgency posed by global warming to transform our fossil fuel-dependent society into one based on renewable energy sources creates grand technological challenges, one of them being renewable energy storage for mobility and intermittent wind and solar electricity. Batteries are widely seen as key technology for electrification of transport, and for future medium-to-large scale electricity storage. This requires a huge leap in battery developments, especially regarding energy storage density, costs and materials (and process) sustainability, as well as recycling. 

Next generation battery chemistries that theoretically might fulfil these requirements are proposed, but to enable their implementation, parasitic reactions have to be diminished. These side reactions cause underperformance, degradation and finally battery failure. To improve battery performance, better insights in the reaction mechanisms occurring during discharge and charge cycles are required. Characterisation techniques and methods have been developed, with an emphasis on X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), providing detailed electronic and structural information, in a time- and spatially resolved manner. Insights in for example deactivation pathways, mobility of speciation through the battery, have already led to novel material and cell designs.

Jan De Graaf: Europe’s Postwar Consensus: A Golden Age of Social Cohesion and Social Mobility?

In present-day Europe, the 1950s and 1960s are viewed with increasing nostalgia. In the public debate and in historiography, these decades are often described as a period when life was more simple and overall better – if not necessarily from a material perspective then certainly from a moral perspective. My research focuses on two themes that we have come to associate with this supposed “golden age” of European society: social cohesion and social mobility. We investigate not only the extent to which the “post-war consensus” was founded on mutual trust, common purpose, and increased life chances, but also which social groups benefited from it and how this is linked to the memory culture of the age. In doing so, we take a pan-European perspective, probing how the communist East and capitalist West tried to impose very different models of social cohesion and social mobility from above, but often saw their attempts at social engineering disintegrate in the face of societal resistance.

Eider Arenaza-UrquijoTopic to be confirmed