Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Lectures for the XXIst Century

Lectures for the XXIst Century

edited by Bart Raymaekers
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 300
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Lectures for the XXIst Century
    Book Description:

    The university is a nerve centre of society. This glimpse behind the scenes of the laboratories, workshops and classrooms of KU Leuven reveal what preoccupies scientists today, and how their ideas and discoveries impact our world. This second annual series of lectures in English includes such highlights as J.J. Cassiman on Genetics and Genomics, R. Merckx on Food in Africa, G. Verbeeck on The Future of History, and a great deal more.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-042-8
    Subjects: General Science

Table of Contents

  1. Lectures for the 21st century. Perspectives on Society and Science
    (pp. 11-12)
    Bart Raymaekers
  2. Genetics and genomics: FROM TESTING TO TREATMENT
    (pp. 13-24)
    Jean-Jacques Cassiman

    The complete and detailed sequence of a representative sample of human DNA is almost fully known, except for a few stretches of hard to sequence DNA. This historic achievement has already produced a few surprises. The number of genes (about 20,000) hidden in the 3 billion nucleotides which make up the human genome is much smaller than initially expected, and is only slightly higher than that in flies. The size of our genes varies between about 2 and 2000 kilobases (1kb=1000 bases). Genes represent only about 3% of our DNA. Promoter regions - the binding sites for proteins, which control...

  3. The Historic and the Current Political Development in Belgium: for King and Lasagne
    (pp. 25-52)
    Tim Pauwels

    In the summer and autumn of 2007, the international media published a considerable number of articles discussing the possible or even immanent end of the state of Belgium. The attention of the international media was not surprising, as Belgium, after the 2007 elections, was unable to form a new federal government for almost half a year. As a consequence, the federal political landscape was in a complete stalemate.

    But when, as a journalist, I explained to some of my foreign colleagues that an immediate division of the country was rather unlikely in the short term, many of them lost interest....

  4. Living off the Land in Africa: MYTHS AND REALITY
    (pp. 53-68)
    Roel Merckx

    Talking about Africa often comes down either to descriptions of the beauty of its natural parks abundant with wild life or of its sunsets over sun-clad beaches. Alternately, coverage of Africa in the TV news, yields pictures of horrific civil wars and refugee camps which further blur the common vision of the continent. While both extremes exist, they do not reflect the daily life of the African people. Most people are hardly aware of the daily drudgery that millions of farming families there have to cope with. We get a more realistic picture when for instance standing on the roof...

  5. Human Rights, after 60 years. A philosophical reflection
    (pp. 69-80)
    Bart Raymaekers

    Human rights have taken an important place within the moral discourse of our time: they are almost synonymous with our moral concerns, they are an indication of all kinds of oppression, they became a contemporary translation of what used to be called the good. This general consensus shows at the same time a large amount of them being too obvious: organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch attract spontaneous sympathy. However, such an overall recognition may be covering up a considerable risk: just as everybody favours peace, so everybody seems to be in favour of human rights. Aren’t they...

  6. Art and Cultural Identity of The Low Countries
    (pp. 81-104)
    Ludo Beheydt

    Cultural identity is a hot issue in Europe. This is due to the great changes that have taken place there recently. The Treaties of Schengen and Maastricht have caused migration waves, and cultures tend to come into contact and conflict more easily. These contacts have strengthened the consciousness of cultural identity and cultural ethnicity. Cultural identity is claimed all over Europe now, not so much national identity but rather regional identity. The Irish, the Scots, the Welsh, the Bretons, the Catalans, the Frisians and the Flemish… they all claim their own cultural identity. It seems, therefore, the unification process in...

  7. Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy
    (pp. 105-126)
    Mia Leijssen

    A small vignette can make the theme of spiritually integrated psychotherapy more concrete. Performance anxiety brings a young woman to therapy. Whenever she is asked to play music in public, her hands start shaking so badly that she is no longer able to play the piano. We explore how in her self-experience she locks herself up in the physical dimension when she starts fearing that her hands will not be able to find the right keys. In the social dimension she has no need whatsoever for the admiration of an audience for her musical talent. In the psychological dimension she...

  8. The origins of human retroviruses
    (pp. 127-142)
    Anne-Mieke Vandamme

    Retroviruses are RNA viruses which reverse transcribe their genomic RNA into proviral double stranded cDNA. This DNA is then integrated into the host genome. There are only two human retroviruses known (Fig 1), the Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Both are associated with fatal diseases. The first to be discovered, HTLV, causes adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) or HTLV associated myelopathy, also known as tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) in a minority of infected individuals. If untreated, HIV causes an ac quired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, in all infected people.

    Simian relatives of HTLV have been identified...

  9. Functional Food, Panacea or has the Emperor no Clothes
    (pp. 143-156)
    Theo A. Niewold

    Over recent decades, there has come about the notion of the importance of food in the maintenance of health and the prevention of disease. Apart from the emphasis on the need for healthy food in general, there is increasing interest in so-called functional foods. Functional foods are essentially foods to which the manufacturers attach health claims. Everybody has seen examples in their own supermarkets, e.g. the margarines which claim to be good for your heart, and the dairy products which claim various beneficial effects for your intestines. Whereas the goal (increasing health and reducing disease) is of course laudable, there...

  10. History in the Age of Apology
    (pp. 157-180)
    Georgi Verbeeck

    We live in an ‘Age of Apology’. Since the last decades of the previous century politics and society have entered into an age and a time in which the act of offering an apology in the public sphere is generally valued as a token of respectability. A seemingly worldwide culture of apology is growing in significance and gradually replacing the time of uncompromisingRealpolitik. Realpolitikis based on the paradigm that power and law, self-interest and ethics should coincide in relations between nations and states. Individuals exchange apologies in an attempt to restore inter-human relationships after harm has been done,...

  11. Doping the athlete in an age of presumed innocence: WHAT IF THE LAWYER WINS THE RACE?
    (pp. 181-206)
    Frank Hendrickx

    It is a general principle of law that a person is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. Let us read some quotations in view of this rule.

    “It is with a great amount of shame that I stand before you and tell you that I have betrayed your trust. You have the right to be angry with me. I have let my country down and I have let myself down.”

    (Marion Jones, former American track athlete, admitting that she took performance-enhancing drugs, October 2007)

    I could cry going home in such good shape. I need a few days for myself and...

    (pp. 207-232)
    Ludo Melis

    Universities may be defined as institutions of higher education engaged in both research and education, performed in strong interaction, and in service to society. Agreement on this definition is not difficult to obtain. But profound differences appear when one is looking for a more precise description of their role.

    Political authorities and decision makers stress the importance of an innovative knowledge economy, as appears from the opening sentences of the 2003 Communication from the European Commission entitledThe role of universities in the Europe of knowledge:

    The knowledge society depends for its growth on the production of new knowledge, its...