Ruth Chang – Rutgers University, USA

“Hard Choices”

In this talk, I take a philosopher’s approach to thinking about hard choices. What, exactly, makes a choice hard, and how should we choose in the face of such choices? 


Christian Fankhauser – University of Laussane, Switzerland

“Reaching out for the Sun: Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Enhanced Light Access in Plants”


Laurent Frantz – University of Oxford, UK

Understanding Domestication in the Genomic Era


Eyal Winter – University of Leicester, UK

“Feeling Smart: Why our Emotions are More Rational Than We Think”

 “Feeling Smart” is the title of Eyal Winter’s book that appeared in January 2015 with Perseus Books Group. The book deals with the relationship between our emotional being and our rational one, and the implications of this relationship to a variety of research issues in economics, business and the social interactions. We shall discuss the difference between material and mental utility, between autonomous and interactive emotions, and the role of altruism in promoting self‐interest. We shall also mention recent research findings on the “love hormone” Oxytocin, and in particular the implications for economic and social interactions. Finally, we shall discuss the implications of these insights in the context of the workplace, negotiations and strategic behavior.


Michael Brecht – Humboldt-University, Germany

“Neural Correlates of Tickle, Play and Ambivalence in the Somatosensory Cortex”

In my lecture I will describe neural and behavioral correlates of ticklishness and playfulness in rat somatosensory cortex. Rats greatly enjoy being tickled, as evident from approach behaviors, 50 kHz vocalizations and joy jumps (Freudensprünge). At the same time, rats fight the tickling hand, show escape behaviors and, under some circumstances, also emit 22 kHz alarm calls. Cells in the somatosensory cortex are involved in the generation 50 kHz vocalizations during tickling. Somatosensory cortical responses to tickling predict responses to play behaviors, suggesting a neural link between tickling and play.


Laura Mančinska – University of Copenhagen, Denmark

“Quantum Entanglement and Nonlocal Games”


Davide Scaramuzza – ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Autonomous, Agile, Vision-controlled Drones

Autonomous quadrotors will soon play a major role in search-and-rescue and remote-inspection missions, where a fast response is crucial. Quadrotors have the potential to navigate quickly through unstructured environments, enter and exit buildings through narrow gaps, and fly through collapsed buildings. However, their speed and maneuverability are still far from those of birds. Indeed, agile navigation through unknown, indoor environments poses a number of challenges for robotics research in terms of perception, state estimation, planning, and control. In this talk, I will show that active vision is crucial in order to plan trajectories that improve the quality of perception. Also, I will talk about our recent results on event based vision to enable low latency sensory motor control and navigation in low light and high dynamic environment, where traditional vision sensor fail.