In 2013 scientists Cécile Casterman and Raymond Hamers create the Chair History and Philosopy of Sciences. This academic chair consists of a lecture series of internationally renowned speakers, programmed by Crosstalks. The kick-off of the chair took place in October 2013 with VUB honorary doctor Prof. Londa Schiebinger (Stanford University).

Guest speakers in recent years were among others: Anne Fagot-Largeault (Collège de France), Dava Sobel (novelist), Philipp Blom (historian, novelist), Peter Gallison (Harvard University), Adam Lowe (Factum Arte) en Simon Schaffer (Cambridge University), John Thackara (Doors of Perception), Paul Halstead (The University of Sheffield), Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia University).

Cécile Casterman and Raymond Hamers performed research into antibodies in the eighties, resulting in their discovery of a new class of antibodies in camelids: the alpaca antibody. Their research lead to the spin-off company Ablynx, one of Belgium's success stories. Today, both scientist are retired. 


The Chair History and Philosophy of Sciences answers the need of a university wide and interdisciplinary program in the History and Philosophy of Sciences. The desire and commitment of Cécile Casterman and Raymond Hamers to enable and facilitate intergenerational discussions in science, are the engine of this chair.

Raymond Hamers about the Chair History and Philosophy of Sciences:

"There is a lack in our academic curriculum about history and philosophy of sciences. Yet, this is a crucial bridge for transdisciplinary learning and mutual understanding. We wanted to do something about this since we need that historical framework when talking about science. Take the atomic theory for instance, which already existed as a conceptual concept with the Greeks, with the atom as the smallest particle of a matter. History is not about a chronological overview of events, but rather about the evolution of scientific ideas.”

Chair holder

Jean Paul Van Bendegem is director of the Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science. He is prof.m. at VUB, where he teached logic and philosophy of science until 2018. From 2005 to 2009 he was dean of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy.  Hij is editor of the journal Logique et Analyse, and promotor of various doctoral project at CLWF. 

His research focuses on the foundations of philosophy of mathematics and logic. His latest book publications for a broader audience are Elke drie seconden (Antwerp: Houtekiet, 2014), Verdwaalde stad – Filosoferen langs straten en pleinen (Antwerp: Houtekiet, 2017) and Doordenken over dooddoeners (Uitgeverij Polis, 2019).


Cécile Casterman and Raymond Hamers

Chair type

Education & research


2013 - 2020

Upcoming events

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Black History Month Belgium: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia


Closing the Door: Complaint as Diversity Work


Philosophy in Islam?


Bonsai Earth. Dialogues on revisiting Biosphere 2 and insights for the future now


Hinterland Hub. From solitary residence to international networking


Coping With Complexity in Scientific and Artistic Ways


Cooperation in digital times with Yochai Benkler

23/09/2017 :

Le Congo dans les années 1926-1936


Food and Society in Classical Antiquity


Blending sciences: Benefits & pitfalls of interdisciplinary research


Golem by Thomas Ryckewaert


Understanding Heritage: Public Lecture by Rodney Harrison


Understanding Heritage: Salon with Rodney Harrison, Lionel De Vlieger and Anna Rispoli


Lunch lecture by John Thackara


Academic session with Simon Schaffer and Adam Lowe


Salon in BOZAR with Luc Tuymans, Paul Dujardin, Ann Van Grevestein


Philipp Blom in debate with Jean Paul Van Bendegem - Ecopolis Debate at Kaaitheater


Philipp Blom: The Influence of Radical Enlightenment on Contemporary Thinking


History Lecture by Philipp Blom on Radical Enlightenment - Public lectures at VUB


Dinner Lecture met Peter Galison (Harvard University) - invitation only at Le Mess


Peter Galison (Harvard University) on the notion of time - Public lecture at VUB


Expert Meeting with Anne Fagot-Largeault on psychiatry


Medicine & Philosophy – Public Lecture with Anne Fagot-Largeault


A staged reading of Dava Sobel's play 'And the Sun Stood Still'  - with Jerry Killick and Kate McIntosh at the Kaaistudio's


Expert meeting with Dava Sobel: Science Writing by and for non-Scientific People


Dava Sobel: The Illustrated Longitude - Public Lecture at VUB Campus


Expert meeting on Gender and Academic Achievement with Londa Schiebinger


Londa Schiebinger on Agnotology and Colonial Science


Londa Schiebinger on Innovation and Gender