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) and Maneesha Deckha (University of Victoria).

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. Cécile Casterman passed away in 2020.


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.”

The public lectures focus on the international relationship between science, art and technology, on the one hand, and on local cooperation with Brussels organisations and institutes, on the other.

Mireille Hildebrandt

Chair holder 2021-2023: Mireille Hildebrandt

Mireille Hildebrandt is a tenured Research Professor on 'Interfacing Law and Technology' at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). She is co-Director of the research group on Law Science Technology and Society studies (LSTS) at the Faculty of Law and Criminology. She also holds the part-time Chair of Smart Environments, Data Protection and the Rule of Law at the Science Faculty, at the Institute for Computing and Information Sciences (iCIS) at Radboud University Nijmegen. This demonstrates her keen interest in crossing disciplinary borders, e.g. resulting in a text book on ‘Law for Computer Scientists and Other Folk’, recently published in open access with Oxford University Press.

Her research interests concern the implications of automated decisions, machine learning and mindless artificial agency for law and the rule of law in constitutional democracies. She has published 5 scientific monographs, 23 edited volumes or special issues, and over 100 chapters and articles in scientific journals and volumes.

In 2018 she has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for the fundamental research project ‘Counting as a Human Being in the Computational Law’ (CoHuBiCoL), on the cusp of law and computer science. In that context she founded the international peer review open access Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Research in Computational Law, with Laurence Diver.

Hildebrandt also has a keen interest in cross border interaction between art and science, notably where art enables to disrupt and uproot stalemate scientific practice, thus inspiring lateral ways of looking at one’s own discipline.


Cécile Casterman and Raymond Hamers

Chair type

Education & research


2013 - 2029

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Launch online series Critical Thinking within Islam#5: Lecture and text by Ali Benmakhlouf. Watch and Read here.


Launch online series Critical Thinking within Islam#4: Lecture and text by Silvia Naef. Watch and Read here.


Launch online series Critical Thinking within Islam#3: Lecture and text by Leïla Tauil. Watch and Read here.


Zakiyyah Iman Jackson: On Race, Species and Becoming Human


(Dis)ability and animality. Cripping animal ethics/activism


Launch online series Critical Thinking within Islam#2: Lecture and text by Michiel Leezenberg. Watch and Read here.


Launch online series Critical Thinking within Islam#1: Lecture and text by Hela Ouardi. Watch and Read here.


Justice in a Multispecies World: Round table discussion


Justice in a Multispecies World: Workshop with Zoöp


Justice in a Multispecies World: Lecture by Maneesha Deckha


Multispecies Urbanism (online)


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