News - August 14, 2017

WUR researcher on talk show at Lowlands

Marijn Flipse

Mars researcher Wieger Wamelink has never been to Lowlands before, or to any festival for that matter. But he will be going for the first time this year, as he is set to appear on the in-festival talk show Geheimen van het Universum (‘Secrets of the Universe’).

© Christine Bunthof. Recording Wieger Wamelink for the children’s television programme Jeugdjournaal.

On Saturday 19 August he will be at the three-day festival in Biddinghuizen to discuss Mars in a special science tent. More particularly, Wamelink will talk about the research he has done so far, about how well vegetables grow on Mars and which ones you could eat, but also about his new experiment that will see if worms can survive in Mars soil.

‘I was approached by broadcasting company VPRO. They organise everything connected with science at Lowlands. Secretly I had already hoped that they would ask me.’ There is room in the tent for around 1000 festivalgoers. ‘That is a lot of people. I’m looking forward to it.’

© Wieger Wamelink. The worm that dug tunnels in Martian soil.

The WUR researcher will try to enthral visitors with his unique stories and spectacular videos, beginning his story with a clip from the film Total Recall in which a man explodes because there is no atmospheric pressure on Mars. ‘I figure that will get their attention. I begin at one in the afternoon, nice and early, so I have to make sure they’re awake. I will also bring along samples of Martian soil in tubes that the audience may pass around.’ Following the explanation of the research, audience members can ask Wamelink questions.

The Wageningen researcher will make time to visit the Lowlands festival after his talk show appearance. ‘I checked which musicians will be there, but I didn’t recognise a single name. Terrible, isn’t it?’ he says, laughing. ‘I do know the stand-up comedians. I would like to see Dolf Janssen and for the rest I’ll let myself be surprised.’