Free online event

Taste of Science

Join us for an exciting evening on science with a keynote lecture by Jen Schwartz, Senior Feature Editor at Scientific American on “How to recognize, combat and out-compete misinformation” as well as talks from Springer Nature book authors Neil Daswani and Cobus de Swardt.
The event will be streamed on our YouTube Channel free of charge. We are looking forward to hearing your thoughts and questions on the talks: directly in our livechat or via mail to

Language: English
In cooperation with the scientific publisher Springer Nature.

20:00 – 20:45 hrs: Jen Schwartz

How to recognize, combat and out-compete misinformation

Further information about the lecture

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked media coverage about science in a way never seen before. It also highlighted that accurate, evidence-based reporting is essential when dealing with a rapidly-circulating virus or building public trust on treatments and vaccines. In her keynote Laura Helmuth looks at how the research community is responding to the huge rise of misinformation, and how we can take lessons from humanities and social sciences to combat it.

Jen Schwartz is a senior features editor at Scientific American who produces stories on how society is adapting—or not—to a rapidly changing world. During the pandemic she has written about the anguish of uncertainty, from the trauma of healthcare workers to the legacy of scientific racism to what it’s like to create disinformation as a chaos-maker. She co-led the magazine’s 2019 special issue, “Truth, Lies & Uncertainty,” and wrote about information warfare. Her work on climate adaptation won the 2019 National Association of Science Writers "Science and Society" award. Jen previously worked at Popular Science, GQ, New York, Outside, Self, and The Boston Globe.

Language: English


20:45 – 21:30 hsr: Neil Daswani

Big Breaches: Cybersecurity for Everyone

Further information about the lecture

In his talk on Big Breaches: Cybersecurity Lessons for Everyone, Neil Daswani will focus on the cybersecurity industry that has seen an investment of over $45 billion in the past 15 years. Cybersecurity remains a top business concern, many jobs in the field remain unfilled amid breach after breach, and the problem has come to a head. It is time for everyone—not just techies—to become informed and empowered on the subject of cybersecurity. It affects our daily life, and the recently published book by Neil Daswani, co-authored with Moudy Elbayadi, showcases some of the largest security breaches in history, their impact on economic, social, and political landscapes, and what was learned to prevent similar breaches in the future.

Neil Daswani is a former Google & Twitter security leader, Co-Director of the Stanford Advanced Cybersecurity Program. His book (with co-author Moudy Elbayadi) distills experiences, research and analyses to offer current and aspiring CISOs, CIOs, CTOs as well as security and technology professionals in general a roadmap for recovery, providing actionable insights.

Language: English


21:30 – 22:15 hrs: Cobus de Swardt

Silencing a Whistleblower: A Story of Hypocrisy

Further information about the lecture

Can insufficient policies lead to the alleged abuse of power? When independent ethical structures and processes are missing or weak, practices of abuse, misconduct and cover-ups can easily arise. Even organizations specializing in good governance are no exception, as illustrated by this case study on Transparency International (TI). Cobus de Swardt’s talk will focus on his book, Silencing a Whistleblower, which chronicles an ethical breakdown over a 5-year period, which aptly reveals the snowball effect that ethical weaknesses can create over time and the emotional warfare that whistleblowers are typically subjected to.

Cobus de Swardt has served as Managing Director of Transparency International for ten years. Before that, as an academic at universities on four continents. Throughout his career he has sought to combine his professional expertise with social activism; his TEDx speech is an example. As an activist, he was imprisoned in South Africa under the Apartheid Detention laws.

Language: English


Back to overview


Date: 27.09.2021

Time: 20:00

Event type:

Geist Heidelberg Lecture

Free livestream on our YouTube Channel. Please find the link above.