Meet the Professor 2024

On Wednesday 20 March, it was time again: Meet the Professor! After a festive opening at the University Hall, 106 professors cycled to primary schools throughout Utrecht. There, they introduced over 2,300 pupils from groups 6, 7 and 8 to research and science. New this year: the fellow cyclist! Each professor was allowed to bring a colleague or student along on the school visit. This gave pupils an even broader picture of science.

Groepsfoto in het Pandhof tijdens Meet the Professor
Photo: Lize Kraan

Observations and hobbies

During the opening, pupils from class 6/7/8 of Jenaplan school Cleophas were guests and listened attentively to Professor Stefan van der Stigchel on stage. He talked about the way we look at the world. He showed that your perception of the world changes when you have more knowledge of what you are looking at. That is exactly what the professors also brought about in the classes this day: changing the way we look at science. Van der Stigchel's research is also part of Studium Generale's Boost your Consciousness Challenge, a platform of online experiments that test your senses and which you can still participate in this month.

If I adjust your knowledge of the world, then your perception of the world also changes.

Franck Meijboom op de orgel tijdens Meet the Professor
Photo: Lize Kraan

But what do professors actually do in their spare time? Professors are particularly sporty, musical and handy, research by Meet the Professor found. One hobby stood out and was put on display right away. Professor Franck Meijboom climbed into the ridge of the University hall to play the organ. His greatest hobby! Afterwards, the class in attendance went in search of 'their' professor using Who is the Prof? with questions about hobbies, among other things.


Beforehand, students do not know which professor is coming to visit them. But they can try to find out. They receive golden envelopes with hints and do all kinds of tasks. For instance, they unravel a secret code and, in preparation for the visit, they get to send the professor profpost with questions and a self-made drawing of what they think the professor looks like.

In class

In class, the professors had an hour to talk about (doing) research. That hour flew by as the students had up to a thousand questions for the professor and the fellow cyclist. From substantive questions about research to how many times a week a hobby is done. In turn, the students were also put to work: from running around the classroom wearing a heart rate monitor, to studying carnivorous plants, mapping the animal kingdom and philosophising about why not all people speak the same language.

Kinderen in de klas tijdens Meet the Professor
Photo: Lize Kraan


Meet the Professor is organised by the Centre for Science and Culture (CWC), of Utrecht University. It is the CWC's only programme exclusively for professors. Among other things, the CWC also organises Slimme Gasten, a programme for young researchers who are trained and guided on school visits. At KennisKnetters and Science Weekend, researchers from all corners of the university participate. So too with Even over Morgen and Betweter Festival, which focus more on adults.