Close-up: Is there such a thing as a right to sweaty feet?

Tony Barshini was one of 93 researchers and students to take part in Science Weekend, an annual event for young and old organised by Utrecht University. From re-enacting a court case to dancing with a robot and creating your own plant library: the varied programme offered visitors the opportunity to learn how research works in practice, ask researchers questions and participate in experiments and workshops. In the process, they learnt about the wide range of research activities at Utrecht University.

"The children's book De Zweetvoetenman (The Sweaty Feet Man) – which deals with the Dutch legal system – inspired a Science Weekend activity. Children taking part in the activity re-enacted the Sweaty Feet Man trial – an actual case that caught the public imagination. The play covered all aspects of the trial: from the various roles in the courtroom to the passing of the verdict. I designed the activity to let children experience the workings of the legal system first-hand. Almost everyone has to deal with it at some point, so I think it's important that children know how it works. The activity also offers a great opportunity to talk about the subject of Law and the importance of research." 

"Scientific research helps to create new knowledge, which can then be used to develop new solutions that benefit society as a whole. A society in which kids can not only grow up in pleasant conditions but are hopefully also constantly challenged to find ways of keeping our world liveable, safe and future-proof." 

Tony Barshini is a researcher and junior assistant professor of Environmental Law at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance. 

Text: Eline Dondorp

Kinderen knijpen hun neus dicht bij het experiment van Tony Barshini
Photo: Lize Kraan


This article also appears in the third edition of the magazine Close-Up, full of inspiring columns, background stories and experiences of researchers and support staff.

Go to Close-up #3