Diederik Samsom meets Honours Programme Delft

Thursday 10th of March 2016

Posted by Honours Association

On Tuesday 1st of March students of the honours programme Delft had the opportunity to invite, meet and discuss with the parliamentary group leader of the Partij van de Arbeid, Diederik Samsom. Unbeknownst to some, Samsom is a TU Delft alumnus having studied physics. Samsom graduated at the Reactor Institute Delft in the time a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the era of the Cold War. The development of nuclear technology, being it weapons or energy, drove his will to make a difference in a turbulent time. Samsom has long been affiliated with Greenpeace and discussed his transformation from an ‘action guy’ to a ‘suit guy’ with lively tales about whales, gas fumes and rubber boats. Politics plays this game partially in the same arena as his previous career, although the means are different. Having a technological degree is however not a guarantee for success in politics, where oratory skills dominate more than some would prefer.

Opinions on thorium reactors, renewable energy and battery technology passed in review. Also the relationship between government and technology was actively discussed in its advantages and disadvantages. Privacy and trust between organizations, be it the public, academia, corporations or the parliament itself remain a field requiring close attention in the near future. Placing his experiences about TU Delft academic culture two decades ago aside the current reveal similarities and contrasts, indicating a university that still is in development. Samsom, commenting on the role of engineers in society, appreciates the focus of the TU Delft on the effects of applications of technological advances in civilization, stating that, frustratingly, this view was often overlooked during his studying time.

We are very grateful for the inspiring evening and want to thank Diederik Samsom and his secretary for their time and attention. We would like to thank the organizational, security and technical staff of the TU Delft Aula and Sodexo for their care. Also, we would like to thank photographer Thomas van der Sijs for the pictures.