Are We Missing the Big Picture in Delft?

How much time in your academic career have you spent discussing, debating, or explaining your own worldview with other students or staff? Had any fights, or perhaps breakthroughs because of it? To clarify, by worldview I mean your religion if you’re religious; your personal philosophy if you’re an atheist or agnostic; and in general, your ideology. The framework through which you think about the world, your place in it, right and wrong, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. You know; the big picture.


My guess is, not much time. At least, not in an institutional setting.

Which is why SG, together with students from half a dozen associations in Delft, has come up with a setting to discuss exactly that. The big picture. The following are the questions we intend to ask a small and diverse panel of students, recent graduates, and PhD candidates, during lunchtime discussion sessions for an open audience.

Worldview. What is your worldview? What effect has your worldview had on you as an engineer, and vice versa, what effect has your engineering education had on it?

Research/Work. Why are you doing what you are doing? How does your work fit in your worldview or ethics? Do you discuss the bigger implications and ethics of your work with people from different backgrounds? What are the consequences of that?

Freedom of expression and open discussion at the university. Are we missing the big picture in Delft? Are we doing enough to discuss worldviews critically and openly? (What is the purpose of the university, just to pump out able engineers or is there more?)

What we need to do now is to get a list of possible speakers together. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, atheists, agnostics, Baha’i, Sikhs, Satanists, materialists, philosophical engineers, you name it; a diverse group of young Delft engineers, preferably with some work or research experience.

I’m hoping that you can help out here, and look around if you know someone that we should invite. The main criteria are their age category (youngish, no older than say 32), and whether or not they are outspoken on the issue of worldviews, religions, or personal philosophy. If you have any tips or suggestions, please mail Klaas at

Once we have a good and diverse list together we’ll set a date for the first discussion and invite our speakers.

The TU Delta international section is going to devote a few pages to this topic as well. They’re publishing an article near the end of February on freedom of religion and freedom of expression at the TU Delft, so keep your eyes open for it.

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