8 November 2018: Scott Atran; Uppsala Department of Peace & Conflict Research


14.00; Lecture Hall 4219B, Gamla Torget 6


The Crisis of Cultures and the Vitality of Values:

A Response to Emmanuel Macron’s Declaration of Society’s Need for Religion


Scott Atran

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (Institut Jean Nicod, Ecole Normale Supérieure)

The Changing Character of War Centre (Pembroke College, University of Oxford)

Gerald Ford School of Public Policy (The University of Michigan)


Bio. Scott Atran is research director in anthropology (CNRS, France), founding fellow Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict (Oxford University), Research Professor in Psychology and Public Policy (University of Michigan), and co-founder of Artis International. He experiments on religion and limits of rational choice in political and cultural conflict, and has briefed NATO, Congress, White House, UN Security Council, EU Governments, World Economic Forum and others on problems of youth and violent extremism.




French President Macron’s claim that society needs religion is explored in light of rising populism and illiberalism, and failures allied to the forced gamble of globalization. Historical and experimental research indicates that the universal religions have no fixed meanings or essences that drive followers. Religions have adapted over time to many contexts and cultures because core elements are believed sacred and transcendental: that is, non-negotiable, logically inscrutable, empirically unverifiable or falsifiable, and so always open to interpretation under changing socio-political influences. Recent studies in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe suggest that “devoted actors” committed to transcendental causes are those most willing to make sacrifices whatever the costs or consequences so that their values endure.


The times arguably call out for transformative engagement of civil society and government to address problems of violent extremism and radical illiberalism. They call out as well for a spiritual revival of our civilizational values and rituals and their potential for eliciting commitment to defense of the common good represented by them. These need not necessarily be monotheistic or even institutionally “religious,” as President Macron implied, but they do need to be sacred and transcendental. For history suggests, and our research shows, that societies best endure when their culture-binding values and socio-political rituals become, as Darwin noted, “highly esteemed and even held sacred,” transcending and thus engaging commitment  beyond any social contract’s utilitarian considerations.



15 November 2018 Max Tegmark, PhD (MIT), Life 3.0: Living in the Age of AI.

Stockholm University; Aula Magna, Höger hörsal, Frescativägen 6; 14.00

Sponsored by Boston Consulting Group




27 November 2018 Takaaki Kajita, PhD (University of Tokyo); Nobel Prize in Physics 2015

Uppsala University, Department of Physics and Astronomy; 13.15

Kamioka - past, present and future


More than 30 years ago, the Kamiokande experiment began in Kamioka. Because the results from Kamiokande was recognized to be so importnat, Super Kamiokande was constructed. It began the experiment in 1996. In 1998, neutrino oscillation was discovered with the studies of atmospheric neutrinos. Since then, Super-Kamiokande has been contributed to various neutrino studies. Now Hyper-Kamiokande is seriously discussed as the next generation neutrino detector. Prof. Kajita will discuss these experiments, emphasizing the status and physics of Hyper-Kamiokande.




Fall 2019, Big Science - a survey of the largest science projects on the planet, by Nobel laureate Barry Barish, PhD




Admissions to all Brahe programs is free. Brahe does not engage in any religious or political activity.