On June 7–9, 2017 the first international conference of the Gravitation programme NETWORKS took place. Over 200 participants found their way to Science Park Amsterdam.
The conference consisted of a technical programme on June 7 and 9 (with tracks on Mathematical Physical Aspects of Complex Networks, Communication Networks, Logistics and Scheduling and Scheduling under Uncertainty), and a public event on June 8. The public event included a panel discussion with Dutch science policy leaders and an award ceremony for the winners of the Networks Challenge 2017.
The panel discussion focused on the question "What is the role of complex networks in our modern society?" The panel members Frank van der Duyn Schouten (Chair of the National Mathematics Council), Stan Gielen (Chair of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), Louise Gunning (Chair of the National Science Agenda), Wim van Saarloos (vice-president of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences), and Ionica Smeets (Professor of Science Communication) shared various interesting viewpoints.
After the discussion the winners of the Networks Challenge 2017, a competition for high school students, were announced. The question the students were asked to reflect upon was: “What would you like to know about networks?” Kim and Marit Tijhuis made a short movie on the puzzle Tectonics, and the relation of these types of puzzles with social geography, whereas Marit Bonne, Bariya Boskma, Blanca van Duijn, Noa Boon and Roos Tijssen visualized “What is the purpose of life and how do networks influence that purpose”. Ionica Smeets handed out the prizes to the winners.