Cafe Scientifique

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Cafe Scientifique is a brilliant idea, wherein people with scientific knowledge and interests are invited to speak to people who are interested, but not necessarily knowledgeable. These events then take place in a bar, cafe or restaurant, specifically not in an academic sort of environment.

Here is an excerpt from their web site:

Cafe Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings have taken place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.

The first Cafes Scientifiques were held in the UK in Leeds in 1998. From there, cafes sprang up in Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford and then gradually spread throughout the UK. Currently, over 30 cafes meet regularly to hear scientists or writers on science talk about their work and discuss it with diverse audiences.

Cafe Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, not a shop window for science. We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable.

I spoke at the Cafe Scientifique in Nottingham. This was an interesting challenge, because from their guidelines page they suggest that talks should be:

  1. controversial
  2. entertaining
  3. authoritative
  4. concise
  5. capable of standing rigorous questioning
  6. intellectually stimulating

I'm not sure I managed the first of these. After all, just how controversial can a juggling talk be? However, feedback suggests that I nailed 2, 3, 5 and 6.

I thought it was a really exuberant evening
and it went down really well with the audience.

Anyone who didn't come missed a rare treat!

So, that's all right then!

For more about Cafe Scientifique you can visit their web site:


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