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What is the Cafe Scientifique?

The Cafe Scientifique was a new initiative which has become a centre for the Public Understanding of Science in Oxford.

The purpose of the Cafe is to create a forum for the discussion of important and interesting scientific issues that is much more informal and accessible than a public lecture. The Cafe Scientifique has been successful in Leeds, Nottingham and a number of other cities in the UK and France.

From the spring of 2002 the Cafe Scientifique idea is being spread throughout the UK, with the creation of a new Coordinator's post by the Wellcome Trust. This site is a subsite of the national Cafe website.

Who else will be there?

The audience will consist mostly of people who are interested in science but generally never have the opportunity to discuss their views with and ask questions of someone "in the know". No scientific knowledge will be assumed by the speakers so that everyone can participate.

What happens at the Cafe?

Each event starts with a short talk from a speaker. A 10 minute break allows us to refill our glasses and have a few private discussions. This is followed by an hour or so of Q&A, and general discussion. There will be opportunity for everyone to ask questions, and we welcome those which begin "This might be a stupid question, but......" These questions are invariably not stupid and often rather insightful.

Where and When?

The Cafe will be hosted at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, at 7:30pm on the second Tuesday of every month (unless otherwise advertised), and sponsored by OBN. Doors open at 7pm. The first Cafe Scientifique was held on 14th November 2000. Full calendar details are published on this site and on the Twitter feed when they have been confirmed.

What subjects will be discussed?

Over the first few years of the Cafe, we have held a wide range of events, including such subjects as:
stem cellsantibiotic resistancethe big bang
biodiversitycancerconsciousness
Darwinismbrain imagingevolution
extreme lifeselenium in the dietfoetal experience
genetically modified organismshuman hydrationcryptography
nanotechnologyprime numberssports science

If there any subjects that you would like included in our future programme, please let us know.

As topics are confirmed they will be listed on this website.

Do I need to buy a ticket?

No. Cafe Scientifique is free and you can just turn up on the night. The Cafe does not make a profit or pay a fee to the speaker, but we do pass a hat round on the night and ask for contributions towards the refreshments and speaker's travel expenses. Once in a while there is a Cafe with tickets, usually for a specific reason such as a linked performance or a change of venue. These will be advertised in advance.

How can I find out more about the Cafe, including the programme of events?

As soon as the programme of events is finalised, it will appear on this website. Alternatively email the Cafe or join our mailing list. We will not pass your details on to any third party.

Cafe Scientifique organised by local Oxford scientists.


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