Science cafes – or café scientifiques, if you’re French – have become another way to earn quality hipster points if you live near a science center. In short, they’re typically evening programs where grown-ups can get together, usually drink a bit of wine or beer, and discuss a current science topic with a renowned expert. Think TED talks without the thousand dollar registration fees or Britney Spears-style headsets. (By the way, if you haven’t checked out a TED talk, do so immediately. They’re the closest thing to pure, first world optimism that I’ve seen since the first space shuttle launch.
Some of the trail blazers in the Science Café world include the Soap Box group at the MIT Museum in Boston, and my personal idols at the Dana Centre, who are doing amazing things in London. Sure, their webpage hurts your eyes, but you have to admit, their content is incredible.
With that inspiration in mind and with a campus full of passionate scientists, we here at Morehead decided to start our own science cafes. In October of 2007, we debuted our Current Science Forums and have hit the ground running ever since. Topics have included Facebook, steroids, HPV, climate change, alien life, the drought, cloned meat and the brain. Our experts have all been UNC scientists doing cutting edge research in their fields.
On Thursday, August 7 at 7pm, we’ll be hosting “Making Memories,” the final installment of our summer series on the brain. The program will feature Dr. Kelly Giovanello of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory Lab at UNC. She’s going to talk about the science of memory — everything from brain function to healthy aging and testing. In planning the program, I can tell you that her research is fascinating.
Thursday, August 7th at 7pm. (Future programs will be the first Thursday of every month at the same time and place.) We don’t serve beer or wine (yet), but there will be plenty of sweet tea, cookies, and conversation…all completely FREE. That’s how committed we are to getting you talking science.
Hope to see you here, jmf
Jonathan Frederick directs the North Carolina Science Festival, an initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.