About Cafe Scientifique
Cafe Scientifique offers a unique opportunity for students to meet working scientists in an informal, relaxed, ‘café’ atmosphere and together explore contemporary issues in science and technology. The cafes are student-led, from choosing the topic to running the café, giving those involved the chance to turn concerns into participation, based on classroom experiences. Cafes are open to all secondary schools: teachers and students, any age, any status, any interests.
Cafe Scientifique in schools (Junior Cafe Scientifique, or JCS) has developed from the Cafe Scientifique movement – evening meetings between scientists and public, which take place in bars, cafes, theatres and pubs outside the academic environment.
JCS take place in cafeterias, common rooms or libraries, not classrooms; at lunchtime or after school, so that audience and speaker meet as equals, without barriers.
The format is simple. The scientist speaks for about 10-15 minutes; time enough to introduce the topic and their interest in it, then the cafe is open for questions and debate. The talks are deliberately kept uncomplicated – no technology, just the powers of the spoken word and low-tech demonstrations. Speakers are volunteers from local universities and industry and range from professors to young PhD students, depending on the topic and their expertise.