Junior Cafe Scientifique

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.

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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.

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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.

Getting involved

I, Robot: could it happen?
Mars probe: what can it really tell us?
Unravelling the rice genome: GM disaster or an end to hunger?

Dramatic headlines that bring up concerns we all have to address.

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Whether you’re a student, teacher, parent, governor or potential speaker, there’s a place for you to become involved in Cafe Scientifique.

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For students, they can be an exercise in citizenship and a place to think about contemporary issues in science and technology. For teachers, parents and governors, they offer valuable extra input into the curriculum and the developments of links with other schools and universities and for speakers, a gateway into promoting science and higher education and a chance for to introduce real world science into a non-classroom environment.

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