An attractive development in the exploration of scientific developments with the community at large is Café Scientifique. The idea started in France with Café Philosophique. According to its web site in the UK, where the movement developed as applied to science,
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 take place in cafes, bars, restaurants and even theatres, but always outside a traditional academic context.
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.
At the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, recent topics have included
- Lion research in the Serengeti
- Antibiotics in agriculture
- How water quality in Minnesota's lakes and rivers affects fisheries and public health
- New trends in gardening that incorporate water into the landscape
- Psychology of romance
- Organizing life: A new evolution (in conjunction with the Walker Art Center's exhibition "Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005"
Other University of Minnesota campuses have developed their own Cafés Scientifiques. In Duluth they've discussed "Stopping the Stowaways: Aliens of Lake Superior", and in Morris, "Origami in Math and Science".
A listing of Cafés around the world is at http://www.sciencecafe.net/html/links1.htm.