Science cafés are an informal, grassroots movement. No one organization controls them—what they are called, where they take place, what topics they cover, etc.
The website sciencecafes.org was created in 2006 with the help and input of many science café organizers. It is intended as a community resource to support and encourage the growth of science cafés, and to provide comprehensive resources for science café organizers.
Director of Education, NOVA
As NOVA’s Director of Education, Rachel considers it her mission in life to find new ways to make complex concepts accessible. Before joining team NOVA, Rachel has served as the director of the planetarium at the University of Louisville, as the Astrophysics Education Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, and as a high school physics teacher in New York City. She studied physics and astronomy at Denison University, and is currently working to complete her PhD in Science Education at Columbia University. The randomness of her previous life experiences includes being the webmaster for the band Boston and consulting on an educational project for the queen of Jordan.
Education Manager, NOVA
As the Education Coordinator at NOVA Maiken designs, develops and produces educational outreach resources and materials. Maiken was excited to help with the project of redesigning the sciencecafes.org website in 2011 in order to improve support for the science café community.
Outreach Coordinator, NOVA
As the Education Outreach Coordinator, Scott's mission is to ensure that NOVA is creating top-quality educational material that properly aligns with science standards and gets the community invested in further understanding our world. As a former classroom educator, he is incredibly excited to share the wealth of NOVA's resources with both teachers and the science café community.
Linda with Café Scientifique in Burlington, VT
Linda's café has been active for four years. She wanted to find a way to engage adults in science education and discovered the Science Café model. It proved to be a unique format, with a relaxed atmosphere, no power point, a cash bar and hors d’oeuvres. She sees cafés as an opportunity to engage adults in challenging topics with industry experts, encouraging fabulous dialogue and satisfying the yearning for lifelong learning.
Tracy with the Science Café @ Cook Library in Hattiesburg, MS
Tracey have been hosting a science café series since the fall of 2010. The cafes have been very worth-while and rewarding. One of her favorite moments is when a student was inspired by the research area of the scientist; sometimes they are drawn to change majors (from a business degree to a science degree) and thus that café has changed an entire career path. She also appreciated the opportunity to become better acquainted with many distinguished faculty members on her campus.
Don with Science Café of Olympia in Olympia, WA
Don is in his third year of hosting the Science Café of Olympia. After he retired, he missed the interaction with the variety of scientists that came through the University. An article in Science on the first Science Café in the US (Boston) intrigued him and in 2008 several of his fellow ACS members in Olympia starting planning a café. Their first meeting took place at a book store with subsequent meetings at a coffee house. Both venues provide a welcome place for young budding scientists to come and listen.
Alfia with Marin Science Seminar in San Rafael, CA
The Marin Science Seminar (started in 2008) provides a place where local teens could meet real, working scientists and learn about what they do as a profession, what inspires them, and how they got where they are. Everyone is welcome at the seminars, but the target audience is young people. Alfia eveloped a speaker guide designed to make engaging young people more effective.
Katherine with Science Café in Columbia, SC
Katherine is a self-described "science nerd" who loves to learn and help transfer that same excitement and enthusiasm to her community. She thinks it is amazing to see researchers and scientists connect with the community and sense the energy of wheels turning in people’s minds as they begin to relate science to their everyday lives. Katherine likes to say that her cafe (active since 2006!) provides an environment that is inspired by other's thoughts.
Kristin with Daytona Beach Science Café in Daytona, FL
Kristin formerly lived in a college town that had a Science Café and really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with scientists. Because the media reports scientific stories out of context, she thinks it is difficult for the lay public to sort out all the conflicting information. Being able to ask questions directly from scientists in the field is really valuable. The Daytona downtown area is revitalizing, so when a new coffee shop opened up, it just seemed the perfect fit!
Sean with Science Café Norman in Norman, OK
Sean has hosted a café since September 2008. He sees an opportunity in Science Cafés for people from all walks of life to understand and appreciate the scientific process. Unlike the classroom, the café attendees are present only to hear the story of the science, and the speakers never regret sharing with such an interested audience. The open atmosphere provides everyone with the opportunity to learn something new, including the speakers themselves.
Linda with Science café in Little Rock, AR
Science Café was established in March 2007. With a microbiology background, NASA work experience, and as a science author for children and adults (e.g., Chemistry Demystified, 2nd Ed.), science is always foremost in Linda's mind. Hearing the latest STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) progress from scientists/experts is fun. Attendees often exclaim how Science Café is the highlight of their month. They also provide great topic ideas!
Kishore with Down to a Science in San Francisco, CA
For the last four years, Kishore has organized DtaS. His favorite memories from school were talking science over beers with friends, talking incessantly for hours on all sorts of scientific topics. Kishore simply wanted to extend that conversation to a bigger audience. Science is an ongoing conversation – he make it his life’s mission to open that conversation to as many people as possible.
Ben Wiehe with Café Sci Boston in and around Boston, MA
Ben's first café event was in 2006. Perhaps the best thing about science cafés for him is that they don't need to be anything other than fun for the organizer. If you feel like putting on a high-profile event, then you can try to draw a huge crowd or a well-known speaker, but café events with more relaxed atmospheres can still be successful. It is not necessary to meet in the same place or follow a rigid format every time, so you can bring a playful experimental approach to organizing a café.
Woodrow with Ion Science Café Inc in Vero Beach, FL
With months of planning under his belt, Woodrow is preparing to launch his café. In his region, there are a number of scientific facilities, including engineering, aeronautics, and biology. However, there are limited opportunities for the public to collaborate with those who are in the field. The Ion Science Café Inc. aims to provide a venue for scientists to communicate their experiences with those who may lack opportunities for such exposure. It is his café's goal to offer an informative and exciting outlet that might increase the number of engaged and scientifically informed citizens.
Amanda with Science Pub in Portland, OR
Amanda started the Science Pub in August 2006 as part of an outreach effort to reach adults on behalf of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Oregonians love beer and science, and in a short time the Science Pub had grown to six monthly locations: two locations in Portland, and four other locations statewide (Eugene, Corvallis, Salem, and Hillsboro). While two of the locations are run in partnership with local universities (OSU in Corvallis and Willamette University in Salem), Amanda is solely responsible for recruiting and hosting the rest of the four Pubs per month...and is looking to expand to new cities! As she likes to say when prepping new speakers, "You can have a microphone in one hand, and a beer in the other...literally." It's a ton of fun!