What do nanotechnology, bionics, Japanese bookbinding and coffee cupping have in common? They’ve all been featured topics at Cal Poly Science Cafe, an informal speaker series founded at Kennedy Library in 2008 that explores compelling topics with an expert (or two). We’ve expanded the series to include areas outside of science, as a reflection of all that is taught at Cal Poly.
We invite you to hear stories, see demos, play hands-on, ask questions and learn from an expert with us. Events are announced on our Facebook page, as well as on the Cal Poly Science Cafe site.
Where does Science Cafe come from?
Science Cafes are offered throughout the U.S. and are inspired by Cafe Scientifique, an international movement that organizes talks about science to keep people engaged and informed. It’s a chance for anyone who’s interested to talk with an expert, ask questions and understand more about their world. Usually it’s held in a cafe or bar, but in our case it’s happening at Kennedy Library! Which, thanks to Julian’s Patisserie, can offer the comforts of a cafe (caffeine and food) on the second floor, near the open space where you’ll find our events. Drop in when you can and stay for as long as you like.
What are the speakers like?
In one word, awesome. Our speakers want to share their expertise through interaction. Not only do we want to hear your questions (we usually devote more time for questions than for the presentation), we often develop hands-on activities to communicate their area of expertise. This has ranged from showing vermi-composting in progress as a way to better understand soil science to providing simple circuits to explain how we were going to build a live game board in the stairwell.
We’ve got videos!
We interview our speakers before each Science Cafe. Missed a speaker? Want to know what we’re about? Curious about a topic? Watch our video series to learn more about what makes commercial space flight possible from an aerospace engineer, or how coffee cupping relates to Learn by Doing from a coffee expert or a variety of other topics we’ve explored.
Who comes to Science Cafe?
Everyone is invited to Cal Poly Science Cafe. We usually have a dynamite mix of students, faculty, staff and community getting together to learn and experiment. Light refreshments are provided. We hope you can join us!
Want to launch your own Science Cafe? Watch a helpful how-to slideshow! Read Developing a Science Cafe Program for your University Library by Jeanine Scaramozzino and Catherine Trujillo.