Cafe Scientifique Comes to Guelph

September 28, 2007 - Campus Bulletin

Keen to debate science topics outside of a campus lecture hall?

Beginning this fall at The Bookshelf downtown, U of G members and Guelph residents will be able to discuss science and technology over a drink at Cafe Scientifique.

A planned monthly series of informal discussions will begin Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. with former federal environment minister David Anderson, director of the Guelph Institute for the Environment, who will discuss “Turning Present Environmental Concerns into Tomorrow's Actions.”

The event is free and open to the public.

During each session, participants will hear a short talk by an invited faculty member and then discuss the topic.

“It will be like bringing a professor into your living room,” said organizer Prof. Joe Ackerman, associate dean of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences (FES).

The planned series will be presented by FES and will begin with various environmental topics.

“Who's better positioned in the world to take the broad perspective on the environment and talk about it in meaningful ways?” said Ackerman. “I think we have an opportunity to bring the expertise and knowledge on campus about the environment to members of the public, so they will be better informed. We can also get feedback to inform our practice and research."

He expects future sessions will explore other aspects of science, arts and technology.

Ackerman plans to involve speakers from U of G’s seven colleges for regular cafés at The Bookshelf on the first Tuesday of each month during 2007/08. He also hopes to see the idea extend to Guelph’s regional campuses and to the University of Guelph-Humber.

The new series is intended to complement U of G’s existing outreach activities, such as the annual Kenneth Hammond Lecture on Environment, Energy and Resources, which is also run by FES. It’s also meant to strengthen interdisciplinary ties on campus, such as the recently formed Arts, Science and Technology Research Alliance.

Cafés Scientifiques began in England in 1998 and are now offered worldwide. Here in Canada, they’re also held in London, Toronto, Vancouver, Hamilton and Quebec.

“It’s a movement on the part of scholars to engage the public,” said Ackerman.

For more information on Café Scientifique.

Josef Ackerman
Department of Environmental Sciences
519-824-4120, Ext. 54809

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1