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Café Scientifique

Café Scientifique Manchester

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.

Where: Kro Bar on Oxford Road

When: 6pm on the last Thursday of every month (from October 2014)

Calendar of events

If you wish to receive email reminders of our events, please join our mailing list.


Date 30 October 2014
Title It Smells to the Heavens!
Speaker Professor Matthew Cobb

Nobody likes a maggot – it’s slimy and disgusting. But did you know that a maggot has a brain and the bits of its brain that process smells are wired up just like ours? Smell expert, Professor Matthew Cobb, studies how the sense of smell works by studying the behaviour of maggots, and the electrical activity of their smell cells. In this talk he will explain how the sense of smell works in all animals, from maggots to humans. Why not drop by and test your sense of smell on the beers as well? Did you know that a maggot has a brain and its "smell" neurons are wired up just like ours? In this talk, smell expert, Professor Matthew Cobb, will explain how the sense of smell works in all animals, from maggots to humans.

Date 27 November 2014
Title Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Speaker Professor Simon Caporn

‘Where have all the flowers gone? Pollution damage and repair in the Peak District moorlands’

The Industrial Revolution in the Manchester conurbation around 200 years ago left a giant footprint in the countryside of the southern Pennines (and far beyond). Emissions from the factories poured acid rain and heavy metal pollution onto the hills causing massive injury to the natural landscape. Still today the scars remain as illustrated by the relatively poor ecological condition of the moorland habitats and the physical erosion of the soils - when compared with similar areas in cleaner parts of the country. This presentation will describe evidence for the long term impacts of both historical and contemporary air pollution in the Peak District moorlands and consider the available options as we make efforts to repair the countryside.

Date 29 January 2015
Title How the Extra-ordinary Informs the Ordinary
Speaker Dr Simon Harper

Talking computers are vital if you're a blind computer user. Blind people become expert in auditory cognition and interaction. This expertise has transferred to the digital tools used to access computers, mobiles and other devices. Indeed, when it comes to technology usage blind people have become uber users - expert in digital interaction enabling increasingly meaningful interaction with tools and services in everyday life, work and study.

In doing so, blind users often find ways around badly developed electronic devices and resources, providing insights and challenges for designers and developers.

This talk will give insights into these extra ordinary digital tools and the people who use them, discussing how neurophysiology points the way to enhanced auditory comprehension, and discusses how 'auditory display' is helpful to everyone... how this extra-ordinary interaction informs the ordinary.

Date 26 February 2015
Title The Evolution of Monogamy
Speaker Dr Susanne Shultz

Primates are unusual mammals, with around 25% of the species found in monogamous family groups. In contrast, across all mammals,  monogamy is much rarer, with an estimated 3% of mammals being monogamy.  This compares with monogamy in more than 90% of bird species. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of monogamy, including its role in protecting females and their offspring from unrelated males. I will review our recent work on the topic and compare it to contrasting results simultaneously published by other researchers. Finally, I will propose how the evolution of monogamy in primates may or may not shed light on the human evolution.

Organisers: Deborah Talmi, Bo Yao

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