Cafe Scientifique

Ccafe sci logoafé Scientifique is a public science engagement initiative running across more than 80 towns in the UK. It’s 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.

The Reading Branch of the British Science Association is proud to host Reading Cafe Scientifique events in central Reading each month where you can come and discuss anything from antibiotic resistance to particle physics. Everyone who wants to is welcome to ask a question or make a comment. You don’t need to be a scientist to enjoy the evening – just come with an open and enquiring mind.

Our branch also proudly sponsors the Basingstoke Cafe Scientifique. For upcoming events visit their site.


flyer_Summer2017We’re back on Wednesday 5th April 2017!

Our Summer 2017 series is now confirmed. Click on the flyer (left) to see the exciting range of speakers we’ve got lined up.

Scroll down for talk abstracts and speaker bios.

Where is Cafe Scientifique held?

Reading Café Scientifique events take place at Smokin’ Billy’s:

61 St. Mary’s Butts, Reading, RG1 2LG.

They’re scheduled on the first working Monday of the month throughout the year and start at 7.30pm. During March the Cafe Sci event coincides with British Science Week, which is normally around the 14th. We take a break in August.

There is no entry fee and all ages are welcome.

Smokey Billy’s offer a 20% discount on food ordered before 7pm on Cafe Scientifique nights.

anthony wilsonWednesday 5th April: Dr Anthony Wilson presents “How insects spread viruses”

Outbreaks of insect-borne diseases like Zika are seemingly on the rise. What makes insect-borne diseases special, why are they emerging at the moment and what can we do about it?

Anthony leads the Integrative Entomology group at The Pirbright Institute in the UK, studying the ability of insects (particularly mosquitoes) and ticks to transmit viruses and how this is affected by the environment. He has acted as a scientific expert on vector-borne disease emergence for the European Food Safety Authority, Defra, and the Global Strategic Alliances for the Coordination of Research on the Major Infectious Diseases of Animals and Zoonoses (STAR-IDAZ) and is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. He is also a core member of Pirbright’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committee and sits on the national panel for the Athena SWAN Charter awards, which recognize employer commitments to gender equality

Wednesday 3rd May: Carl Edwards presents “Going with the flow: how river and floodplain restoration can aid flood protection”

Over the past 6000 years, deforestation, river channelisation, and the draining of wetlands has radically altered both the landscape and hydrology of the United Kingdom.
During this talk you will hear about some of these changes, the effects they have had, and how river and floodplain restoration is helping to alleviate flood risk today.

Carl Edwards works on flood defence projects for the Environment Agency. Prior to this, in a career as an Archivist, he managed the records for a number of the country’s major Landed Estates, offering him rare opportunities to study a mapped history of land change.

Wednesday 7th June: Dr Jamie Samson presents “How to Think Like a Scientist”

Information is everywhere, it is quite literally at our finger tips. However, this poses a problem, how do we wade through this information to determine what is useful, what is accurate and what is beneficial? The key to solving this problem is thinking critically, a subset of which, scientific thinking, will be the subject of this talk. This talk will introduce the scientific process, why scientific thinking is beneficial and how our unconscious biases can influence our decision-making.

On your journey Dr Jamie Samson will discuss questions such as;

How does your ability to throw a ping pong ball manifest in to an unconscious bias?

How do you develop testable hypotheses using paper planes?

Is chocolate really good for you?

Dr Jamie Samson is a scientist with a passion for everything science. His research background is in animal behaviour, having worked on a range of species from frogs to meerkats. He runs the science communication website, that aims to encourage evidence-based and science-based thinking. He is the author of the book ‘A Brief Guide to Thinking Like a Scientist

Wednesday 5th July: Prof Keith Shine presents “Climate change”

It is almost exactly 50 years since the publication of one of the most influential and important scientific papers which helped launch the modern era of climate change science. This talk takes stock of what we have learnt over those past 5 decades from both observations and improved understanding of the climate system. Can we now safely say that there is unequivocal evidence that human activity has been the dominant cause of the observed warming of our planet since that time?

Keith Shine is the University of Reading’s first Regius Professor of Meteorology and Climate Science. He has had significant involvement in the writing of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment reports, starting with their first assessment published in 1990. His current research activity includes quantifying the drivers of recent climate change, the impact of aviation on climate change (and vice versa) and improving understanding of how water vapour influences our climate.