Café Scientifique

A happy hour forum for science and culture, Cafés offer a unique experience for adults to explore our world from distinct and surprising viewpoints—drawing connections between scientific research, culture, environment and everyday life. Enjoy lively talks on a variety of topics led by guest speakers from the University of Minnesota and beyond along with the atmosphere of the Bryant Lake Bowl theater in Minneapolis.

7 pm (doors at 6 pm)
Tickets $5-$12, available online or at the door


Spring 2017 Cafés

Turbulent water

January 17: The Beautiful Problem of Turbulence

What do golf balls, whales, and airplanes have in common? They all struggle with one of the oldest and most difficulty problems in physics and mathematics: turbulence. Turbulence is a bizarre and beautiful phenomenon that occurs when substances like water and air flow really fast. Most people are familiar with turbulence during air travel, but the problem is much bigger and impacts fields as diverse as national defense, NASCAR, and oil. It's so complicated that even our most powerful super-computers choke on the calculations. During the last century, mathematicians have arrived on the scene and struggled to verify if our core model is correct. What makes turbulence so hard and why should we care about understanding it? Join Sam Stewart, a PhD student in mathematics studying fluid dynamics  at the University of Minnesota, as he shares the story of one of our most fundamental and fascinating natural phenomena.

February 21: Forest Keepers: Science, Spirituality & Conservation among the Batak Tribe

J. Scott Dodds is an award-winning ethnographic filmmaker. For the past 20 years he has worked with anthropologists and environmentalists in following the Batak, a gather-hunter group in the Philippines. Batak live in fear of vengeful forest spirits who take retribution on anyone who doesn't respect the forest or wastes its resources. As a result they have developed not only a highly detailed knowledge of the natural environment, but also techniques for harvesting forest products sustainably. This has not been lost on environmental scientists, who are working with the Batak to conserve the forest while protecting them from commercial forest harvesters and encroaching farmers.

Fall 2016 Cafés

September 20: The Dazzling Dr. Spilhaus
Sharon Moen, Communications Coordinator, Minnesota Sea Grant & author of "With Tomorrow in Mind: How Athelstan Spilhaus Turned America Toward the Future"

October 18: The Fungi Around Us
Kat Sweeney, Researcher, UMN Department of Plant Pathology

November 15: What Should a Clever Moose Eat?
Dr. John Pastor, Ecosystem Ecologist, UMN-Duluth Department of Biology

December 20: Moving Minnesota: Re-inventing the Bell Museum Dioramas
Don Luce, Curator of Exhibits, Bell Museum of Natural History

More Cafés

Download LIVE podcasts from past events available for free on iTunes or watch presentations from select events on YouTube.

Get global

We introduced Café Scientifique to Minnesota, but there are science cafés held across the country and around the globe. Visit International Café Scientifique for more.

The Petri DIsh

Isn't life fascinating?
Check out curiosity-driven conversations, featuring U of M experts, about how biology affects our lives and what it means for our future. Presented in collaboration with the College of Biological Sciences at the Camp Bar in St. Paul.

February 1, 2017
Where Do We Go From Here? The science, policy and politics of addressing and adapting to global-scale environmental change

March 1, 2017
A Revolution in the Making: Insights into new genetic engineering technologies with the potential to radically reshape medicine

April 5, 2017
Beyond Velcro: Taking cues from nature to design solutions to big challenges and drive innovation