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


Upcoming Cafés

Patterns of Gharial crocodile skin

April 18: Crocodilian Superdads: Gharial on the Chambal River in north India

In India, people and wildlife live together, side-by-side, and have for thousands of years. Conservation biologist Dr. Jeff Lang (UMN Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology) has traveled to rugged, “bandit” country in north India since 2008 to investigate the secret lives of gharial. This crocodilian species is a specialized fish-eater, growing to 18+ feet in length, that is critically endangered, but survives today by moving hundreds of miles each year with the monsoon, up and down large rivers. Jeff’s recent work is revealing that gharials show extraordinary care for their young, guarding hundreds of hatchlings from predators, and exhibit complex social behaviors, not known in other reptiles. His talk will feature video clips of gharial behaviors, and highlight the challenges and adventures of working and living with wildlife and people in modern-day India. (Image via Wikimedia Commons, Kiranparamesh)


May 16: Bringing Biology to Biomimetics

The field of biomimetics seeks to solve problems from energy production to cancer by looking to how organisms have solved similar problems over evolutionary time. But the majority of engineers, material scientists and others using these approaches do not directly collaborate with biologists. We have barely scratched the surface of biological inspiration, and in order to use this approach more powerfully, we need to dive deeper into biological diversity.

Emilie Snell-Rood is an Associate Professor in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. Her research considers how organisms deal with environmental variation, from the evolution of learning to reactions to novel toxins. She has developed an interdisciplinary course on biomimetics that brings together students from diverse fields to tackle real-world problems using bioinspiration.

 

2016/2017 Cafés

September 20, 2016: 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, 2016: The Fungi Around Us
Kat Sweeney, Researcher, UMN Department of Plant Pathology

November 15, 2016: What Should a Clever Moose Eat?
Dr. John Pastor, Ecosystem Ecologist, UMN-Duluth Department of Biology

December 20, 2016: Moving Minnesota: Reinventing the Bell Museum Dioramas
Don Luce, Curator of Exhibits, Bell Museum of Natural History

January 17, 2017: The Beautiful Problem of Turbulence
Sam Stewart, Ph.D. student, UMN Department of Mathematics

February 21: Forest Keepers: Science, Spirituality & Conservation among the Batak Tribe
J. Scott Dodds, award-winning ethnographic filmmaker

March 21: Hunting Knowledge and Gathering Herbs: Rastafari Bush Doctors in South Africa
Lisa Aston Philander, Curator of the College of Biological Sciences Conservatory &  Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Biology

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