Seed's inaugural edition of the State of Science explores the current scientific landscape and its emergent hotspots—along with the motivations and ambitions of the individuals charting its future.

Read more Seed State of Science 2008

Revolutionary Minds: Tracey Brown

What do people think of science?
What are the forces shaping those opionions?

Public Perception

Café Scientifique: A Slideshow

rome italy

Humanizing Science,
One Person at a Time

Founded in Leeds, UK, in 1998, Café Scientifique has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, with more than 150 groups meeting on a regular basis. The colloquies feature a scientist discussing his or her field in layman's terms and in a layman's environment—they most often take place in a café or bar, never in an academic setting—and the goal is to humanize science, one person at a time. Here, photos from recent science café meetings around the world: To find the meeting nearest you, visit or

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Boothbay Harbor, Maine

United States

Photo credit: Greg Bernard

Drs. Paty Matrai, Barney Balch, and Robert Guillard speaking on the controversy surrounding the use of ocean iron fertilization as a way to reduce global carbon dioxide, at the Boothbay Harbor historic Opera House in June, 2008.

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Photo credit: Gábor Király

Kate Soper, Professor of Philosophy at the London Metropolitan University discusses her work in a discussion entitled "Towards Postconsumerism: Nature, Culture and the Politics of Consumption", at the Merlin Színház theatre in January of 2007.

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Cleveland, Ohio

United States

Photo credit: Liz Russell, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

A Cleveland-based audience participates in a discussion on the origins of life at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, led by Dr. Saba Valadkhan from the center of RNA Molecular Biology at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Patricia Princehouse from the Department of Philosophy at Case Western, and Dr. Neil Greenspan from the Department of Pathology.

dayton ohio
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Dayton, Ohio

United States

Photo credit: Yvonne Dunphe, Adult Education Supervisor, Cox Arboretum MetroPark

Dr. David Miller (shown standing), assistant professor from Clark State University shares his knowledge on evolution at Dayton's Cox Arboretum MetroPark in January, 2005.

karachi pakistan
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Dr. Saad Shafqa also discusses the fundamentals of evolution with a multi-generational Karachi crowd in March 2008.

freiberg germany
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Photo credit: Torsten Mayer

Professor Heiner Vollstädt uses a tray of minerals to discuss the value of diamonds Freiberg's Havanna Club in October, 2008.

manila philippines
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Dr. Emy Liwag moderates a discussion entitled "Can Passion Be Brewed" at Manila's Cape Isla Café in September, 2008.

nairobi kenya
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Photo credit: Charles Ngigi of Charlie Photographers in Kenya

The second Kenyan Science Cafe took place in September 2008 at the Savannah Coffee House in Nairobi, and featured Dr. Andrew Nyandigisi, Dr. Elizabeth Juma and Dr, Willis Akhwale from the Division of Malaria Control (DOMC) Kenya. The group discussed the latest Malaria research.

rijeka croatia
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Photo credit: Alison Frank

Korado Korlevic, an astronomer and science educator from Visnjan Observatory leads a discussion on "Life in the Universe: scientific fact or product of human imagination?" at the Hemingway Cafe in Rijeka's city center in January, 2007.

rome italy
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Neurologist Ciriaco Scoppetta and biologist Anna Tramontano discuss genes with an audience at the Bibli café-bookshop in Rome in November, 2007.

seattle washington
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Seattle, Washington

United States

Photo credit: Paul Gibson

Gerard Cangelosi, of Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, draws a comparison between tuberculosis and Godzilla at the Ravenna Science on Tap.

sebastapol california
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Sebastopol, California

United States

High school physics teacher Zeke Kossover draws in the kids with a demonstration at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts Vortex in October, 2008.

tampere finland
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Photo credit: Mikko Närhi

Dr. Christopher Flynn from the University of Turku discusses dark matter and dark energy with an audience of 200, many of them high school students, at one of Tampere's first Science Cafes, held in September, 2008 at Finlayson, a former factory building now housing cafes, restaurants, offices.

warsaw poland
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Jaroslaw Bryk and Dr. Anna Lotentz, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, moderates an interactive discussion on ancient DNA Ancient DNA in February 2007.

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The Face of Science: The Draw-a-Scientist Test

The Draw-a-Scientist Test is a common assessment of public perceptions of science that asks participants to draw what they think a scientist looks like. Here are the resulting drawings from seventh graders visiting Fermilab, followed by drawings from adults in New York City's Madison Square Park.

scientist drawings

When seventh graders visiting Fermilab took the test, their sketches of manic men in lab coats incidated that they think scientists are "kind of crazy," always have new ideas, and talk entirely too fast. Illustrations courtesy of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office.

scientist drawings

Seed put the test to adults in New York City's Madison Square Park. Though the responsdents' scientists varied by grooming and attire, they were all white and male.

Seed 19

The Fundamentals: Public Perception
Posted November 20, 2008
Originally appeared in Seed 19

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