What do people think of science?
What are the forces shaping those opionions?
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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 environmentthey most often take place in a café or bar, never in an academic settingand 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 CafeScientifique.org or ScienceCafes.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dr. Saad Shafqa also discusses the fundamentals of evolution with a multi-generational Karachi crowd in March 2008.
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.
Dr. Emy Liwag moderates a discussion entitled "Can Passion Be Brewed" at Manila's Cape Isla Café in September, 2008.
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.
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.
Neurologist Ciriaco Scoppetta and biologist Anna Tramontano discuss genes with an audience at the Bibli café-bookshop in Rome in November, 2007.
Photo credit: Paul Gibson
Gerard Cangelosi, of Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, draws a comparison between tuberculosis and Godzilla at the Ravenna Science on Tap.
High school physics teacher Zeke Kossover draws in the kids with a demonstration at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts Vortex in October, 2008.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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The Fundamentals: Public Perception
Posted November 20, 2008
Originally appeared in Seed 19