Posted by: Jeremy Fox | August 12, 2011

The ESA meeting should have Science Cafes

In addition to putting on free evening ecology talks for the general public, the ESA should also be doing at least one Science Cafe in association with the annual meeting. Science Cafes are events in which (at least in Calgary, where I live) a couple of scientists plus a moderator get together with the public in a pub on an evening when the pub isn’t ordinarily busy to talk about some scientific issue of wide interest. Sometimes the two scientists come from opposite sides of a debate, sometimes not. Each scientist talks informally for about 10 minutes about the issue, and then the floor is opened for informal question and answer and discussion. Lots of cities in North America have ongoing series of Science Cafes, so in many cities you could probably just plug into an existing series.

If you did a Science Cafe in association with the ESA meeting you might have to ensure that the event wasn’t swamped by professional ecologists, but if you could figure out how to solve that issue I think it would be a great form of outreach.


  1. Great idea. +1

  2. YES!

  3. I like the idea as well, though the key is the moderator…probably shouldn’t be a scientist! Get the team from RadioLab.

  4. Indeed. Doing something like this at an ESA (or another ecology meeting) would simplify the logistics of finding (interesting) scientists on opposing sides of any debate.

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