I just picked up a flyer for what looks like a great and geeky series of informal science lectures being put on this summer at Coffee Catz in Sebastopol, CA. The Science Buzz Cafe events are billed as a "place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, people can meet to discuss the ideas of science and technology which are changing our lives." The list of speakers and topics looks excellent, and while some of them definitely sound above my oldest pre-teen geeklet’s head, a couple of the lectures sound too good for us to miss. With topics like "Sonoma County ROCKS! – Our Geology" and "The Frog Who Discovered Electricity", I’m going to make a concerted effort to get down here with him for some good, geeky father-son bonding.
The lectures take place on Thursday evenings throughout the summer from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Some of the good ones have past already (including that geology one, darn!), but there are plenty of interesting evenings ahead if you want to make the trip out to west Sonoma county. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Coffee Catz or this lecture series has a website (here’s an info page from the local paper with location and contact details, here’s a Google Maps link), so I’ll list the upcoming topics at the bottom of this post.
I can personally attest that CoffeeCatz is a fine java joint if you have the means or desire to come out to Sebastopol for any of these lectures. They roast their own beans on the premises, have a wide range of good food and drink, comfy couches, and free wi-fi. (What else does a good geek hangout need?) They’re known throughout the county for their open mic nights, but I’m thrilled to see some science making its way into the mix.
I realize this is probably pretty far off the beaten track for most readers, but if you’re so inclined I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to organize similar events in any town that is home to both a hang-out style coffee shop and a nearby university. The flyer states that the series is sponsored by the D.N. Dunlop Fund, a project of the Economics Foundation, Inc. I haven’t heard of this organization before, but I’m intrigued by their tag line of "Understanding Economics through Visual Art and Money Science".
Upcoming lectures in Science Buzz Cafe
7/26 – Lasers: Optics and Light, Steven Anderson
8/2 – Robotics, Sculpture, The Art of Motion Control, Bruce Shapiro, M.D.
8/9 – The Evolution of Plate Tectonics, Terry Wright, Ph.D.
8/16 – Prime Numbers: The Marvel, the Mystery, Fred SOmmer
8/23 – Nice Stars and Supernovae!, Craig Van Horn
8/30 – Art, Turbulence and Sculpture, Ned Kahn
9/6 – The Frog Who Discovered Electricity, Robert Porter, Ph.D.
Update: There’s a similar science lecture series running this summer in San Francisco cafes called Ask A Scientist. This one is held at a couple of different coffee shops and has some great kid-friendly topics like "The Science of Big Waves" and a science trivia contest.