Pharyngula

Our speaker at Tuesday’s Café Scientifique, Nic McPhee, has a blog, and gives the speaker’s side of the event. He’s exactly right that our big problem out here is improving community involvement, and getting some interaction with the townie side is going to be one of my goals in setting up next year’s series.

Comments

  1. #1 harlan
    March 30, 2006

    Why not use the brewing of beer as your gateway into the discussion? It’s biochemistry. The enzymes breaking the starch into sugar is magic and can be performed in a cooler. Yeast is a huge topic…incomplete mitochondria…population genetics…you can even (re)introduce Louis Pasteur.

    Just tell ’em there’ll be free beer at the end…

  2. #2 Tara C. Smith
    March 30, 2006

    If you get some brilliant ideas on increasing community involvement, be sure to post ’em here. Now that I’ve discovered Iowa City has our own CS, I’m finding the same thing–it’s largely university folk in the sciences.

  3. #3 Tara C. Smith
    March 30, 2006

    If you get some brilliant ideas on increasing community involvement, be sure to post ’em here. Now that I’ve discovered Iowa City has our own CS, I’m finding the same thing–it’s largely university folk in the sciences.

  4. #4 Tara C. Smith
    March 30, 2006

    If you get some brilliant ideas on increasing community involvement, be sure to post ’em here. Now that I’ve discovered Iowa City has our own CS, I’m finding the same thing–it’s largely university folk in the sciences.

  5. #5 Tara C. Smith
    March 30, 2006

    If you get some brilliant ideas on increasing community involvement, be sure to post ’em here. Now that I’ve discovered Iowa City has our own CS, I’m finding the same thing–it’s largely university folk in the sciences.

  6. #6 LM Wanderer
    March 30, 2006

    When I ran a day long computer networking education based trade show we found that the best response came from
    1. Having up to date information available. The current incarnation of the Morris CS web site is old news and dead / no links.
    2. Each volunteer personally invited at least one person per day every day to attend the show and the monthly gatherings.
    3. Timing was the same for each recurring event. For the monthly gatherings it was the same day of the month, e.g., first Tuesday, at the same time. No changes so people could plan ahead. For yearly events it was the same time of the year, e. g., the Tuesday and Wednesday the week after Labor Day. People would start calling in late July wondering where the registration materials were.
    4. For CS – Morris postings in public libraries might work.
    5. Talking to public school teachers and letting them know about the upcoming topics to see if their students would be interested. Depending upon the relationship between the college and the local schools you could run a contest which would reward the school / class with the best CS attendance a special talk by a university faculty member on a fun science topic. This worked well to get high school math classes to participate in monthly math puzzles published by a college in the Twin Cities.
    6. Prepare a small media book and send it out. Get mentioned in the local scandal sheet gossip column or the local newspaper preferably 2 – 5 days before the next meeting.

    PZ: If some of us in Minneapolis came up for a CS – Morris what’s the best route?

    Thanks.

    LM Wanderer
    lmwanderer (at) hotmail (dot) com

  7. #7 pablo
    March 30, 2006

    I think the name — Cafe Scientifique — is offputting. Sounds too sophisticated and exclusive.

  8. #8 wamba
    March 30, 2006

    I think the name — Cafe Scientifique — is offputting. Sounds too sophisticated and exclusive.

    Worse than that – it sounds French.

  9. #9 wamba
    March 30, 2006

    Study: Praying Won’t Affect Heart Patients

    I am shocked! Shocked! I say, to find that prayer doesn’t heal people.

  10. #10 Panda
    March 30, 2006

    Put up flyers in the local high schools and at the popular stores (Hardware Hank?).

  11. #11 Prufrock
    March 30, 2006

    Not only is the name French, it’s not even accurate. Aren’t the meetings in pubs rather than cafes? In Seattle, the gatherings are called Science on Tap. Sounds less limp-wristed, more regular-folkish.

  12. #12 Phi
    April 1, 2006

    LM Wanderer: Thanks for all the suggestions, many of which can apply in our situation, several of which have in fact been used here in Morris. (Sadly, though, not in the case of my talk, mostly because I was super swamped and didn’t really focus on this until the last minute :-(.)

    There is, however, a certain amount of uphill battle that we’re just going to have to slog through. I know that PZ worked very hard on advertising on some of the early events, which included topics that really should have appealed out here on the prairie (e.g., development of antibiotic resistance on organic vs. traditional dairies), yet the non-U turnout was still very weak.

    I do agree with comments here and elsewhere regarding the name, and wonder if “Science on tap” or some such might be more appealing.

  13. #13 Jen
    July 16, 2008

    As a co-founder of Science on Tap in Seattle, I’ve found that the best attendance happens through word of mouth, not by intensive advertisement (recent evaluation numbers). That being said, you may have more success garnering community involvement by posting fliers about your science cafe in places where the locals hang out and even talking with your target audience about the topics they’d like to hear more about. Learn what topics are URGENT for your target audience and therefore more likely to win attendance. Good luck and have fun. Aren’t science cafes a blast??

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