Explain to a pub full of beer drinkers exactly what it is you do in your lab. That’s the idea behind Science on Tap, which will be taking place again this year in bars, coffee shops and restaurants in the heart of Tel Aviv’s entertainment district at the end of the month.

Mada al Habar_banner.jpg
A Science on Tap billboard like this hangs over the entrance to Tel Aviv – the number has since risen to 55

This one is the biggest event yet: Over 55 Weizmann professors, doctoral students and assorted researchers have volunteered to spend an evening talking about their science to a public out looking for information and entertainment rolled into one. The scientists would probably do it even without the free beer: This is science communication at its most basic, up-close and personal. Most turn out to be surprisingly good at it. And even if some of the explanation gets a bit technical here and there, or drowned out by background noise, the audience generally gets caught up in the passion of the researcher for his or her subject, the awe of hearing about new discoveries and cutting-edge science, and the thrill of learning something really new and different.

Some of the speakers are already regulars. Dr. Yaara Yeshurun, for instance, will be back by popular demand with her demonstration and talk on the connection between smell and memory. Others will be getting their feet wet for the first time. Subjects range from astrophysics to quantum mechanics, from cancer research to the brain, math, chemistry and more. Weizmann Institute President, Prof. Daniel Zajfman, will be leading by example with a discussion entitled “Science, Beauty and Economic Profit,” and Vice President Prof. Israel Bar-Joseph will be speaking, as well, on his subject – nanophysics.

All lectures will be in Hebrew. So if you are a Hebrew speaker and science buff in the Tel Aviv area, there is a whole list of speakers and venues to choose from. Just don’t forget to make reservations – most places fill up early. Non-Hebrew speakers in the vicinity can still check out the Parallel Worlds exhibit of scientific images that will be hung in a local gallery.