First things first: what is a science café? Well, it’s pretty simple, really. Science cafés are fun, lively meetings held in places like coffee houses, pubs, and community centers where everyday people come together and learn about a variety of topics from professional scientists. But they’re not lectures; they’re conversations. The scientist in each meeting is there to guide an open and friendly talk among people who want to know more. You don’t have to know a thing about science to participate, you just have to be curious.
We started the Athens Science Café because we love our community, and we wanted to facilitate a connection between the scientific community of Athens, GA and the Athens community at large. We strive to accomplish this through our café events to connect some of the country’s greatest thinkers and researchers with people who love to learn. Further, through connecting university scientists with each other and with those in the community we hope to promote collaborations across the community to bring about a stronger appreciation and love of science for all Athenians.
The café is always free, so come, grab some refreshments and get ready to have fun!
It may come as a surprise, but the concept of a science café is not unique to this group. Starting in the UK in the late 1990s, the Café Scientifique model is credited to Duncan Dallas, and since his first café, the idea of informal science discussions has spread like wildfire, with 375 global cafés currently registered on sciencecafes.org.
Our group, the Athens Science Café was formed in October 2013 by co-founders Stephanie Pearl, Rishi Masalia, James Hatway, and Terry Hastings, all of whom wanted to make science more accessible to the Athens, GA community. Our first café, held in February 2014, was a massive success with an audience of around 100 Athenians, all eager for more. Historically, this café has been one of our smaller events, but gave us the confidence to continue and expand our efforts. Since our start the Athens Science Café has attracted passionate talented Athenians to our cause including Nick Batora, John Spiekerman, Katie Pieper, and Drew Pearl, all of whom shaped, and continue to shape, the café into the community organization it is today.
Thus far the Athens Science Café has enjoyed immense success and publicity. We are humbled by the excitement and warmth Athens, GA has shown us, and we’ll continue to serve the city we love as best we can, connecting the scientific community of Athens, GA and the Athens community at large.