Science cafes are live events in casual settings like pubs or coffeehouses, where scientists engage the public in conversations about current science topics. From September 13 – 24, the NISE Network offered a two-week online workshop that introduced participants to science cafes with a nano theme. Discussion was be led by three moderators who have run successful cafes series in their own communities: Amanda Thomas (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), Brad Herring (Museum of Life and Science), and Jen Larese (WGBH).
In this workshop, topics covered included all the basics about starting a science cafe, including tips for selecting a venue, preparing a scientist/presenter, and marketing your event. Also discussed were nanoscience and technology topics that can be presented in science cafes for development in conjunction with NanoDays events. This online workshop used asynchronous text discussions using ASTC Connect, the online learning community of the Association of Science-Technology Centers.
For more information on hosting a science cafe in your community, see the NISE Network Product "Science Cafe Guide," which is a guide to hosting an event that brings scientists and the public together in an informal setting to talk science.
A limited number of stipends were available for workshop participants to organize a science cafe series in their community and host a nano-themed science cafe during NanoDays 2011 (March 26 – April 3). Details about this opportunity were shared in the second week of the online workshop.