The science discussion group, Café Scientifique, meet to discuss this month’s topic: Terraforming, Astrobiology, Exoplanets.
It’s an informal and friendly get-together in a Tecom café where you can chat, debate and discuss the world of science, the best brains of which we have paid tribute to in the gallery above.
And, no, you don’t have to be a genius to go along. “Everyone is welcome, whether they’re a science nerd or science novice,” insists its founder Rohan Roberts. “We positively encourage people to ask questions that begin with, ‘This may sound like a dumb question, but…’ Everyone’s very friendly and the emphasis is on having conversations, watching interesting science videos, sharing ideas, and meeting new people.”
You’d be surprised at who turns up, he says. “We have a very multicultural crowd of all ages. We have university students, CEOs, teachers, radio hosts, journalists, performance artists – it’s a very eclectic mix of people.”
The meetings are free to attend (but you might want to buy a cup of coffee) and are held on the last Friday of every month. Rohan adds, “The idea is to learn about science without feeling like you’re in a classroom. There are people in Dubai who are keen on talking about more than just shopping or office gossip.”
Originally set up in the UK in 1998, Café Scientifique has spread around the world, covering topics such as cancer, genetics, global warming and nanotechnology. Recent topics up for debate included Inventions That Will Change The World and Renewable Energy.
MORE FROM ROHAN…
Why do you think Café Scientifique has proved popular in the UAE? Probably for the same reasons it’s been popular all over Europe: there are people in Dubai who are keen on talking about more than just shopping or office gossip. It’s popular because there are people who long to have intellectually stimulating discussions and learn about science – but in a non-academic, non-threatening setting. Cafe Scientifique Dubai meet ups offer just that: it’s a great opportunity for people to either share their views on matters related to science or simply learn from one another.
The vibe is informal, friendly, and egalitarian. The idea is to learn about science and take a scientific perspective but without making people feel like they’re in a classroom. The fact that we’ve had people drive down from Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah is testament to the fact that people in the UAE have a desire to learn about science.
Do you need to be a science boffin to attend? Absolutely not. Everyone is welcome whether they’re a science nerd or science novice. We positively encourage people to ask questions that begin with, ‘This may sound like a dumb question, but…’. Everyone’s very friendly and the emphasis is on having conversations, watching interesting science videos, sharing ideas, and meeting new people.
What type of people take part in the discussions? What is most wonderful about Cafe Scientifique Dubai is its diversity. We have a very multicultural crowd and people of all ages. From Sixth Formers, to University students, to people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. We have CEOs, directors, and managers of companies, teachers, students, principals, radio hosts, journalists, performance artists, it’s a very eclectic mix of people, and this is something Raya Bidshahri (the co-founder of Cafe Scientifique Dubai) and I enjoy most.
December 27: Terraforming, Astrobiology, Exoplanets. January 31: The Science Behind Intelligent Optimism
Lila Café, Tecom, Dubai, 5pm to 6.30pm, free. Metro: Internet City. cafescidubai.com