Although the College is little more than a year old, it was formed from the merger of two schools, one of which was Royston High School, which had been running a monthly Cafe Sci ever since it decided to become a science specialist college. The science team took the “club” with it when they moved over to the new College.
Darren is particularily thrilled to be delivering the 50th lecture as he was a co-founder of the RHS Cafe Sci and delivered the very first talk. “I have done talks and lectures all over the world, but I love doing these sessions the best”, he says. “The questions are always the hardest, and the debate is always the most interesting.”
The College Cafe Sci is still unique in the world, being the only village Cafe Sci in the world, all others being run in large metropolitan centres. It is also one of the few that encourages mixed age groups, with students, parents, professionals and members of the public all taking part, in an entertaining and informing evening, full of fun, conversation and the odd glass of wine. The lectures are also designed to be completely accessible to all. “You don’t have to be a scientist, or even academic, to understand what’s being said,” adds Smithson.
The format is a 30-40 minute lecture, followed by a break for drinks and a chat. Then everyone returns for the Q&A and debating section. These usually go on until the caretakers need to lock up.
Subject wise, the team are debating whether to do a brand new and updated ‘The 50 Year Horizon’, which looks at where we might be in 50 years time, or ‘Through a Universe Darkly’, which examines the history and the key theories around the search for the theory of everything. Smithson did the original 50 Year Horizon talk on launch night, and its the basis of his book coming out in time for the talk on 22nd March, and it looks at robotics, nanotechnology, gaming, educational futures and more. ‘Through the Universe Darkly’ however would be a completely new talk with none of the material previously seen. A final decision will be taken in a few days.
“Whichever one we do,” says Smithson, “it’s going to be great fun, and something different from the usual evening in or out.”
To attend you simply need to turn up on the night, although we recommend you book so we can gauge numbers for the drinks etc. Register for free at http://50thcafesciatcarltoncollege.eventbrite.com/