Monday, June 1, 2009
As a physics groupie, I like to be up to date on all the science events happening around town. It can be a daunting task, however, to continually check all the venue’s calendars for upcoming lectures, seminars and symposiums. In a typical month period there are as many as half-a-dozen events that I’m interested in right here in Los Angeles, and I always hate it when I miss one because I don’t hear about it in time.
One great solution to this problem is to join your local Science Café. You can start by going to the Science Cafes website: www.sciencecafes.org and search for your local chapter. For my readers outside the U.S. visit the UK-based Cafe Scientifique website: www.cafescientifique.org for a directory of Science Cafes in the UK and other countries.
I live in Southern California, and our Science Café chapter is organized using the Meetup.com group management website. The So Cal group can be reached at: www.meetup.com/SoCal-Science-Cafe. Our group has over 700 members, and membership is free. Each Science Café group works a little differently. The So Cal group organizers (I am an organizer and field reporter for the group) seek out local science events that might be of interest to the group. We send out broadcast announcement e-mails to all members who wish to receive such notices. I found out about the recent JPL Open House event (see previous Science Lifestyle blog post on Saturday, May 2 for details) from one such e-mail. On our group’s Meetup website members can post their profiles that include areas of science interest and photos. Also available are polls, shared file area, message board and most importantly an event calendar.
Some events are organized and sponsored by our Science Café group itself. For instance, the group might invite a recent book author to give a talk at a local bookstore. I’ve attended a number of Science Café events and I’m never disappointed. One reason they’re so good is that they are attended by like-minded folks who share a passion for science and the enthusiasm is always quite high. Kids are always encouraged to attend Science Café events.
I recommend you all join your local Science Café. It is free and it is fun and you won’t miss another good science event again.