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Posts Tagged ‘Science Cafe New Hampshire’

Science Cafe New Hampshire Set to Launch

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

In the interest of giving you the latest news about all of the things that make for a vibrant, growing and interesting New Hampshire, here’s a neat press release that I just ran across:

“Science Café New Hampshire” Launches with May 24 Forum in Concord on Climate Change

New Hampshire is joining a national grassroots movement aimed at bringing more science into public discussion of scientific topics, with the launch of Science Café New Hampshire. The first café is set for May 24 at 7:00 p.m. at The Barley House (downstairs) in Concord; the topic will be “Climate Change in New Hampshire?”

iconmicroscopeThe free monthly gatherings at The Barley House in Concord involve loosely organized discussions among several invited scientists and the general public, with snacks, drinks and plenty of back-and-forth available throughout the evening. It is modeled after dozens of similar gatherings run around the country and the world by universities, colleges and professional groups, but this one has even more of a grassroots beginning.

Science Café New Hampshire was created by Sarah Eck of Hopkinton, a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and Dan Marcek of Brookline, a veteran of the computer industry. They felt a shortage of opportunities for the general public to learn about, and talk about, the science and engineering of controversial topics that will affect life in New Hampshire, whether it be climate change or digital privacy or the future of food.

“Science comes in many forms today and New Hampshire needs exposure to all of them. Science Cafe New Hampshire will help bridge the gap, connecting science and scientists with the general public in a conversation about issues we are facing. Preparing New Hampshire for 21st century means we all must work a little harder to be informed by the facts, not the rhetoric.

“Public dialogue is a big part of the answer,” said Dan Marcek.

“The informal atmosphere of our science café will allow local experts to share their research and knowledge with non-scientists and provide a comfortable environment for comments and questions to be raised and considered by all present. Additionally, we hope that the issues raised at Science Café New Hampshire will spark an ongoing discussion that extends into homes and communities,” said Sarah Eck.

The first café, set for May 24 at 7:00 p.m. at The Barley House (downstairs) in Concord, will follow the general format. Its topic is “Climate Change in New Hampshire?” Three panelists will be present: state climatologist Mary Stampone of UNH, who’s particularly knowledgeable about computer modeling of climate; UNH Professor Lawrence Hamilton, whose research includes the Arctic, Human-environment interactions, and statistics and data analysis; and Rhett Lamb, planner for the City of Keene.

They will give short introductions about their expertise, and then the evening will be opened for comments and questions from anybody who shows up.

The format isn’t a “sage from a stage” lecture hall, but discussions among people who want to understand the realities of climate change so they can make more well informed decisions.

The café will be moderated by Dave Brooks, a science writer for the Nashua Telegraph, whose weekly Granite Geek column and daily Granite Geek blog have touched on many of these topics, with a lighter tone, for years.

“I’m there mainly to make sure nothing horrible happens, like somebody trying to discuss politics,” said Brooks. “And if things get too slow, I’ll tell my joke about the 3.14159 mathematicians who walk into a bar.”

A second Science Café New Hampshire is being planned for June, on the topic of the future of food, with more monthly Science Cafes taking place in the fall after a summer hiatus.

To learn more about the discussion, http://www.sciencecafenh.org/.

For more information, contact Dan Marcek at 603-801-6943, marcek@gmail.com or Sarah Eck 603-728-8243, sarahmeck@gmail.com.