Weekly Science Café Tackles Variety Of Topics

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Each Wednesday around 5 p.m., The Front Room Café located in Baker University Center falls eerily still and quiet.

With dozens of heads turned to face the small stage in the center of the room, Ohio University’s weekly Science Café demands attention.

Since 2009, the Science Café, part of the Café Series presents to opportunity for curious minds to learn new and interesting information in the fields of science. Weekly themes have ranged from astronomy and chemistry to psychology and even music, tailored for an audience without a formal history or knowledge of the sciences.

“One of the things whenever I’m getting information from presenters, I tell them to keep it as simple as possible. Half the people here even if they are in the sciences aren’t in that specific field so we have to break it down.” Explained senior Will Rhodes, a Strategic Communications major tasked with advertisements and organization for the café.

Directing the series since its inception have been Roxanne Male’-Brune, and Dr. Sarah Wyatt, both seasoned and respected members of Ohio University’s faculty.

“Sarah and I solicit ideas for the Science Cafés and Café Conversations from the faculty cadre, a group of faculty advisors for the café. We like to pick cafés that are topical and of interest to a large general audience,” said Male’-Brune. “Starting last year the student cadre, a group of graduated students advisors has also given input.”

In choosing topics to appeal to a wide range of spectators, Male’-Brune and Wyatt have succeeded in drawing and engaging audiences, with weekly attendance ranging from eight to even 100 attendees.

Presenters range from graduate students, scientists, and other members knowledgeable in the field they are to present. Audience participation is encouraged, with occasional prizes given for correct answers.

For those who cannot make it to The Front Room Wednesdays at five, the College of Arts and Sciences sponsors a LiveStream of the event.

“We also have help from the student cadre,” said Male’-Brune. “Undergraduate or graduate students interested in joining the cadre should definitely contact me. We typically meet twice a year to talk about potential speakers and brainstorm about PR strategies.”

As the Science Café continues into the spring semester, the next presentation of the year will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 16 with the topic “Math, Zombie and the Language of the Universe” presented by Greg Hayrapetyan. Lecturers for the spring semester include Geraldine Botte, a professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Joseph Shields, a professor in Astronomy, Craig Grimes, and Assistant Professor in Geology, and several others. Specific lecture topics are released in proximity to the event and can be found on here.

For any questions regarding information or participation, Brune’-Male can be contacted at