Cafe Sci

Introduction to Wildlife Photography

A recording of the talk is now available on YouTube HERE.

Dave Hudson will be giving us an introduction to wildlife photography.

About the talk

In this talk Dave will cover some of the basic steps on how to go about photographing wildlife and how to improve the shots you take to make them look more professional. Dave will briefly touch on some field craft, how to find wildlife to photograph, composition and then we will briefly look at how to set up your camera (depending on how much time we have available!).

About our speaker: Dave Hudson

Dave is an ex-teacher, currently a PhD research student at University of Exeter studying the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in Badgers and a keen wildlife photographer.

You can see more of Dave’s work at

Cafe Sci

The Most Remarkable Migrants of All

A recording of this talk is now available on YouTube HERE.

Will Hawkes will be talking to us about the incredible journeys some insects make across vast distances.

About the talk

Some tiny insects are capable of incredible journeys thousands of kilometres long. This talk will explain about these journeys, how you can identify these migrants when they arrive in your gardens, and the absolutely vital role these insects play for the natural world.

About our speaker: Will Hawkes

Will is a Welsh naturalist currently studying for a PhD at the University of Exeter researching insect migration.

Cafe Sci


The recording of this talk is now available HERE.

Dr. Beth Roberts will be talking to us about the lives of one of our favourite garden residents, the humble bumblebees. Register you interest HERE.

Bumblebees are an important group of insects because they pollinate our crops and wildflowers. We have probably all seem them buzzing around our gardens or when we are out on our daily walk, but how much do you know about them? Beth did her PhD on the nesting ecology of bumblebees and so is now officially a Dr of Bumblebees. She is going to be giving a talk on her favourite subject, and during this talk you will learn more about the secret lives of bumblebees: where do they live? What is their lifecycle? What plants do they love to visit?

About our speaker: Dr. Beth Roberts

Beth Roberts is an Ecologist and Postoctoral Research Associate at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health.

Beth recently completed her PhD at the University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, where her research focused on the hidden ecology of bumblebees. Her thesis implemented classical, novel and computer modelling techniques to uncover some of the previously understudied areas of bumblebee behaviour.

Cafe Sci

Humphry Davy and Cornwall: Chemistry, Poetry & Society: with Prof. Frank James, UCL.

The recording for this talk is now available on YouTube HERE.

Davy, born in Penzance in 1778, spent nearly the first twenty years of his life in Cornwall before his meteoric rise to metropolitan, indeed European, fame as Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution and later as President of the Royal Society of London. But it was his time in Cornwall that gave him the base from which to pursue this career trajectory.

This cafe scientifique will seek to understand how it came about by discussing his social background and contacts (for example with Gregory Watt and Tom Wedgwood), the chemical research he was able to undertake while in Cornwall and the impact of Cornish scenery on his poetic imagination.

Frank James is a Professor of History of Science at University College London and has spent the last few years researching and writing about Davy, having previously worked on Michael Faraday.

Cafe Sci

The Power of Marine Citizen Science

The recording of this talk is now available on YouTube, HERE.

Dr. Ben Holt will be speaking to us about marine citizen science. There will be a talk followed by a Q&A all hosted on Zoom.

About this Event

Speaker: Dr Ben Holt – Science Director of the Rock Pool Project & Researcher at Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, Copenhagen (pictured below).

Studying our natural world is far from easy. The sheer diversity and complexity of life on Earth represents a major challenge as we endeavour to understand how and why natural systems change from place to place and from time to time. This is particularly true for the marine environment.

As concerns regarding human impact on our world reach new extremes, it is vital that professional scientists reach out to the wider community, not just to raise awareness but also to involve people throughout society in the study of biodiversity. Ben will discuss his personal relationship with the world of marine citizen science, as well as the opportunities and challenges this approach presents.

Follow The Rock Pool Project via these links:


Facebook: @therockpoolproject

Twitter: @rockpoolproject

Cafe Sci

Phages: the enemy of our enemy.

The recording of this talk is now available on YouTube HERE.

Meaghan Castledine will be telling us about how phage therapy can help us against antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Bacteria and their viral “devourers” have been locked in a timeless battle. Now, as bacterial infections become antibiotic resistant, we are turning to these same viruses (“phage”) to treat disease. Could phage therapy replace antibiotics? How do phage overcome bacterial defences and beat resistance? Meaghan Castledine, a PhD student at the University of Exeter, discusses her research on phage therapy.

Cafe Sci

Fractals – Nature’s Beauty Hidden in Simple Mathematics

NB: Autumn 2018 season begins with Fractals, with Tariq Rashid, on October 17th, 7.45pm, at the Poly. But this is just the first in a whole season of Café Scientifique talks given. For the full programme, see the Falmouth Café Sci website.

October 17th 2018

7.45pm, in the Library Room at The Poly, Falmouth

For our first talk of the Autumn season we will be joined by Tariq Rashid. Nature has some of the most beautiful forms and intricate patterns – from the intriguing self-similarity of the humble cauliflower, to the impressive branching of lightning, from the gentle fluffiness of clouds to the architecture of the human vascular system.

It might surprise you that mathematics, even simple school mathematics, contains within it similar intricate forms, from regular self-similar to the hauntingly beautiful Mandelbrot forms.

In this talk, we’ll take a tour of these patterns, and see how even simple mathematics can craft intricate and even organic infinitely-detailed forms. Tariq Rashid runs the Algorithmic Art group; he has established a children’s code club (the coderdojo); and has just launched Data Science Cornwall for professionals and individuals interested in machine learning, data mining and artificial intelligence.

Cafe Sci

Strange new worlds: Planets beyond our solar system

28 September 2017

7.45 pm at The Poly, Falmouth

Elisabeth Matthews of Exeter University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy will be describing some of the latest discoveries about the extraordinary worlds of planets outside our own solar system; and the new technologies that are allowing us to explore them.

This is part of our Cafe Sci series. For more about Cafe Scientifique, see the Cafe Sci website.

Cafe Sci

Lithium mining in Cornwall

20 September June 2017

7.45 pm at The Poly, Falmouth

Jeremy Wrathall of Cornish Lithium will be discussing plans to explore mining for this extraordinarily metal. Jeremy’s talk will address many aspects of mining, from geology to economics to the acquisition of mining rights, where the company is breaking new ground. Cornwall is one of the few places where lithium can be found and extracted. Find out more about it and its uses in this talk.

Please note: as we anticipate high numbers for this talk, unusually for us, this event will be by ticket only. Tickets obtainable from the Poly box office, via the website or by phone.

This is part of our Cafe Sci series. For more about Cafe Scientifique, see the Cafe Sci website.

Cafe Sci

Can we make history a scientific discipline?

21 June 2017

7.30 pm at The Poly, Falmouth

Here Tom Currie, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Evolution at the University of Exeter, will argue that the same kind of comparative techniques routinely used in the natural sciences can be employed to tackle questions relating to human history. In this talk Tom will explain new research that shows how evolutionary theory & big data can help build bridges between different disciplines and uncover the patterns of human history and the processes that have shaped the world we live in today.

This is part of our Cafe Sci series. For more about Cafe Scientifique, see the Cafe Sci website.