Cafe Sci

Snowball Earth Life: Ice creatures of the deep past

Wednesday, 17th March 2021. Register your interest HERE.

Jaz Millar will explore how life survived approximately 100 million years of ice and show us why scientists travel to the poles today to understand the past.


		Virtual Café Sci | Snowball Earth Life: Ice creatures of the deep past image

About the talk

From 720-635 milion years ago the planet was completely frozen in ice from the poles to the equator. Not only did the microorganisms that live there survive these harsh conditions they somehow thrived and diversified, as the first ever animals appear in the following period. In this talk we’ll explore how life survived approximately 100 million years of ice and show you why scientists travel to the poles today to understand the past.


		Virtual Café Sci | Snowball Earth Life: Ice creatures of the deep past image

About our speaker – Jaz Millar

Jaz Millar is a molecular- and micro-biologist with a background in extremophiles – organisms that thrive under extreme conditions. Their work is at the intersection of environmental science and biology, and involves everything from DNA analysis to climbing glaciers. They’re currently working towards their PhD at Cardiff University and The Natural History Museum London.


		Virtual Café Sci | Snowball Earth Life: Ice creatures of the deep past image
Cafe Sci

The Science Soap Box: February 2021

This event took place on the 24th February 2021, 5:30pm. See below for a short summary of our discussions.

We started talking about the gut microbiome, and how it impacts many aspects of our life.
We finished with a completely different topic – the recent Mars rover landing and the worth of space exploration.

Join us for another Science Soapbox where you can join the discussion about the science that is important to you.

Do you have a topic you would like to discuss at The Science Soapbox? We have one example lined up:

Ground-breaking new research on the genetics of the human gut biome suggests powerful new insights on diet, health, and environments.

We could be discussing this new research, exploring the science behind the headline conclusions; and the further questions it raises about DNA, science, health and society.

But what about YOU?


		The Science Soap Box image

Introducing The Science Soap Box

What science-related story has caught your eye over the past year?

What seems to you really important?

This week, instead of Virtual Cafe Sci, we are opening up this space to all you, our audience, to have your say on any science-related item that you’ve found especially interesting, whether in the news, in the journals, or on the web.

You can tell us briefly, in the chat box, what you found; and why you think it matters; and we will then give you time on screen to make the case for why we should all be interested too.

After that, as with all our evenings, we will open the discussion to everyone else, to comment or ask questions – and so you may get the chance to expand and say more.


		The Science Soap Box image
Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | The Science behind Forest Bathing | Paul Simmons

Wednesday, 20th January 2021

Paul Simmons will be discussing 40 years of research into the Japanese forest therapy of shirin-yoku or forest bathing.

About the talk

The talk is about the results of 40 years research into the Japanese forest therapy of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing and why it is so important for our psychological and physiological well-being with an almost universal acceptance of the need to reconnect to nature.

About our speaker – Paul Simmons

Paul Simmons has an MA in Cornish Studies and is embarking on a PhD about utilizing the Rights of Way network to help mitigate the effects of the climate and ecological emergency in a low carbon economy.

He has had a walking company for the past 20 years and is a practitioner of shinrin-yoku.

Arts Well

We are running this joint event with Arts Well. They play an important role for championing the arts and creativity in promoting health and wellbeing.

You can find out more about Arts Well here.

Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | Archaeological mapping from airborne LiDAR

Wednesday, 16th December 2020

Dr. Chris Smart will be talking to us about preliminary results from a volunteer-led programme in South West Britain.

About the talk

This talk will give an overview of a new crowd-sourced project, created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which involves members of the public volunteering to systematically explore airborne LiDAR data and map ‘new’ archaeological sites and relics of the historic landscape.

The work is one part of the University of Exeter’s ‘Understanding Landscapes’ project, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This research focuses on Devon and Cornwall and, whilst the new discoveries span all periods in history (from Prehistoric to 19th-century), this presentation will focus on some of those which illuminate the Iron Age and Roman periods.

About our speaker – Dr. Chris Smart

Chris Smart is a landscape archaeologist at the University of Exeter who specialises in the heritage of Roman and medieval Britain. He currently runs the National Lottery Heritage Fund project ‘Understanding Landscapes’ which is engaging the public in research on Roman and medieval landscapes in Devon and Cornwall, UK

Cafe Sci

John of Trevisa – A Mediaeval Man of Science?

Wednesday, 25th November 2020

Robin Johnson will be giving a talk about John of Trevisa, a Cornish man who then translated Aristotle’s science writings into English.

About the talk

Robin will be telling the story of John de Trevisa, one of the first Cornishmen ever to go to university; who then translated Aristotle’s science writings into English; and quite probably, in his youth, was one of the key translators of Wycliffe’s bible.

It’s a story with history, science, politics and Cornwall in it.

It’s also got rebellion, danger, intrigue, powerful protectors and attempted character assassination.

Robin’s talk will attempt to tell the story, as best we can piece it together; and through this, we can explore the boundaries between history and science, translation and polemic, and the contributions each can make to understanding of the historical, social, and intellectual world.

Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | PK Porthcurno | Paul Tyreman

Wednesday, 14th October 2020

Discussing the science and history associated with PK Porthcurno, formerly known as the Telegraph Museum.

About the talk

2020 was to be a year of great celebration at PK, being the 150th anniversary of the opening of the cable station, with many events planned at PK and the Minack and in Penzance. With Paul located in the Clore Learning Space at PK, we will begin with a brief look at significant events in these 150 years and a look at some of the basic science behind the Telegraph technology – perhaps with a demonstration without explanation to get everyone thinking.

Next we will find out how on Earth you go about finding a break in a cable that is hundreds of miles long and located on the sea bed. We will finish with a look at how the Internet is the same as the Telegraph the Victorians built – and the differences that allow the virtually instantaneous communication on which much of modern life relies.

There’s a lot more to Porthcurno beach than meets the eye.

About our speaker

Paul was a Science teacher in London and Cornwall for 26 years up to 2012. After a few years volunteering at PK Porthcurno (at the time simply called the Telegraph Museum), he became the Learning Facilitator in 2016, hosting school and other groups and running the monthly STEM Explorers sessions for 7 – 12 year olds – until Covid. He is currently working with his colleagues to see how these activities can be resumed.

Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | Seaweed Aquaculture in South West of England

Wednesday, 30th September 2020

Dr. Carly Daniels and Dr. Katie Orchel will discuss the challenges facing seaweed aquaculture in the South West of England.

About the talk

Seaweed is a healthy, sustainable source of food with a large global market. The global seaweed industry is worth over $6 billion per annum (equivalent to approx. 12 million tonnes in volume), 85% of which is produced as food products for human consumption.

The algae cultivation industry is set for expansion in the UK, as the health and nutritional benefits of seaweed consumption become clear. Providing a sustainable source of protein, omega-3, iron, a range of vitamins and minerals and other key nutrients, seaweed is expected to play an important role in new diets, including the increased prominence of plant-based diets in reaction to new data on food-related carbon emissions.

Additionally, seaweed has many uses across different industries: the use of its bioactive compounds in cosmetics, nutraceuticals, bio-medicals and pharmaceuticals; as food additives and fertiliser in agriculture; and in the production of bioplastics, textiles and biofuels. These added uses and benefits make seaweed a prime candidate for sustainable product development.

Dr Carly Daniels (Department of Biosciences) and Dr Katie Orchel (Department of Geography) from the University of Exeter will discuss some of the technical and societal challenges that face development of the seaweed culture in the South West of England.

Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | The Evolution of Sailing Dinghies | Reuben Thompson

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020

Reuben Thompson will be talking to us about how sailing dinghies have changed and evolved over the past few decades.

About the talk

What is a King George Jubilee Truss, and why was it banned for 15 years? How did a WW2 Bomber open sailing up to the masses? These are just part of the journey over the last 100 years as the sport of dinghy sailing has gone from a sedate pastime for wealthy gentlemen, to an exciting and accessible sport. How did we get here and where are we going next?

Whether you have a prior interest in sailing or not this talk aims to give an overview of the technological, material, and social developments that have influenced the evolution of sailing dinghies.

About our speaker: Reuben Thompson

I have had a lifelong interest in sailing and can usually be found somewhere near the water. After training at the Lyme Regis Boatbuilding Academy I worked for a number of years at Cockwells boatyard in Mylor, before completing an advanced apprenticeship in historic vessel restoration at the National Maritime Cornwall where I continue to work as their in house boatbuilder. In this capacity I care for the collection, keep the floating exhibits on the water and carry out restorations in the museums workshop gallery. Meanwhile I am studying towards a degree in naval architecture through Plymouth University.

Cafe Sci

Saving ESTER – the native Cornish oyster

9th September 2020

Chris Ranger will be talking to us about preserving native oyster populations in Cornwall.

About the talk

85-95% of the world’s native oyster population has been lost due to overfishing, pollution & disease. The Fal Fishery has possibly the last remaining naturally reproducing wild stocks.

But poor management and exploitation means it is heading in the same direction as all other U.K. fisheries. They all collapsed. 17 worldwide restoration projects are planned.

But sourcing native oysters is a major limiting factor.

In this talk, Chris Ranger (pictured below), explains how he has a back up plan with a micro hatchery, spatting pond nurseries and aquaculture research site, just in case.

Useful links

Fal Oyster Ltd. website | www.faloyster.co.uk

Fal Oyster Newsletter | http://eepurl.com/gR7V_T

Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC | www.falfisherycoopcic.co.uk

Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC Newsletter | http://eepurl.com/gEUdj5

Saving the Oyster crowdfunder | https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savingestertheoyster

Above: Oysters in a petri dish.

What is Café Sci?

A Café Sci typically consists of a short talk (around 20 minutes), followed by a Q&A /discussion which can last up to an hour. You are not obliged to stay for the full duration so if you’re pushed for time or just want to see the talk do please come along for the first half hour.

Cafe Sci

The Science Soap Box: Third Instalment

Wednesday, 26th August at 5:30pm. Register your interest HERE.

To end August, our break from regular talks, we are holding another Science Soapbox.

Join us for another discussion about the science that is important to you. This time, please let us know your topic of interest when registering through Eventbrite and we will circulate a list of topics before the event.

Introducing The Science Soap Box

What science-related story has caught your eye over the past year?

What seems to you really important?

This week, instead of Virtual Cafe Sci, we are opening up this space to all you, our audience, to have your say on any science-related item that you’ve found especially interesting, whether in the news, in the journals, or on the web.

You can tell us briefly, in the chat box, what you found; and why you think it matters; and we will then give you time on screen to make the case for why we should all be interested too.

After that, as with all our evenings, we will open the discussion to everyone else, to comment or ask questions – and so you may get the chance to expand and say more.