Public meetings at which citizens explore the latest ideas in science have been occurring for nearly twelve years around the nation following the Science café or Café Scientifique model. The Research Translation Core (RTC) has brought this institution to small towns near Iowa City to engage a less academically oriented audience in learning about SRP work and other exciting science research from our College of Public Health.
The initial café sessions in 2013 and early 2014 produced a total audience of 130 at venues in the town of Mt. Vernon Iowa, 21 miles from the University of Iowa campus. The evening’s format is a short (20 minute) presentation by a researcher followed by breakout into small groups led by graduate students and the presenter to elicit responses to these TED-like talks.
Following this success, more Science Cafes were scheduled in 2014 and 2015. In the spring and fall of 2015 six cafes were held in Mt. Vernon, Fairfield, and Ottumwa. In December 2015 Dr. Peter Thorne discussed "Climate Change and Public Health" with 38 attendees.
Cafes for 2016 included:
"Radon: The Uninvited House Guest" by Dr. Bill Field
"Building Community Strength through Telehealthcare Technology" by Dr. Pat Brophy
"Natural Radioactivity in Iowa's Water" by Dr. Michael Schultz
"Measuring Air Pollution in IA: Urban and Rural" by Dr. Patrick O'Shaughnessy
"Healthy Aging from an Engineering Perspective" Dr. Gary Christensen
Cafes scheduled for 2017 include:
February 8, 2017: Germans recycle more than we do. Can we do more?
Dr. Hans Lehmler
March 8, 2017: Water Quality Improvement in Iowa: Are solutions possible if change is only voluntary?
David Osterberg, MA, MS
March 22, 2017: Zika Virus and birth defects
Dr. Paul Romitti
May 3, 2017: Nitrates in water and human health
Dr. Pete Weyer
More cafes will be scheduled. The emphasis of all Science Cafes will be on scientific discovery, hypotheses testing, and the development of public policy based on scientific advancement.