About Us

Each month we have a leading expert in their field give a brief introductory talk followed by a friendly informal chat. You can sit back, relax with a drink in your hand and listen or get involved in the discussion and debate.

We are committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable. Science Café Wales are held in casual settings in Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor. They are informal and accessible and entrance is entirely free. They usually start with a short talk from the speaker, usually a scientist or writer, followed by a quick break for glasses to be refilled and then an hour or so of discussion afterwards. Previous topics have included dark matter, the common cold, Dr Who, the Big Bang and alternative therapies. The first Cafes Scientifiques in the UK were held in Leeds in 1998. From there cafés gradually spread across the country. Currently, some forty or so cafes meet regularly to hear scientists or writers on science talk about their work and discuss it with diverse audiences.

Where and When

The Swansea Cafe usually runs on the last Wednesday of the month in the Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea SA1 1RR.

See below for the schedule and a map showing the venue's location.

Events

 

Brian Jones

Wednesday 25th March at 7:30pm

The Fukushima Nuclear disaster - 4 years on

Brian Jones visited the Fukushima region in October 2014 as part of a 34-strong international Green Cross Study Tour looking at the consequences of the nuclear disaster following the tsunami in 2011. The group included a British MEP, a Canadian MP, a Swiss National Councillor and a Brazilian Mayor, plus representatives from 8 other countries, including 6 journalists.
His illustrated talk will briefly describe what happened when the tsunami struck the Fukushima nuclear power plants, and will concentrate on the challenges faced by the authorities still trying to deal with the consequences of the accident, and with the life-changing problems of ordinary people who used to live near the nuclear plant. The talk will not include any nuclear physics, but will concentrate on the human and environmental aspects of the incident.

 

Chris O'Brien (Tata Steel UK)

Wednesday 29th April at 7:30pm

Finding the floodgates - Assessing the risk posed by a new climate to an old industry

While legislation, regulation and emissions trading continue to haltingly bring about the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the frequency and violence of weather extremes can no longer be ignored. Some weather extremes have already been linked to climate change, others cannot, and still more will not be studied. While cause and effect may take longer to establish, similarities between observed extreme weather and the weather projected by modelling cannot be easily dismissed. Models suggest that at least for the UK, storms will likely become stronger, tides and waves higher, summers warmer and winters wetter. UK Government and business quite rightly dedicate a lot of resource to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but even if the world stopped burning fossil carbon today, an increasingly energetic climate and rising sea levels would continue to threaten industry and infrastructure for decades to come.
This talk aims to answer some of the questions being raised by regulators and businesses in the UK, namely how might the climate change, and to what extent will it impact on risk? It will introduce some key tools developed by the UK Government as well as describing uncertainty and modelling assumptions and their relevance to flood risk assessment at the Port Talbot Steelworks in South Wales.

 

Emily Shepard (Swansea University)

Wednesday 27th May at 7:30pm

Free as a bird? A life ruled by fickle airscapes

Anyone who has ever been in a plane knows that flying conditions vary depending on when and where you fly. The plane ride might be bumpy if you are going through turbulence, it might be faster or slower depending on whether the wind is with you or against you. This is the world in which billions of birds live and move. There is still a lot that we don’t yet understand about how birds respond to the aerial environment. This talk will take a look at why we need to understand more and focuses in particular on some recent research on the Andean condor – a remarkable species that is utterly dependent on the movements of the air in order to fly.

 

 

Alan Shore (Bangor University)

Thursday 17th September at 7:30pm  NOTE THE UNUSUAL DAY!

In collaboration with the celebration of the International Year of Light

 

Charles Stirling (Sheffield University)

Wednesday 30th September at 7:30pm

Some Unsung Heroes and Heroines of Science

 

Note that a video of the lecture by Prof Lyn Evans at the September Science Cafe can be viewed here, and a video of Marc Abrahams lecture on the IgNobel prizes can be viewed here.

Dylan Thomas Centre

1 Somerset Place, Swansea SA1 1RR

Tel: 01792 463 980

Dylan Thomas Centre

Past Events

2011 -

Clocking on: The timing of your life!
Dr. Sarah Forbes-Robertson (Swansea University)
January 2011

Poisons from the sea – or when to avoid the fish course!
Jim Ballantine (Swansea University)
February 2011

Brain death and organ transplantation
Prof. Steve Edwards (Swansea University)
March 2011

Beer and Health; 7000 Years of History
Prof. David Williams (Cardiff University)
April 2011

Algae: Scum of the Earth
Dr. Adam Powell (Swansea University)
May 2011

Particle Physics and a bit of String Theory
Carlos Nunez (Swansea University)
September 2011

Using stem cells to make food: Understanding 'In Vitro Meat'
Dr Neil Stephens (Cardiff University)
October 2011

Life, death and the carotenoids
Prof. George Truscott (Keele University)
November 2011

The science of sleep and dreaming
Prof. Mark Blagrove (Swansea University)
January 2012

Exobiology: Is anyone out there?
Prof. Mike Edmunds (Cardiff University) organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry
February 2012

Molecular Gastronomy: the science of taste and flavour
Prof. Peter Barham, Bristol University
March 2012

The Fermi Paradox
Prof. David Skibinski, Swansea University
April 2012

Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant
Derek Sheehan (EDF)
May 2012

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN 
Prof Lyn Evans (CERN) 
September 2012
See here for a video of this lecture.

Adventures with oxygen; a "radical" perspective
Prof Damian Bailey (University of Glamorgan) 
October 2012

The Chemistry of Light
Dr Peter Douglas (Swansea University)
November 2012

Things that go bump in the night; Approaches for getting to grip on enigmatic animals
Prof Rory Wilson (Swansea University)
January 2013

The last man standing: How to take years off your life
Dr Kelly Mackintosh (Swansea University)
February 2013

Ig Nobel Prizes
Marc Abrahams (Master of Ceremoies of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and editor of The Annals of Improbable Research)
See here for a video of this lecture.
March 2013

Taking your breath away: Lung disease and the development of an artificial lung
Dr Melitta McNarry (Swansea University)
April 2013

Restoration Ecology or Applied Ecology in the Real World
Dr Geoff Proffitt (Swansea University)
May 2013

Collective Behaviour in Humans and Other Animals
Dr Andrew King (Swansea University)
September 2013

Nanotechnology: are we there yet?
Dr Richard Cobley (Swansea University)
October 2013

The Severn Barrage: Europe's Largest Proposed Marine Renewable Energy Project
Prof Roger Falconer (Cardiff University)
November 2013

Ash Ice Mud: tephras and rapid climate change
Prof Siwan Davies (Swansea University)
January 2014

"We are Scientists" - Or Are We? Science and International Law
Dr Richard Caddell (Swansea University)
February 2014

High-tech in Greenland: glimpse the future of the Greenland ice sheet
Prof Tavi Murray (Swansea University)
March 2014

Tuberculosis epidemiology
Dr Angharad Davies (Swansea University)
April 2014

Education and the Brain - what can neuroscience tell us about how and why we learnt?
Dr Phil Newton (Swansea University)
May 2014

How to get the best out of your image: Feature extraction and image processing
Dr Elaine Crooks (Swansea University)
September 2014

Fungi: notes from a forgotten kingdom
Dr Dan Eastwood (Swansea University)
October 2014

Antimatter - Science and Applications
Prof Mike Charlton (Swansea University)
December 2014

Science Cafe does FameLab!
Swansea heat of FameLab - the UK's biggest search for the new voices of Science and Engineering
January 2015

Nutrition and the aging brain
Prof David Benton (Swansea University)
February 2015

 

2009 - 2010

Table for one? Otter foraging in Wales
Dr Gareth Parry, Swansea University
Wednesday 28th January 2009

The BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car: How and Why?
Ben Evans, Swansea University
Wednesday 25th February 2009

Life in Cold Blood - The Cold Blooded Truth
Miles Barton, Series Producer Life in Cold Blood, BBC Natural History Unit
Wednesday 25th March 2009

The Death Ray - The Secret Life of Harry Grindell Matthews
Jonathan Foster, Author and Science Teacher
Wednesday 29th April 2009

Low Impact Development: High Impact Responses to Climate Change and Sustainability
Larch Maxey, Swansea University
Wednesday 27th May 2009

Better Looking, Better Living, Better Loving
John Emsley, University of Cambridge
Wednesday 21st October 2009

Badgers, Cattle and TB: Opening Up the Debate
Dan Forman, Swansea University
Wednesday 25th November 2009

Diet and Behaviour Throughout Life
David Benton, Professor of Psychology, Swansea University
Wednesday 27th January 2010

Avoiding Death by Computer
Harold Thimbleby, Swansea University
Wednesday 24th February 2010

Natural Prawn Killers: Shrimp Vaccination, Why Bother?
Adam Powell, Swansea University
Wednesday 31st March 2010

The Large Hadron Collider And The Much Smaller Antiproton Decelerator - What Do We Hope To Find
Prof Graham Shore, Swansea University
Wednesday 28th April 2010

The Deadly 2009 Wildfires near Melbourne: Unpredictable Catastrophe or Foreseeable Event?
Stefan Doerr, Swansea University
Wednesday 26th May 2010

Marine Renewables – A Drop in the Ocean
Miles Willis, Swansea University
Wednesday 29th September 2010

Antimatter Matters
Mike Charlton, Swansea University
Wednesday 20th October 2010

The Police DNA Database
Steve Bain, Swansea University
Wednesday 24th November 2010

2007 - 2008

The Hidden Hazards of Hypothyroidism
Coralie Phillips and Donna Roach www.thyroidbooks.co.uk
Wednesday 31st January 2007

There must have been something in the water.......
Dr Rachel Charmers, Head of the UK Cryptosporidium Reference Unit
Wednesday 28th February 2007

Supplying food from aquaculture - current status and future opportunities and challenges
Dr Robin Shields, Aquaculture Wales
Wednesday 28th March 2007

When sugar is not so sweet: Why every cow should carry a health warning
Prof Anthony Campbell, Cardiff University and Director of the Darwin Centre
Wednesday 25th April 2007

Challenges for conserving endangered species in the tropics
Prof Mike Bruford, Cardiff University
Wednesday 30th May 2007

Bionanotechnology: borrowing nature's smallest secrets
Kierann Shah & Chris Wright, Multidisciplinary Nanotechnology Centre, Swansea University
Wednesday 26th September 2007

Useful waste
Bob Lovitt, Swansea University
Wednesday 24th October 2007

Chemistry and light
Peter Douglas, Swansea University
Wednesday 28th November 2007

Does cigarette smoking cause feelings of stress and depression
Andrew Parrott, Swansea University
Wednesday 30 January 2008

The Thinking Eye: Art & Science in Conversation
Karen Ingham, Science, Arts and Technology Network, Swansea Metropolitan University
Wednesday 27th February 2008

Plumes and hotspots: Are they just mind over mantle?
Gillian Foulger, Earth Sciences, Durham University
Wednesday 19th March 2008

Leatherback turtles in northern European waters: current patterns and prospects with climate change
Graeme Hays, Swansea University
Wednesday 30th April 2008

Nature does it, so why can't we? Nanomedicine from an ethical point of view
Christian Lenk, Department of Ethics & History of Medicine, University of Goettingen
Wednesday 28th May 2008

Slimy creatures of the seas: politicians and the Marine Bill
Dr Lyndsey Dodds, WWF Marine Policy Officer
Wednesday 22nd October 2008

The case for nuclear energy
Dr John Lewis, Royal Society of Chemistry Lecture
Wednesday 26th November 2008

2005 - 2006

Does science have the whole story on complementary medicine?
Toby Murcott, science writer
Wednesday 27 April 2005

Energy Beyond Oil
Paul Mobbs, Environmental Investigator
Wednesday 25 May 2005

Happiness: the science behind your smile
Daniel Nettle, brain and behaviour psychologist
Wednesday 29 June 2005

The future relation of computers and people
Dr Harold Thimbleby, University of Wales Swansea
Wednesday 27 July 2005

Whatever happened to real physics?
Vivian Pope
Wednesday 30 August 2005

Alien invaders: Invasive species in Britain
Dr Dan Forman, University of Wales Swansea
Wednesday 28 September 2005

Alien invaders: Invasive species in Britain
Dan Forman, University of Wales Swansea
Wednesday 28 September 2005

Uncanny Valley: Living with Living Machines
Richard Evans, Robotics Author
Wednesday 30 November 2005

Language and Meaning
Pius ten Hacken, University of Wales Swansea
Wednesday 25 January 2006

Climate Change: Past, Present & Future
Danny McCaroll, University of Wales Swansea
Wednesday 29 March 2006

Better Humans? The Politics of Human Enhancement
Paul Miller, Senior Researcher, Demos
Wednesday 26 April 2006

Daily Diaries for Enigmatic Animals: The power of animal-attached recorders and their skeletons in the cupboard.
Professor Rory Wilson, University of Wales Swansea
Wednesday 31st May 2006

New Ways to Use Computers
Will & Harold Thimbleby, Swansea University
Wednesday 28th June 2006

Swanturbines Tidal Stream Energy - Invisible, Predictable, Low Cost
James Orme, Director, Swanturbines Ltd
Wednesday 27th September 2006

All Fingers and Thumbs - Why do our fingers grow where they do?
Sarah Forbes-Robertson, Swansea University
Wednesday 25th October 2006

Antarctic and Climate Change: hot air or chilling reality?
David Vaughan, British Antarctic Survey
Wednesday 29 November 2006