About Us

540 x 60



Each month Oriel Science Cafe invites a leading expert in their field to 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 Cafés are held in casual settings across the UK and further afield. They are informal and accessible and entry 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 half 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 where you can meet regularly to hear scientists or writers on science talk about their work and discuss it with diverse audiences.

Oriel Science is Swansea University's science engagement project  It's mission is to “Showcase Science in the Community”. Oriel Science built a pop-up exhibition centre in the shopping mall in the city centre, runs school outreach events, hosts stands in events such as the Swansea Air Show and organises special exhibitions in the National Waterfront Museum.

Due to the obvious synergies between the Swansea Science Cafe and Oriel Science, we have brought the two together. This means that Oriel Science will have an important, established public lecture series (the Swansea Science Cafe has been running since 2005!) to add to its other community-facing activities.

Where and When

The Swansea Cafe usually runs on the last Wednesday of the month in the National Waterfront Museum, Oystermouth Road, Maritime Quarter, Swansea SA1 3RD.

See below for the schedule.



The End of Time: The future history of the Universe

Friday 14th September at 7:30pm.   Note the unusual date!

Prof Geraint Lewis (The University of Sydney)

Will there forever be stars in the sky? Will humanity roam the cosmos for eternity? What does the future hold for our Universe? Join us for a journey through space and time, from galactic collisions and hyperactive black holes, on to the death of the last star, and into the ultimate twilight of the cosmos.

Geraint Lewis is a Welsh astrophysicist based in the University of Sydney. He's best known for his work on dark energy, gravitational lensing and galactic cannibalism. He has given public lectures at the Royal Institute and has co-authored a popular science book about how different the Universe would be if there was even a slight change in some of its parameters.

A fydd sêr yn yr awyr am byth? A fydd dynoliaeth yn crwydro'r cosmos ar gyfer tragwyddoldeb? Beth mae'r dyfodol yn ei ddal am ein bydysawd? Ymunwch â ni am daith trwy ofod ac amser, o wrthdrawiadau galaethol a thyllau du gorfywiog, ymlaen i farwolaeth y seren olaf, ac i mewn i'r cyfnos eithaf y cosmos.

Mae Geraint Lewis yn astroffisegydd Cymreig sydd wedi'i leoli ym Mhrifysgol Sydney. Mae'n fwyaf adnabyddus am ei waith ar egni tywyll, lensio disgyrchol a chanibaliaeth galaethol. Mae wedi rhoi darlithoedd cyhoeddus yn y Sefydliad Brenhinol ac wedi cyd-ysgrifennu llyfr gwyddoniaeth boblogaidd am ba mor wahanol y byddai'r bydysawd petai hyd yn oed newid bach yn rhai o'i baramedrau.


The wicked and difficult world of animal gambling; the tale of two penguins.

Professor Rory Wilson (Swansea University)

Wednesday 26th September at 7:30pm

Gambling is conventionally thought to be an activity undertaken by man but actually animals do it all the time, and do so to survive! Most animals searching for food do so ‘probabilistically’. A swallow hunting for insects cannot know exactly when it will find the next insect but it can increase the chances of repeatedly ‘winning’ by searching in particular places and at particular times. Animals do not bet with money; they bet with energy and they gamble that they will win more energy in the form of food than they spend finding it. This talk will look at the gambling conditions faced by animals, and, using two penguin species, highlight how man’s activities are changing the odds.

Yn ôl y gred gonfensiynol, tybir mai gweithgaredd dynol yw gamblo ond y gwir yw bod anifeiliaid yn gamblo drwy'r amser i oroesi! Mae'r rhan fwyaf o anifeiliaid sy'n chwilio am fwyd yn gwneud hynny ar sail tebygoliaeth. Nid yw gwennol sy'n hela pryfed yn gwybod yn union pryd y daw ar draws y pryfyn nesaf, ond gall gynyddu'r tebygolrwydd y bydd yn "ennill" dro ar ôl tro drwy chwilio mewn mannau penodol ar adegau penodol. Nid yw anifeiliaid yn betio ag arian; maen nhw'n betio ag egni, ac yn gamblo y byddant yn ennill mwy o egni ar ffurf bwyd nag y byddant yn ei golli wrth chwilio amdano. Bydd y sgwrs hon yn astudio'r amodau gamblo a wynebir gan anifeiliaid a chan ganolbwyntio ar ddwy rywogaeth pengwin, bydd yn amlygu sut mae gweithgareddau dynol yn newid yr ods.


Will the Real Victor Frankenstein Please Stand Up?

(In association with Swansea University's Festival to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein)

Professor Iwan Morus (Aberystwyth University)

Wednesday 31st October at 7:30pm 

One of the reasons for the popularity of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when it was first published was its air of plausibility. Her readers might not think that anyone had really succeeded in creating life, but they knew about similar experiments. In this lecture I will explore the science behind the monster and look at why the story behind Frankenstein was so powerful two centuries ago – and remains powerful now.

Un o'r rhesymau dros boblogrwydd llyfr Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, adeg ei gyhoeddi gyntaf oedd y naws hygrededd ynddo. Efallai nad oedd ei darllenwyr yn meddwl bod rhywun wedi llwyddo i greu bywyd mewn gwirionedd, ond roeddent yn ymwybodol o arbrofion tebyg. Yn y ddarlith hon, byddaf yn archwilio'r wyddoniaeth y tu ôl i'r anghenfil, gan ystyried pam yr oedd stori Frankenstein mor bwerus ddwy ganrif yn ôl - a pham y mae'n parhau mor bwerus heddiw.


Saving Pollinators at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

Dr Natasha de Vere (National Botanic Garden of Wales)

Wednesday 28th November at 7:30pm

Honeybees and wild pollinators are vital. 75% of the world’s most significant crops and most of our wildflowers, rely on insect pollinators, but pollinators are in trouble, facing catastrophic declines throughout the world. Growing pollinator friendly plants in our gardens is one way to increase the amount of resources available for pollinators, but which plants do their like best? At the National Botanic Garden of Wales we use DNA barcoding to find out the favourite plants of honeybees and wild pollinators and use our research to develop seed mixes and planting plans. Come and find out about our Saving Pollinators programme and what you can do to help.


Climate Challenge: the facts and the effects

Professor Siwan Davies (Swansea University)

Wednesday 5th December at 7:30pm




National Waterfront Museum

Oystermouth Road
Maritime Quarter
Swansea SA1 3RD

Tel: 0300 111 2 333

National Waterfront Museum

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 Ceremonies 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

The Fukushima Nuclear disaster - 4 years on
Brian Jones
March 2015

Finding the floodgates - Assessing the risk posed by a new climate to an old industry
Chris O'Brien (Tata Steel UK)
April 2015

Free as a bird? A life ruled by fickle airscapes
Dr Emily Shepard (Swansea University)
May 2015

The Power of Light
Prof Alan Shore (Bangor University)
September 2015

Some Unsung Heroes and Heroines of Science (in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry)
Prof Charles Stirling (Sheffield University)
September 2015

A scenic tour around the circle
Dr Jeffrey Giansiracusa (Swansea University)
October 2015

The Theory of Everything
Prof Timothy Hollowood (Swansea University)
November 2015

Science Cafe does FameLab
(in association with Swansea University Public Engagement Forum)
January 2016

Robotics in the Future of our Society
A British Science Association Future Debates Event
co-sponsored by The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
February 2016

Brain doping? Relieving stress through neurostimulation
Dr Fred Boy (Swansea University)
March 2016

The Science of Dr Who
Dr Edward Gomez (Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network)
April 2016

Cooperation, Altruism, Game Theory and Evolution
Prof Alexander Bird (University of Bristol)
May 2016

Advances in Cancer Research
Dr Lee Campbell (Cancer Research Wales)
September 2016

How quantum physcs democratized music: a meditation on physics and technology
Prof Sir Michael Berry (University of Bristol)
October 2016

Long-term ecology of the Galápagos Islands: giant tortoises, pirates, fossil pollen and conservation
Dr Cindy Froyd (Swansea University)
November 2016

Science Cafe does FameLab
(in association with Swansea University Public Engagement Forum)
January 2017

Assessing the stability of one of Antartica's largest ice shelves
Prof Adrian Luckman (Swansea University)
February 2017

Best of both worlds: sex, parasites and genetic diversity
Prof Sofia Consuegra (Swansea University)
March 2017

Alternative facts, fake news and the role of science
Panel Discussion: Kevin Williams, Ed Pope, Mary Gagen and Chris Allton
April 2017

Noninvasive Glucose Monitoring: Can we make red blood cells work for us?
Prof Ken Meissner (Swansea University)
May 2017

The Face of Swansea
Dr Alex Jones (Swansea University)
September 2017

Bowel Cancer in Wales - Challenges and Opportunities
Dr Lee Campbell (Cancer Research Wales)
October 2017

Maggots: A New Hope...
Dr Yamni Nigam (Swansea University)
November 2017

CERN’s proton smasher, the Large Hadron Collider
Prof Lyn Evans (Project Leader, Large Hadron Collider, during its construction and commissioning)
December 2017

FameLab - Swansea Heats
(in association with Swansea University Public Engagement Forum)
Wednesday 24th January 2018

FameLab - Wales Finale
(in association with Swansea University Public Engagement Forum)
Wednesday 28th February 2018

Death from the Stars
Dr Sarah Roberts, Swansea University
Wednesday 28th March 2018

Coming of Age of Science in Wales: Swansea 1848
Prof John Tucker (Swansea University)
Wednesday 25th April 2018

Carbon Dioxide as a Fuel of the Future
Dr Jennifer Rudd (Swansea University)
Wednesday 30th May 2018

Organ on a Chip
Dr Sofia Texeira (Swansea University)
Wednesday 27th June 2018

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