By Shana R. Spindler, PhD
"Your chin is made of exploded stars!" quipped John C. Mather, Senior Astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, 2006 physics Nobel Laureate, and most recent DC Science Café speaker. The room at Busboys and Poets was packed, not an empty seat in the house. The specialty drinks of the night, "Big Bang" and "Dark Energy," were delivered to the crowd of reporters, geologists, chemists, librarians, civil rights attorneys—well, you name the profession and it was probably represented!
The group had gathered to learn about the complexities of astrophysics from one of the brightest minds in the field, but in a language understood by the general public. Eyes were trained on the tall, skinny man with prominent glasses who was about to simplify decades of complicated research into an evening discussion with both scientists and laymen.
A broad range of scientific backgrounds is at the heart of a science café. Meant to be a gathering place for the general public to learn about the latest scientific discoveries, methods, models, or ideas, the science café offers the opportunity to contribute to today's scientific discussion in a welcoming and non-intimidating atmosphere.
Every time Dr. Mather answered a question, ten more hands would shoot into the air. It was a night to learn about the big bang, dark energy, Hubble's 1929 discovery, black holes, and what a Nobel Laureate enjoys in his free time—which happens to be the study of human history and anthropology.
If you'd like to take advantage of this interesting opportunity, the next DC Science Café will be held Monday, June 13, 6:00 PM at Busboys and Poets, 5th and K St. NW Washington DC. The theme of the night: NPR's Joe Palca on "Annoying: the science of what bugs us."
For more information, please visit http://www.dcswa.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=127243