How have public conversations about science changed? And how will they change in future?
In 17th-century London, coffee-houses were important centres of information exchange: gentlemen, merchants, courtiers and craftsmen gathered to sip coffee and talk about the latest news and ideas. Fellows of the newly-established Royal Society used coffee-house conversations to publicise their own research and learn about developments at home and abroad.
So it seemed entirely appropriate to discuss the history and future of science conversation over coffee at a cafe scientifique in The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall, as part of See Further: The Festival of Science + Arts on Monday 28 June 2010.
A mix of historians and science communicators led the discussion, which was hosted by Professor Rosemary Ashton, Quain Professor of English Language and Literature at University College London. In this audio report, Professor Ashton reflects on the discussion at the cafe, the relationship between the public and science, the role of blogs and public meetings, and the relationship between literature and science.
This was one of a series of Cafe Scientifique events held as part of See Further: The Festival of Science + Arts, supported by the Kohn Foundation.