Winchester Discovery Centre
Jewry Street
SO23 8SB
First Monday of the month

Winchester Cafe Scientifique meets at the Winchester Discovery Centre (with rare exceptions, please check

For up to date details of our programme and past talks please visit, where you can also sign up for our email list.

The cafe opens at 7:00 for a 7:45 start. There are no tickets; the cafe is open to all. We usually finish by 9:30 after a conversation/discussion/a and a, to which the audience is encouraged to contribute by the intimate setting.

The cafe usually meets on the first Monday of every month. Where that is a Bank Holiday, the day might change. Please check for details

Winchester Cafe Scientifique
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Details of upcoming events at


Recent speakers   

 Archive of events from 2014 onwards at

Monday 2nd December 2013

Dark matter does matter

Alex Merle

While it admittedly sounds like science fiction, in fact there is much more Dark Matter in the Universe than ordinary matter like the stuff we consist of. 



Monday 7th October 2013

New approaches to biometrics

Mark Nixon

Biometrics are becoming more common: people use automated face recognition and automated iris analysis at UK airports to speed progress through immigration. The main biometrics are face, iris and fingerprint though there are new topics around.



Monday 1st July 2013

Do you want a robot lover? 

Blay Whitby

You might perhaps think that you do and that it is nobody else's business but yours, but the widespread use of robots in intimate and caring roles will bring about important social changes. We need to examine these changes now and consider them from an ethical standpoint. Robotic carers and artificial companions are technologies that are likely to be available in the near to mid‐term future. In Japan and South Korea robots are seen as potential carers for the elderly and as babysitters. Many researchers are looking to make their products display emotion and respond to emotional displays by users. At least one writer has predicted marriage to robots will be accepted in progressive countries by 2050. Are these socially and ethically acceptable developments? What is likely to be technically feasible and just what should we allow?



Monday 3rd June 2013

The sound of music

Rob Stansbridge


Using various musical instruments, Rob will discuss the physics of musical instruments, why they sound like they do and how physics determines our scales and chords.



Monday 4th March 2013

Understanding nature’s death ray guns

Jen Gupta


There is a monster lurking in the centre of some galaxies. Fuelled by matter falling onto a supermassive black hole and powerful enough to outshine a galaxy, these 'blazars' have been described as nature's death ray guns. Jen will discuss what we know about these blazars, how we know what we know and some of the questions that are still puzzling astronomers today.



Monday 4th February 2013

Mind reading: lessons from autism

Hannah Sowden


Autism has been increasing in prevalence over the last decades – it is now thought to affect just over 1% of the population of the UK.  One claim is that these individuals cannot 'mind read'.  Hannah will trace the development of this claim and its links to an intriguing new theory, the Broken Mirror System, which may lead to rapid advances in our understanding of this condition.



Monday 3rd December 2012

What happens when we run out of oil?

Chris Rhodes


Across the world, 30 billion barrels of crude oil are produced  each year, not only for fuel but alsoto make products from plastics to pharmaceuticals. Our salvation requires an adaptation of how we live - from the global to the local.



Monday 5th November 2012

Your imagined past – why your memories are only as good as what you imagine

Harvey Taylor


Harvey will discuss the links between imagination and memory. He will discuss the Buzan and O’Brien techniques that stress the role of imagination in memorising effectively.



Monday 1st October 2012

Please don't buy an electric car

Averil MacDonald

Averil returns for a third time to discuss how seemingly simple solutions to climate change are more complicated than they appear at first glance.



Monday 2nd July 2012

The art and science of English wine

Roger Marchbank

English wine is a local product that until recently has been a drop in the ocean, unknown to many consumers - even those who naturally look for local produce. Roger will try to seek some reasons for this and place English wine firmly on the map.



April 2nd

Latest trends in cyber warfare and how to avoid being a victim

Phillip Katz

As IT plays an increasingly important role in everything that we do, the bad guys are constantly becoming more sophisticated in the ways that they attempt to obtain, and exploit, our information. This talk looks at some of the techniques that they use, and how to avoid falling foul of them.


March 5th

Technology from our doorstep

Hugh Proudman

A brief look at technology invented on our doorstep and an overview of how it can help solve our problems.


February 6th

Deep sea thermal vents

Jon Copley


In this talk, Jon will describe new discoveries at volcanic vents on the ocean floor around the world, and what they tell us about patterns of life beneath the waves.



Monday 7th November 2011

Spider Silk as a material for a low carbon future?

David Knight

The invention of a novel carbon-neutral method for reeling wild silk cocoons, which could have many benefits for both woodlands and communities in  developing countries.


Monday 3rd October 2011

What can mankind do to reduce global warming?

Bob Whitmarsh

In June, Bob addressed the issue of mankind’s contribution to climate change, to a packed cafe. Join us for the second part, when we will discuss what can be done to reduce global warming.


Monday 4th July 2011

Psychology of influence

Mike Clayton

How to get more of what you want, change minds and see promises kept? Over the past fifty years, psychologists have been experimenting to learn how persuasion and influence works.


Monday 6th June 2011

Mankind's contribution to climate change

Bob Whitmarsh

Today, most well-informed people agree that climate change is really happening. The more important questions are: to what extent is mankind responsible for climate change and what can be done to reduce global warming?


Monday 4th April 2011

Alzheimer's disease: the difficult road to therapy

Roy Weller

Alzheimer's disease is a dementia of advancing age in which the environment of nerve cells within the brain is disrupted by an accumulation of particular proteins. Roy will discuss how eliminating these proteins from the ageing brain is one of the major challenges in the management and therapy of Alzheimer's disease.


7th February 2011

What did sociologists ever do for us?

Averil Macdonald

Baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, The Millennials. We all fit into one of these boxes and find it hard understand why others are not 'more like us'. Your 'generation' defines your values, your motivators and your lifestyle - and explain why we will never understand our children and why they will never understand us. 


Monday 6th December

Exploring the Invisible: adventures in microbiology   and art

Simon Park

Microorganisms suffer from a serious public relations problem. In reality, however, these organisms are vital for all life on Earth. The exciting interface between art and science, is being used to showcase the beauty and sophistication of these organisms. This talk will outline some of these projects, which portray microbes in highly unusual and provocative ways.


1st November 2010

Targeting Cancer - From bench to bedside

Gareth Thomas

We have used pathology to identify potential tumour targets, now find out how we study their role in tumour cell movement and how we have made possible therapeutic reagents.


4th October 2010


Alan Bailey

Alan Bailey was in San Francisco in 1978 when the medical profession was just beginning to see a strange pattern of disease, mostly in gay men, whose common habit was bathing together. Five years later he was in New York where it was spreading into the heterosexual population by way of drug abuse and prostitution.

The UK NHS's response was an example of good preventive practice and contained the epidemic - but things have changed. In July, an article in The Times said the number of people over 50 contracting HIV and AIDS has more than doubled in seven years. Alan will discuss medical statistics and health care and give an update on the statistical pattern if HIV and AIDS.


Monday 5th July 2010

The mystery of galaxy formation

Daniel Thomas


Monday 7th June 2010

Expenses fraud and health screening: some interesting mathematics of everyday things

Dave Cohen


Monday April 26th 2010 -

Plastic - destroyer or saviour of the planet?

Averil Macdonald


Monday March 29th 2010 - LAUNCH CAFE!!

What's wrong with the sun?

Stuart Clark