Events are held on the last Wednesday of the month, March - October

The Horse and Trap
3 Enfield Street
Mount Eden, Auckland
Phone: 09 630 3055
Arrive 6pm for 6:30pm start until ~8pm

The Auckland Museum Institute presents

Cafe Scientifique - Auckland

Auckland Museum Institute Whaowhia 2012



Visit our CafeScientifiqueNZ channel on YouTube to view archived videos of Cafe Scientifique events from 2011 and earlier.

Jessica Costa
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Website Auckland Museum Institute - Cafe Scientifique
Twitter @CS_NZ
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Remember: our events are always the last Wednesday of the month, March - October!

August 31, 2016
Black holes in space and time – the remarkable inadequacies of what we know about what we put in our mouths and what impact it has on our health
Ask anyone what they eat and the response is midway between outright fiction and distorted, rose-tinted memory.  It’s hardly the solid base on which to build a better understanding of the impacts of eating patterns on health.  Moreover, few studies have studied mid-life, those mysterious lost years between fertility and the end of life – yet there is good reason to speculate that during this period, nutrition remains vital for both survival and health!  Join David Cameron-Smith for a discussion of our limited current understanding of our most important black hole (our mouths), and of the health consequences of unwanted surplus nutrition to health.

David Cameron-Smith is Chair of Nutrition, University of Auckland, based within the Liggins Institute. He is also Science Director of the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, where the objective is to create economic gain through identifying relationships between food and health in areas of competitive advantage for NZ food and beverage exporters.  He maintains an active research program directed towards nutrient digestion, focusing on protein and the complexities of what protein does to skeletal muscle


Recent speakers   

July 27, 2016
Why Online Dating Doesn’t Work
Dr Martin Graff
School of Psychology, University of South Wales
There is much evidence that being in a good relationship can be beneficial to our health, happiness and general well-being.  However, should we resort to online dating in the pursuit of a happy relationship?  Psychological research would seem to suggest that online dating may not be the easy answer. 
Come along and hear Dr Martin Graff talk about the reasons why we should be cautious in our online dating pursuits.  For example, people make bad decisions in online dating and often who we contact are often not what they appear to be.  Additionally, there is no evidence that the algorithms employed by dating sites which purport to match us with a desirable partner actually work in reality.  However don’t despair - Dr Graff will also touch on how to maximize your chances in an online dating environment.

June 29, 2016
Mana Taiao - Living in the Maori Natural World 
When the MV Rena struck Otaiti (Astrolabe) Reef in the Bay of Plenty in October 2011, the impacts on Ngai Te Hapu’s customary use of the area and associated kaitiakitanga (stewardship) obligations were immense and ongoing.  Briefly, the Rena disaster brought to public attention the on-going collision between Maori and Pakeha cultural perspectives on the environment, and the difficulties in reconciling the two. 
Buddy Mikaere has a background in Human Resources and Industrial Relations and is a former Director of the Waitangi Tribunal. In the last twenty years he has been a consultant in the Resource Management Area specialising in cultural issues and consultation with tangata whenua.

May 25, 2016
Smart and stylish too - Solutions for smart knitted e-textiles using engineered yarns
Michelle Peddie, Auckland University of Technology
“Smart” or “intelligent” textiles incorporate conductive fibres and embedded electronics, which is pretty clever.  However fashion and electronics are markedly different fields – most smart textiles are designed with an emphasis on technical performance rather than aesthetics.  They’re smart, but not very smart.
Michele Peddie’s research knits together (ahem) technical skills and design aesthetics, resulting in the construction of conductive yarns that are indistinguishable in appearance and handling characteristics from standard wool yarn.  The research makes it possible to knit conductive circuits into garments that combine operational performance with good looks.  Join Michele to hear about her curious journey bridging the worlds of design and abstract engineering.

September 30, 2015
Ancient DNA: Secrets from the past
A/Prof Craig Millar
U of Auckland 
Highlighted by Tom Higham in last Thursday night’s lecture ‘When Neanderthals and Modern Humans met’ is the role forensic and ancient DNA methods are playing in the determining of ancient genomes. Early forensic and ancient DNA methods could only recover small amounts of DNA information from relatively large quantities of well-preserved tissue. From these humble beginnings, ancient DNA research has now developed to the point where entire ancient genomes can be retrieved from the extinct New Zealand moa and from Egyptian bird mummies. 
Join Dr Craig Millar as he outlines this ever-advancing research field and the ways it is helping us to unlock some of the best-kept secrets of our recent past. 
July 29, 2015
Does that wine smell of violets to you?...I'm not sure - Do violets have a smell?
Prof Richard Newcomb
 U of Auckland and Chief Scientist, Plant & Food
 It’s old news that not everyone can smell certain odours, and that different people respond to the same odour in different ways, but with modern genomic tools we can now understand the underlying genetic variations that influence food preferences across populations and ethnic groups. Come along and discover what odours you can smell, and how this probably impacts your preference for different foods and beverages.
Richard Newcomb is Chief Scientist at the Crown Research Institute, Plant & Food Research, Professor of Evolutionary Genetics at the University of Auckland and a Principal Investigator at the Allan Wilson Centre.

June 24, 2015
Resolving the evolution wars
Dr Graeme Finlay
What do teeth (in hens) and sniffing for mates (in people) have in common? The answer is that they point to quirks in our DNA that we and other species share. Recently our DNA has irrefutably been shown to share a common history with that of other species.

This astonishing science illuminates our biology, and chronicles our genetic journey over millions of years. This seems to provide closure to the evolution-vs-creation wars – can the range of Christian beliefs about evolution survive this challenge from science?
Dr Graeme Finlay is a Senior Lecturer in the University of Auckland’s medical school. He brings two different worlds together: he has published a book on human genetics that overthrows the scientific claims of some biblical literalists and he also has theological training and maintains a strong Christian faith. Come and discuss what we now know about the human races' genetic past and present.

May 27, 2015
A physicist and an anthropologist walk into a bar...
Prof Thegn Ladefoged & Dr Dion O'Neale 

 Te Pūnaha Matatini
Network science was "invented" independently by a number of different disciplines. Sociologists came up with sociograms; engineers created wiring diagrams; while mathematicians have long studied graphs.

At Te Pūnaha Matatini – “the meeting place of many faces” – researchers from very different backgrounds are using network science to gain fascinating, and sometimes non-intuitive, insights into New Zealand’s environment, economy and society.

Thegn Ladefoged is a Professor of Archaeology at the University of Auckland who has worked in Rotuma, Hawai‘i, Rapa Nui, and New Zealand. He is developing a network approach to investigate the connections between communities in pre-European Māori society.

Dion O'Nealeis a Research Fellow in the Physics department at the University of Auckland. He is particularly interested in how the properties of innovation networks might help predict the future economic success of regions. He has been known to (mis)use network science for topics ranging from sports to soils to conversations.

April 29, 2015
Musing on museums: …of ships and shoes … and many things

Museums around the world are facing new challenges and are evolving to meet them. Auckland’s own War Memorial Museum, with its unique collections and place in the ongoing story of Auckland, is changing too.  Nearly four years after his appointment as Director of the Museum, and following the centennial ANZAC day commemorations on April 25th, Roy Clare scans the horizon and poses some questions for museums and the people who love them.
Roy Clare CBE used to drive an aircraft carrier for a living, before coming ashore to take up leadership roles at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich and the UK’s Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.  He was appointed Director of the Auckland Museum in August 2011.

  March 25, 2015
Rambling with the wandering mind

Professor Emeritus Michael Corballis
School of Psychology
U of Auckland
Does your mind ever drift off what you’re supposed to be doing?  You’re not alone.  Most of us spend a fair proportion of our waking hours either “zoned out” or worried that we ought to have been paying better attention.  But the tendency of our minds to wander is not only commonplace – it’s an essential design feature that helps to keep us sane and stay in touch with our creative sides.  Join Michael Corballis as he takes a stroll down the winding path of our mental wanderings.
Michael Corballis is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Auckland.  He has written several books on various fascinating features of the human mind.