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
Facebook Cafe Scientifique Auckland


Remember: our events are always the last Wednesday of the month, March - October!

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.


Recent speakers   

Remember: our events are always the last Wednesday of the month, March - October!

September 24, 2014
Mathematics and Biology - are they really such strange companions?

Prof James Sneyd
Dept of Mathematics
U of Auckland
James Sneyd is used to getting confused looks from people – all he has to do is tell them he does “Mathematical Biology”.  Aren’t those completely opposite areas?  Well, James says, this might be a popular view, but it’s simply not true. For well over 300 years mathematicians have been deeply interested in biological questions (in musical questions too, another interest of James’), and some of the greatest scientific minds of the past centuries have worked right in that fuzzy area that sits squarely between Math, Physics and Biology. The modern word is “interdisciplinary”, and that is the space where James works. It’s not Math, it’s not Biology, it’s Math Biology, and it’s the wave of the future.
James Sneyd is Professor in Applied Maths at the University of Auckland.

August 27, 2014
Statistics in the media

Prof Thomas Lumley
Dept of Biostatistics
U of Auckland

Journalists are trained to be suspicious and questioning when people try to feed them stories. They typically aren't trained on statistics, which makes dodgy numbers a good strategy for getting stuff into print.  The main issues that we target in StatsChat are bogus polls, failure to divide one number by another, and lack of context, and I will give some examples. Things do seem to be improving, at least in the 'news' parts of the newspapers.

Thomas Lumley is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland, and a major contributor to the StatsChat blog.  He works on genetics, semiparametric statistics, statistical computing, and the statistical problems encountered by his co-workers in heart disease epidemiology.

July 30, 2014
Get off the Grass: Kickstarting NZ's Innovation Economy

Prof Shaun Hendy
Dept of Physics, U of Auckland
Director, Te Punaha Matatini
New Zealanders work harder and earn less than most other people in the developed world.  In their book “Get off the Grass”, Shaun Hendy and the late Sir Paul Callaghan argued that if New Zealand is to grow its economy more rapidly it must build nationwide communities of innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses. It must “get off the grass” and diversify its economy beyond the primary sector.  But can New Zealand really learn to innovate like a city of four million people? Can we learn to live off knowledge rather than nature?  Join Shaun Hendy to hear how we can do just that.

Professor Shaun Hendy FRSNZ is Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence that studies complex systems, and a physicist at the University of Auckland.  In 2013 he was awarded the Royal Society’s Callaghan Medal and the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize for his contributions to communicating science.

June 25, 2014 
Ocean Acidification: Threats and Challenges

Dr Todd Capson
Science and Policy Advisor to the Global Oceans Health Program, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

Just when you thought the climate change threat couldn’t get any bigger…it turns out that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means more carbon dioxide dissolved in the world’s oceans – which makes the seawater more acidic.  That’s a very bad thing if you’re a marine organism that can’t tolerate a change in acidity, or a nation like New Zealand that draws significant economic and cultural value from a healthy sea.  When the problem is this big, what can anyone do?

Join Dr Todd Capson, chemist, biochemist and Science and Policy Advisor to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, to hear how bilateral collaboration between the United States and New Zealand is powering efforts to address acidification in the Pacific and Southern oceans.

April 30, 2014
DNA sequencing: Everything you want to know about yourself, but were afraid to ask

A/Prof Cristin Print, University of Auckland
What do you have in your genes? Would knowing your DNA sequence help you, or could it open a nasty can of worms? Is your DNA yours to sequence anyway, or does it also belong to your parents and children? The first human genome sequenced cost US$ 3 billion and took 13 years. By the end of this year scientists may be able to sequence your genome for as little as US$ 2,000 in 2-3 days. Join medical genomic researcher, Cristin Print to see what a genome sequence really looks like. Discuss the excitement of this world-changing technology and also the ethical considerations and risks.

March 26, 2014
Big News About The Big Bang
Richard Easther, University of Auckland

Cosmology was front page news all over the world this month -- "Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang's Smoking Gun" said the New York Times (Front page, above the fold). Come and ask Prof. Richard Easther, a theoretical cosmologist at the U of Auckland, what this means, what happens now, and what we are doing about it in New Zealand.