UK: Swansea

National Waterfront Museum
Generally last Wednesday of the month, but check website for details

The Swansea Science Café offers opportunities for anyone to find out more about new, exciting and topical areas of science. Designed to be informal and entertaining, the café typically runs on the last Wednesday of every month at the National Waterfront Museum. Entry is free and talks start at 7:30pm.

Chris Allton
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Ed Pope
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Website Swansea Science Cafe



Exobiology: Is anyone out there?

Mike Edmunds

(organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry)

Wednesday 29th Feb at 7:30 pm

Mike Edmunds (Emeritus Professor of Astrophysics) will review the recent flood of observational evidence about the existence of planetary systems around other stars, and make some estimates of the likely number of planets in the Universe. Based on a short description of the history of life on Earth, we will then try and agree on a definition of "life", and discuss where life might exist in the Solar System or in other systems. The critical issues will be highlighted, and extended to discussion of the difficult question of whether intelligent life might exist elsewhere in space or time.


Molecular Gastronomy: the science of taste and flavour

Peter Barham

Wednesday 21st March at 7:30pm

What gives food its flavour?

What makes some foods taste really good while others can be mediocre or even disgusting?

How far can science go it answering these (and other) questions that are so important for domestic cooks and chefs alike?

In this demonstration lecture I will try to answer these and other questions. Through a series of demonstrations and tastings you will discover that we actually use all our senses to assess the food we eat:

  • our eyes to see the colour, shape and size,
  • our ears to hear any sizzling, or crackling, etc.
  • our hands to feel the texture,
  • our tongues to sense the taste,
  • our noses to sense the aroma
  • and all the nerves in our mouths to assess the “mouthfeel”

In practice, we integrate all these sensations into what we call the “flavour” and then decide whether or not we like it. We will also see how collaborations between scientists and chefs are opening up new worlds of novel (and delicious) food and taste combinations.


The Fermi paradox

David Skibinski

(organised by the Wales Gene Park)

Wednesday 25th April at 7:30 pm

The universe is vast with millions of planets where intelligent life might evolve. So why aren't aliens visiting us all the time, or sending us signals? This is known as the Fermi paradox after the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi who discussed the question in 1950.  The paradox is sometimes referred to as "The Great Silence". Scores of theories have been put forward to explain the paradox.  Perhaps we are alone in the Universe? Perhaps aliens are here already but don't let on? Perhaps aliens are not interested in us? Perhaps aliens exist but are just too far away? David Skibinski, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Swansea University, will review these theories and invite opinion on which of these seem most plausible.