Wooster Science Café returns for sixth year

Wooster Science Café returns for sixth year

Denise Ellsworth is the program director of Pollinator Education at OSU. She will speak about pollinators and pollinator ecology on May 5.


Science need not be dull, nor accessible only in laboratories and university classrooms. Wooster Science Café, in its sixth year, makes science and issues connected with the sciences available to everyone. The program is sponsored by the Wooster Science Café and supported by the College of Wooster and the Ohio State University.

Laura Sirot of the Wooster Science Café planning committee said the series of events is to promote discussion of science topics of public interest. "It brings together scientists and nonscientists in a relaxed atmosphere with food and drink, in a family-friendly way, covering general-interest topics,” she said.

The sessions are held upstairs at the Excelsior Room at Spoon Market and Deli, 144 W. Liberty St., Wooster.

The free series will be held the first Tuesday of each month from September through December and February through May. It will begin with an open house on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

“We started doing that last year and had 12 presenters and tables with demonstrations,” Sirot said.

Dr. Marian Frazier, professor of statistical and data sciences at the College of Wooster, will speak about “Lying with Data” on Oct. 1 and will focus on the ways politicians, the media, advertisers and others “use data to mislead the public.”

Dr. Michelle Leiby, professor of political science at the College of Wooster, will speak about immigrant communities in Ohio on Nov. 5.

Tom Marting, facilities and resource-management director at GOJO Industries Inc., along with Dr. Emily Kennedy of the Biomimicry Research and Innovation Center at the University of Akron, will cover observing nature to inspire new inventions and designs that in turn aid humans on Dec. 3.

Dr. Laura Burch, professor of French and Francophone studies at the College of Wooster, will cover the history of women in science on Feb. 2.

Dr. Shoshanah Inwood of the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University will speak about farm-to-school food programs on March 3.

Dr. Niki Spahich, president of Science Riot, is scheduled to speak on April 7.

“She founded Science Riot in Colorado,” Sirot said. “She trains scientists in stand-up comedy, which they can use to make talking about science more fun and accessible.”

Denise Ellsworth is the program director of Pollinator Education at OSU. She will speak about pollinators and pollinator ecology on May 5.

All of the events are from 7-8 p.m.

With a full slate of speakers prepared to cover seven months, the problem, Sirot said, is finding presenters for the Sept. 3 open house. “We’re just getting presenters for that day,” she said.

Anyone who is able and would like to do a science demonstration that day should email Sirot at lsirot@wooster.edu or call 330-263-2341.

The Science Café is well attended. “It is generally at capacity," Sirot said. "We don’t turn anyone away, but some have to stand.”

Last year’s topics included the science of wine, virtual reality, drug-resistant pathogens, anti-science and water testing.

“They are very interactive and informal sessions,” Sirot said. “They aren’t lectures, and in our guidelines for speakers, we discourage a lot of data-heavy graphs and information. They take questions, and often there are lively discussions between audience members. We encourage those kinds of conversations. The topics are meant to touch people’s lives and help them realize what they can do about the things that concern them. There’s a lot of personal sharing and plenty of exchanges.”

The Wooster Science Café is free and open to the public. Complimentary appetizers provided by Spoon Market and Deli are available with more food and drink available for purchase.

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