The California Local Section held a science cafe in November of 2009, Searching for "ET", by Dr. Margaret Race. Their first Science Cafe in 2007 drew over a hundred at a different restaurant in Orinda, but their sixth and and only 2009 Science Cafe was definitely the most interactive with the audience to-date. The 50-60 attendees filled the capacity of this particular restaurant which we tried for the first time. Since it was standing room only, we set up lots of chairs to accommodate the overflow. The speaker was wonderful and truly engaged the audience. The audience found the topic of "Searching for ET" fascinating and asked many great and thought provoking questions throughout the hour she spoke. We even had a six year old girl in the audience with her parents who asked a very intelligent question about space research so the topic appeals to all ages! Dr. Race showed wonderful slides from her current work with NASA's Office of Planetary Protection through research at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute.
The Orinda Mayor, Orinda School District Superintendent, about 25 local ACS members and lots of others from the general public made up the audience. I surveyed the audience with a show of hands to see how they heard about this science cafe. About half heard through our email to local section ACS members who also told friends and relatives. The rest found out about this Science Cafe through our publicity posters and articles in the local newspapers. We were truly pleased by the great publicity for the California Section of ACS connecting to the general public through this Science Cafe. From compliments I received afterwards from the mayor, superintendent and lots of attendees, it was evident there is a great interest and appreciation for local Science Cafes.
Thank you to the California Local Section for providing the information for this blog.