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Science Cafés

Science Cafés provide an opportunity for audiences to discuss current science topics with experts in an informal setting. All Science Cafés take place at Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub, 318 South Main Street, Ann Arbor. Hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 PM; program 6:00-7:30 PM.

For a map of the restaurant location, click Conor O'Neills or select Google Street View for a detailed
satellite map. 

Winter 2018 Science Cafés


February Science Café

Mass Extinctions – Past and...Present?

Wednesday, February 21
5:30-7:30 p.m.

The history of life on Earth is punctuated by at least five massive extinction events, some resulting in an estimated loss of 96% of species. What causes these biological catastrophes? How do we learn about them?  Why do scientists think current extinctions might be comparable to these ancient events?

We'll discuss the past and explore the potential consequences of current biodiversity losses, and what we can do to mitigate or avert future losses. Speakers will include Matt Friedman of the U-M Museum of Paleontology and Department of Earth and Evironmental Sciences and Johannes Foufopoulos of the School for Environment and Sustainability.


March Science Café

Postcards from the Anthropocene

Wednesday, March 21
5:30-7:30 p.m.

Human beings have changed Earth so extensively that geologists now propose renaming our current epoch as the Anthropocene—the era defined by people. Human influences are apparent in the shape of landscapes, the extent of biodiversity, ocean chemistry, and our climate. We will explore the history of human influence on Earth and the ideas driving the concept of the Age of Humans, taking time to discuss consequences and implications for our future world. Speakers will include Julia Cole and Naomi Levin of the University of Michigan's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.


April Science Café

Designer Genes? Genetic engineering in the age of CRISPR

Wednesday, April 11
5:30-7:30 p.m.

New technology makes gene editing easier. Its use is being explored to correct diseases caused by genetic mutations, to fight cancer, and even to learn about human evolutionary adaptations, and its potential is amazing. We'll explore the capabilities and research that CRISPR Cas9 gene editing brings, as well as its ethical, legal, and social implications.

Speakers include Jody Platt, Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences at the U-M Medical School, Daniel Thiel, doctoral student at the U-M School of Public Health and Department of Sociology, and Thom Saunders, Director of the U-M Transgenic Animal Model Core.

This Science Café is made possible by a generous sponsorship from Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society.