(You normally shouldn't see this. Dang.) Cafe Scientifique Orlando is a gathering of scientifically-inclined people in Central Florida, who meet at a cafe, coffee house, pub, or nonacademic location to discuss events and ideas in the world of science. We enjoy beer and wine, and we use plain language to talk about extraordinary ideas.
“Cafe Scientifique” is the name given to a few meetings in pubs in the late 1990s in England, modeled after some French “Cafe Philosophique” dating back a century. They were set in nonacademic places, so that it would remove mystery and detachment from what should be everyday ideas and processes, and pull heady topics into the real world, where they belong.
Science Cafes spread, slowly at first, through Europe and to strongly academic cities in the US. Derek Demeter first staked a claim for Orlando on an Internet bulletin board, asking for help. Chad Miller contacted Derek in late 2007 and they picked the middle of 2008 as a good starting time for Orlando’s first science cafe.
Finding speakers was the most intimidating challenge. Derek, an astronomer, agreed to speak at the first cafe, and Chad roamed the hallways of UCF and got pledges and promises from many amazing people to speak in the future, so Derek and Chad felt comfortable committing to the schedule indefinitely.
To publicize to gain an audience and to fish for speakers, Chad sought out established local science figures. Sigma Xi, a national scientific society, has one of its goals to promote science cafes, so Chad invited Leslie Lieberman, UCF SigXi president, to help, and Leslie suggested Ed Haddad, executive director of the Florida Academy of Sciences, would be an excellent help too.
The first Cafe was held in an actual cafe, Stardust Coffee and Video, a lovely bohemian coffee shop. In July 2008, Derek spoke about the Mars Pheonix Lander, and Leslie agreed to speak for the second month about evolution’s influence on obesity.
Thereafter, the four continued to run the science cafe with varying levels of involvement. For the most part, now almost five years in, Leslie and Ed liaise with the scientific elite and press, and Chad organizes speakers, scheduling, venues, and everyday details.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort, perhaps six hours a month altogether, but we get incredible returns, in helping to raise the public’s understanding, and maybe even love, for science.
If you have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Our next scheduled topic is…
Kardeshev classified civilizations in terms of energy: a Type-I civilization is one that uses all the energy of a single planet, a Type-II uses all the energy of a single solar system, and a Type-III uses all the energy of a single galaxy. These energy levels represent barriers in the sense that we cannot grow a civilization beyond those levels unless we make radical changes in the very nature of the civilization. For example, at the limit of a Type-I civilization, we suddenly discover that we must bring the rest of the solar system into our economic sphere. Unfortunately, the distances between the space resources and the Earth are vast, the transportation costs are high, the environment is harsh for human bodies, and the technologies that are needed to accomplish this have not been developed for any prior economic purpose. Compared to expanding across the globe, even across the oceans, it is much more difficult to expand across interplanetary space. Thus, the Kardeshev classification represents natural barriers that we will hit, waypoints in civilization that require unusual sacrifices, new investments, and extraordinary political will. Business-as-usual driven by the familiar forces of economics will not work — by definition — when we reach one of these barriers. This puts humanity’s global challenges into the correct historic perspective as well as suggesting how they must be addressed. We are presently concerned about global warming, peak oil, resource depletion in general, overpopulation, resource wars, and so on. Rather than thinking of these as separate problems, we should recognize them as elements of the first Kardeshev barrier. If we want to address any of these global challenges effectively, we need to recognize them for what they are and address the basic problem behind them. We need to bring the solar system into Earth’s economic sphere. This talk will discuss the challenges and provide a strategy for getting over the first barrier affordably within our generation. This strategy incorporates the OASIS concept developed by this year’s International Space University plus the Affordable Rapid Bootstrapping concept for lunar and asteroid industry, developed by the speaker.
Philip T. Metzger, Ph.D. works at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as the lead research physicist and founder of the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations (GMRO) Lab, part of the Surface Systems Swamp Works.
Phil has worked in the space program since 1985. He was a part of the Space Shuttle launch team and later with the International Space Station Program testing and assembling spaceflight hardware. For the past 10 years, he has performed research and technology development for solar system exploration (Moon, Mars, asteroids, etc.).
He earned a B.S.E.(electrical engineering) from Auburn University in 1985, a M.S. in physics from the University of Central Florida in 2000, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Central Florida in 2005. His doctoral work focused on the theoretical statistical mechanics of granular materials with applications to the mechanics of lunar and planetary soils.
|Skulls of Our Ancestors||14 May, 2013 - 18:00||downtown library|
|After the Maya Apocalypse||1 May, 2013 - 19:00||Taste|
|Nanotechnology Is Already Here||3 April, 2013 - 19:00||Taste|
|New National Wildlife Refuge||6 March, 2013 - 19:00||Taste|
|Teamwork||6 February, 2013 - 19:00||Taste|
|Asteroids, Water, and Life on Earth||9 January, 2013 - 19:00||Taste|
|Poor and Homeless in Florida||5 December, 2012 - 19:00||Taste|
|Seeing cancer before it's too late||7 November, 2012 - 19:00||Taste|
|Marine Ecosystems In Peril||3 October, 2012 - 19:00||Taste|
|A Theory of Everything||5 September, 2012 - 19:00||Taste|
|Digital Ethnography||1 August, 2012 - 19:00||Taste|
|Mastodons in Daytona||6 June, 2012 - 19:00||Taste|