Skip to main content

Cafe Scientifique – University of Reading

Show access keys

Cafe Scientifique

What is Café Scientifique?

Café Scientifique is a place where, for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology.

Café Scientifique is a forum for debating science issues, not a shop window for science. It is committed to promoting public engagement with science and to making science accountable.

Everyone who wants to is welcome to ask a question or make a comment. You don't need to be a scientist to enjoy the evening - just come with an open and enquiring mind.

Café Scientifique is supported by the University of Reading and the Thames Valley branch of the British Science Association.

Where is Reading Café Scientifique held? 

Café Scientifique Reading events take place at Smokin' Billy's (formerly Monroe's American Bar): 61 St. Mary's Butts, Reading, RG1 2LG. 

All ages welcome. Order food before 7pm and get 20% off your bill!

They take place on selected evenings throughout the year and start at 7.30pm.
There is no entry fee and all are welcome.

Join the debate #RdgCafeSci


Wednesday 7 February

The Science of Hollywood, Dr Hugh Mortimer,

Science fiction has a lot to answer for, Bruce Willis for starters. Not all of the science that comes out of Hollywood is bad, some of it is good while other bits can be just downright ugly. This talk will look at the science behind the fiction and will explain how the fiction can in turn influence the science.

Hugh is a researcher at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, where he develops instruments that can tell us information about the atmospheres of planets. This work produces equipment to allow us to investigate, for example, the composition, temperature and pressures of the atmospheres of Earth, the planets in our solar system, and those orbiting stars far far away.

In addition to his day job, Hugh attends national and international meetings and conferences and communicates his work to public audiences. He is also the science adviser to an international art project called Invisible Dust and the Hollywood blockbuster Prometheus.


Wednesday 14 March

Fusion and first light fusion,  Dr Peta Foster

For more information please see the Thames Valley branch of the British Science Association website.


Wednesday 4 April

How augmented reality is enhancing the science lesson, Alan Sheridan

Octagon Studio's Augmented Reality range was first identified to us by Ogden Trust in 2015 who had recognised the potential of using AR to combine enhanced learning that can introduce, or reinforce, key concepts and always creates a buzz with the students and provides a rich app-based library for them to continue to explore after school at no cost - other than time well-spent. Almost three years later the technology has moved on further and grown up into secondary education and we would like to show you how and why.

Alan Sheridan took his childhood love of celestial navigation a first career as a Deck Officer in the Merchant Navy before a fifteen-year career in marketing in the retail and fmcg sectors. A happenstance brought a change of career to science communication and science resource development in 2003. Alan founded Education Harbour Ltd in 2008 to independently develop science resources and is a supporter of the ASE and a Director and Company Secretary of Young Scientists Journal in 2016 ( with a key interest in how science study can be used to improve social mobility.

Education Harbour Ltd, where Science Meets Magic, is the designer and distributor of its own brand of rainbow diffraction glasses, hologram diffraction glasses, spiral diffraction glasses and solar eclipse glasses; and is a leading supplier to the science education market. We are proud that our Rainbow Glasses were used in an RI Friday Evening Discourse lead by Prof. Judith Howard of Durham University in January 2014. Our eclipse glasses were featured on BBC News at Six and News at Ten and were a great hit. We have seen our Spectrum and Spiral glasses rock out at the festivals, raves and great parties and are proud announce Newton's Colour Wheel by Education Harbour Limited will officially launched at ASE2016 and The Toy Fair 2016.

We are also proud to be the UK School and Visitor Attraction Distributor for Octagon Studio Ltd range of 4D+ Augmented Reality flashcards featuring Dinosaur, Space, Animals and Octaland Careers. The range was officially launched at New Scientist Live 2016. We launched Humanoid 4D+ and Cars 4D+ at NSL 2017 where the New Scientist audience queued up to see the products in action and make their purchases.


Wednesday 2 May

Hypnosis, psychosis and the consciousness conundrum, Dr Peter Naish

Consciousness is a puzzle! Our brains achieve so much outside conscious awareness that it is not obvious what additional benefits it confers. Even harder to answer is how connecting together a large number of relatively simple electro-chemical brain cells is able to deliver a sense of consciousness to their owner. There is a tradition of deducing how things work by examining the errors produced when they don't. Hypnosis and psychoses (such as schizophrenia) can both make consciousness 'go wrong'; what can we learn from those?

Peter Naish has degrees in the Physical Sciences and also in Psychology. The latter was obtained at Reading University, following which he obtained his doctorate in the Oxford Department of Experimental Psychology. Since then he continued his research in academia and the Ministry of Defence. An enthusiastic advocate of public engagement with science, Peter has a busy public speaking schedule; he is also frequently involved as an expert witness in court cases.



We use Javascript to improve your experience on, but it looks like yours is turned off. Everything will still work, but it is even more beautiful with Javascript in action. Find out more about why and how to turn it back on here.
We also use cookies to improve your time on the site, for more information please see our cookie policy.

Back to top