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wantage-presents-squareWantage is to strengthen its links with local science centres and technology businesses by launching the popular Café Scientifique concept in a town centre café.

Café Scientifique is a national initiative which has had local events in Didcot and Wallingford for a number of years. It involves a speaker delivering a science, engineering or technology-based talk followed by a discussion with the audience in a café or similar venue.

In Wantage, a monthly series of free Café Scientifique talks will launch at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm) on Tuesday February 10th at The Bay Tree Café on Newbury Street. The speaker will be Dr Josie Goodall from the UK Catalysis Hub at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell Oxford. Dr Goodall, who’ll talk about using synchrotron radiation and laser facilities to develop new fuels, batteries, materials and a cleaner environment, says: “Talking about science is one of the best bits of my job and it is my pleasure to speak at the first Wantage Café Scientifique about some of the work going on here in Oxfordshire, using the cutting edge facilities in the area to try and solve some of the big challenges facing society including energy, environments and health.”

Wantage Café Scientifique will be on the second Tuesday of the month, and is being co-ordinated by Sarah Fell, Education and Outreach Manager for Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), in partnership with Wantage Town Team. Sarah says: “I am really excited to be part of this new event for Wantage. With all of the diverse research happening on our doorstep, it seems only right that we have evenings like this to share it with people from the surrounding area. As a big science enthusiast myself, I am really looking forward to learning more about the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research in Oxfordshire.”

Dates already planned are: March 10th, April 14th and May 12th with speakers from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Diamond Light Source among those involved. Tea, coffee and cake will be available to buy on the night. Event attendee numbers are limited to the café capacity on a first-come-first-admitted basis. Co-owner of The Bay Tree Café, Wantage, Faye Hutchins says: “We look forward to our Coffee Shop being the venue for the Café Scientifique evenings. It’s great for Wantage to be involved and for a local independent business to be supported.”

The first Café Scientifiques in the UK were held in Leeds in 1998. Currently, some seventy or so cafés meet regularly to hear scientists or writers on science talk about their work and discuss it with diverse audiences. See www.cafescientifique.org/

Wantage town team is a partnership of the Vale of White Horse District Council, Wantage Town Council and Wantage & District Chamber of Commerce through the Wantage Joint Economic Forum (JEF), and town team co-ordinators, Mim Norvell and Iain Nicholson.