Falmouth Cafe Sci
Please note: all Cafe Sci events held at the Poly are free - unless for special events - but there is a £1 'voluntary' admission charge for use of the building - a small contribution to the Poly's fund for restoration and development of the building.
Autumn 2018 Season
Maths, friend or foe?
For the autumn and winter of 2018/19, our programme of talks is entirely given over to one area whose pervasive influence on all our lives has lately become ever more apparent: mathematics.
Over this season, the Cornwall Branch of the British Science Association brings you five interconnected discussions in the Cafe Sci format on the growing role of algorithms, big data and mathematics in our lives.
From Tariq Rashid on algorithms in art to Stuart Townley on maths in everyday life, from big questions over the very nature and possibility of mathematics in a world that evolution has brought about; and Toby Lowe on the ambivalent impact of endless targets on the culture of public services; and finally, a round table discussion with questions over the safety in use of personal data*.
* The talk on sharing health data is now postponed to the new year, as two of our intended speakers now find they are unable to manage the original date.
January 23rd 2019, 7.45pm
Falmouth Polytechnic in the Library
"What counts is what's counted"
Exploring the impact of a culture of the 3 Ms - markets, management and measurement - on education and the welfare state.
With Toby Lowe, of Northumbria University, we will be asking: is there an alternative?
In the past 30 years, there has been a quiet revolution in the 'delivery' (sic) of public services and public goods, from schools and universities to health and social care, housing and homelessness, the police and prisons, buses and railways.
Cost centres and contracts, internal markets, commissioning, targets and outcomes and other business models - we now all talk a language never heard at the origins of the welfare state, or the university expansion of the 60s and later, when it was safely assumed that professionals could be trusted to do their best for their charges, whether students, patients, clients, tenant - now all 'customers' - and swathes of accounting and tiers of management were not needed.
For good or ill, what happened? And why was no-one asked to vote for this?.
For some very useful - and quite accessible - background reading, on the fundamentalist economic philosophy behind the approach known as 'New Public management', see: "Meet the economist behind the one per cent's stealth takeover of America", published by the Institute for New Economic Thinking: HERE
But for the growing alternative, see: "A Whole New World: Funding and Commissioning in Complexity" ( Collaborate and Newcastle University Research study) : HERE
Date to be confirmed (Postponed from November 21st, 7.45pm )
in the Library Room at the Falmouth Poly
Should we be sharing health data?
With a panel of speakers - details t.b.c
NB: This talk on sharing health data is now postponed to the new year, as two of our intended speakers now find they are unable to manage this date
A national discussion, this year's series of Future Debates, hosted by/courtesy of the British Science Association in partnership with Genomics England. This round of Future Debates will consider the benefits and risks of a medical system that uses genomic data.
How should it be stored and who should have access? Should everyone's genome be analysed at birth? And is there a duty to donate your genome, like we do with blood and organs?
The British Science Association believes that science is a part of our everyday lives and that everyone should feel confident to talk about and be included in these topics. We want to empower everyone– not just scientists – to engage in conversation over science’s role in their own lives, their local economy, and the UK as a whole.
To make sure these conversations are happening at a local level, the BSA nationally is working with Genomics England to run this series of debates across the country, looking at specific topics relevant to today.
NB: Matt Creasey's talk is now postponed until still later in 2019
It's who you know...
With writer and researcher Mathew Creasey. Mathew's research focusses on individual differences in personality and cognition among individuals within cooperative groups.
Going with the flow
On the mixture of fluid dynamics and psychology in traffic management, with Andrew Archer, and Bert Biscoe, former policy holder for transport, Cornwall County Council.
Bert and Andrew will be discussing the science of flows, conflicts, urgencies and capacities.
About Falmouth Cafe Scientifique
Meanwhile, if you are not quite sure what a cafe sci is all about, check the description here; or try the excellent international Cafe Sci community site.
If you might be interested in attending, let us know. If you might be interested in speaking - or know someone who might - then it's best to read first the Advice for Speakers ( so that they/you have a good idea of what to expect) and then contact us.
The most significant development currently is the decision to regard the Falmouth Cafe Sci henceforth as being a wing of the (still quite new) Cornwall branch of the
British Science Association
BSA[Cornwall] now has its own website, which is HERE
The video above shows the BSA's view science, as "It’s not just a list of facts – it’s a mindset owned by anyone who approaches the world in an open-minded, sceptical, logical, systematic, empirically-oriented, tentative and curious way.
(That is exactly the Cafe Sci view; a mindset not a method, and there is no subject that it can't cover - no subject area that is, or is not, suitable for 'science'.)
For more background on the British Science Association itself, you can also check out the (national) website: HERE
NB: This website site isn't interactive. This kind of (free) software is good for lengthy content, but not for discussion.
But you can follow developments, and comment on the idea, the programme, or individual talks, via theFalmouth Cafe Sci Facebook page.
(With apologies to all those who hate Facebook. But if you can suggest a better interactive web programme - please do!)
And we have now another brand new discussion group in this remarkably busy little town -
The Philosopher's Hat
Described as 'a place in spacetime to discuss what really matters (or doesn't)', this is a Falmouth-based discussion group aimed at providing people with a space and time to don their Philosopher’s Hat and chat about any topic they fancy over a pint in the pub
The group meets twice monthly on the 1st and 3rd Monday, at the Boathouse (pub), from 7pm.
More details from the website: HERE
and the Facebook page: HERE
Otherwise...... the National Maritime Museum have now launched a new website, which they intend to be far more accessible and interactive.
As they say:
" The brand new NMMC.CO.UK is part of an overall re-fresh of the museum’s digital brand which also includes social media, email and video.
"A new digital content strategy has increased the museum’s use of video content to communicate key messages and promote new events and exhibitions.... "
Check out their site, below.
Other local talks and events coming up:
Source Fm - Falmouth and Penryn's community radio - has a continuous programme of talks, music etc.
For their website and up-coming programme; see their website: HERE
At Redruth Cafe Sci
For details, see their own website: HERE
Launceston Cafe Sci
Independent School of Art:
At the Falmouth Polytechnic
The Poly is home to most of Falmouth Cafe Sci talks - and a lot else besides. The documentary talks programme is becoming fuller. For more details, see their own website: HERE
At the Maritime Museum
for details, see their own website: HERE
At Falmouth/Exeter Uni, Penryn campus
for details, see their website
Others? Just let us know.......
NB: Throughout October of 2015 we ran, in conjunction with the Poly on Tuesday afternoons, an experimental MOOC-tracking discussion group. With the advent of BSA Cornwall (see above), we might like to revive this idea.
What’s a MOOC, you ask (again)?
This link to a specific page on this site will tell you all you need to know: http://falmouthcafescientifique.weebly.com/what-is-a-mooc.html .
But in short, think: internet book club: watch a video, or take a whole course of weekly reading - and come and discuss it with similarly -enthused people. Simples.......
There is the possibility of making this a more regular feature of MOOC, BSA and Poly life, in 2017......
We are always open to suggestions for topics....