Café Scientifique

Years back, I missed the very first Café Scientifique held in the UK, despite working across the road from the venue. Ironically, I missed it because I was working for the organiser, and he’d sent me away to shoot some interview or other.

I didn’t miss Glasgow’s Science Café on Monday evening, however. This was lucky, because I was the speaker.

Surprisingly, I found myself a tad nervous, but it seemed to go well enough. I was talking about the past and present of science television for children, which of course leads us to the point where there isn’t any. Pleasingly, there was a rather positive reaction to the reveal moment of “…this has never been about the television, it’s always been about inspiring children with science. If television is no longer a means to that end, let’s find a better way of doing it.”

The discussion was interesting, and useful. There’s usually somebody who’s a bit grumpy about ‘entertainment’, and wonders whether there’s really any science involved in SciCast. This is tricky, because I pretty much have to confess that they’re right to be concerned. However, I can’t address everything at once, and monitoring factual content is something that I’ve simply had to punt into next year (or so). Happily, Glasgow’s curmudgeon turned out to be thoroughly charming, and indeed pragmatic. Rather more concerned than curmudgeonly, in fact – but isn’t ‘curmudgeon’ a lovely word? Anyway…

Heaven knows what the audience got out of it, but the evening was extremely useful for me. One of these days I’m going to have to pitch SciCast seriously, and it’s good to practice articulating the arguments.

Plus, it was gratifying to meet a couple of kids who are watching The Big Bang in repeats on CITV, and loving it. Yay!

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