The Science Near Me blog is a partnership between Discover magazine and ScienceNearMe.org.
Move over, trivia. Here is a new idea for your next evening: A science café. So grab your friends and call the babysitter, because somewhere near you there’s an opportunity for fun and entertainment – adult drinks are optional.
Fun with science and opportunities to engage your brain shouldn’t be just for kids. Luckily, there are plenty of ways for us adults to stretch our brains and have a good time. At ScienceNearMe.org, your one-stop-shop for science activities, events and programs, you can now use the “21+” filter to find events designed just for adults.
One of the biggest event types you might find is the Science Café. At these events, members of the public gather at a local bar or other venue and listen to presentations by scientists. But these aren’t boring classroom lectures – they’re laid back, fun, and expertly crafted to be understandable to anyone who might walk through the door. Many events are free, while others may require an entry fee or the purchase of a ticket. A token or a ticket for a free drink at the bar is a definite possibility.
Here are a few examples of organizations across the country that are currently hosting Science Cafés and other adult science events!
Nerd Nite near me
A great way to make your evening a little more interesting is to attend a Nerd Night. We asked Nerd Nite’s Big Boss, Matt Wasowski, what it was all about. We let you hear it from his mouth:
“For the uninitiated, in its simplest terms, Nerd Nite is a monthly event held in a non-academic location (think music rooms, art spaces, breweries, warehouses, etc.) where three usually emerging experts each give a fun but informative 18-minute presentation while the audience drinks. And the drinking part is just as important as the introductions, because we’ve always thought it was essential to create an informal atmosphere for the nerdery.
Nerd Nite started in 2003 as a lark in a rockabilly bar in Boston as a means of [founder] Chris Balakrishnan to talk about his trips to Cameroon to study a bird while in grad school, and became something of a global event series that, before the pandemic, held monthly events in over 100 cities across six continents.
While one could probably find a way to learn more formally about the science of The Simpsons, the first vaccine, or gonorrhea, it’s much more fun to learn with a few friends, around like-minded peers, everything. having a drink. Tone and wit are everything. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, don’t deter swearing or toilet humor and love to toast our audience.
The typical point of view of a presenter in a Science Café. (Credit: Nerd Nite)
Every Nite around the world is run by volunteers. We have even rejected outside investment because we don’t want to be beholden to anyone. It’s just us; a happy bunch of curious people who enjoy each other’s company, a few beers and learn about new subjects presented to us in an offbeat way.
As we enter our third decade, our mission remains to simply teach people about random things in an informal, hopefully enjoyable way. This incredibly simple formula has worked so far, so if it ain’t broke, let’s not break it. Cheers!”
There are a number of Nerd Nite events already scheduled across the country for June – June 9 in Miami, June 15 in San Francisco, June 22 in Los Angeles and June 30 in Louisville – with more to come. Many meet monthly on the same day of the month at a local bar or pub. Nerd Nite perhaps says it best on its website: “Be there and be square.”
Astronomy at the rendezvous
Another great opportunity to add a bit of learning to your next night at the bar is Astronomy on Tap. Like Nerd Nite, you’ll find local experts at the event, but this time it’ll be astronomers talking about black holes, what it would really take to live on Mars, or a recently revealed solar system secret. Here’s how co-founder Emily Rice describes it:
“Astronomy on Tap is a loosely coordinated global organization of public outreach events featuring presentations on astronomy by professional scientists, educators and more, in bars and other social venues. We started in New York in April 2013, after Dr. Meg Schwamb (then a postdoc at Yale) organized two “Astronomy Uncorked” events at a New Haven wine bar, before I helped her organize a similar event. in Brooklyn and renamed Astronomy on Robinet.
On May 4, Astronomy on Tap San Antonio hosted a Star Wars science event. Here, Dr. Angela Speck, an astrophysicist at the University of Texas at San Antonio, shares what it really takes to wipe out a planet and what the movies did and didn’t do well, while sporting a stunning R2D2 dress. . (Credit: Dr. Christine Ray on Twitter @ItsChristineRay)
On May 4, AoT San Antonio hosted a Star Wars science event. Here, dr. Angela Speck, an astrophysicist at the University of Texas at San Antonio, shares what it really takes to wipe out a planet and what the movies did and didn’t do well, while sporting a stunning R2D2 dress. Photo and caption by planetary scientist Dr. Christine Ray.
Typical events include two or more short presentations (15-20 minutes) with plenty of time for questions, as well as trivia, games, prizes, news, music, and other fun stuff. AoT offers scientists a relatively informal place to share their expertise and experiences with the general public, while being honest and creative. Several AoT satellite organizations have even adapted to their communities by organizing events in different languages (Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, etc.) and with different types of professionals (scientists, educators, astronauts, amateur astronomers, actors, musicians, artists, etc.).”
The following Astronomy on Tap will take place June 9 in Chicago, but be sure to check back soon for more dates and locations! And don’t forget other science cafe organizations that might be hosting events near you, like Pint of Science, Science on Tap, Biology on Tap, and yes, even science-themed trivia nights.
More science activities for adults
Adults don’t have every opportunity to appreciate science in a bar. Science centers, museums, planetariums and more will often host adult events! For example, on June 9, the Emerald Coast Science Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida is hosting The sordid secrets of the stars. Reserve your place at the Science Center Planetarium for an adventure through Mesoamerican legends and constellation myths. As the science center puts it, “Like all of our sordid secrets, this is an adult event, because those Mayan, Inca, and Aztec gods sure didn’t keep things PG-rated!” (And yes, there is also beer and wine.)
Whatever your interests and ideal location, there are more and more events taking place every day. So the next time you’re looking for fun things to do, find out if there’s an adult science event near you, and be sure to check back often!
If your organization has a science opportunity to share, be sure to add it to Science near me! We would love to share your event, opportunity, activity or camp with our community.