Fairfield Public Library is partnering with the University of Iowa to offer “Science Café” events. The first event in the series will focus on memory and cognition. Daniel T. Tranel, Ph.D., Program Director of Neuroscience at the University of Iowa, will travel to Fairfield to lead an informal discussion. Please mark your calendar and bring a snack! Free beverages will be provided.
Science Cafés are free public events that bring people together in a casual setting to discuss interesting and current science topics. Speakers are professional scientists who strive to keep the content accessible to the general public, while a moderator assists with group dynamics. What began as a grassroots movement to help scientists engage with local communities has expanded into hundreds of sites around the world.
In Fairfield, discussions began at Everybody’s Whole Foods where attendees took a vote and recommended the following future topics: Water quality, gut microbiome, plastic pollution and the endocrine system, memory/dementia/Alzheimer’s, soil health, oceanic health, the body’s inflammatory response, climate change, air quality, future of food, exercise science, future of a sustainable society, health of the eyes, GMOs, how to detox the body, and space research.
The Science Café program at the University of Iowa is a collaboration between the Environmental Health Science Research Center and the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. The program focuses on rural citizens and highlights current research projects of interest to a community. The venture began in October 2013 and events have been held in Mt. Vernon, Lisbon, Ottumwa, Fairfield, and Iowa City. Speakers from several university departments have participated.
An important part of the Science Café program is to encourage feedback and provide opportunities for participants to reflect on what they have learned and propose topics for future discussions. Participant surveys consistently show that Science Cafés have taught community members new information that is relevant to their lives. Here are a couple of quotes from participants: “I had not heard of the cancer registry. I learned lots—data collection, maps, use and limitations of the data.” “I had no idea how many chemicals are in our everyday products—couches, curtains, etc.”
Fairfield Public Library Director Rebecca Johnson is working with Jackie Curnick, MDP, Coordinator of Community Engagement Core at the University of Iowa’s Environmental Health Science Research Center to offer this event series. So far, they have scheduled Science Cafés at the library for September, October, and November this year. If response from the community is favorable, the program will continue into 2019. For more information, visit the Science Cafés website at http://www.sciencecafes.org/ and the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center website at http://www.ehsrc.org/ .
Contact: Fairfield Public Library 641-472-6551