Café Scientifique in Dubai
New café for Dubai's most inquisitive grown ups Discuss this article
- Picture 1 of 2
As Dubai resident Rohan Roberts launches Café Scientifique, a group for the Middle East’s most inquisitive grown ups, Mark Griffiths meets the school teacher and quizzes him for more information on the concept
Like it or not, science carries a stigma. Utter the words chemistry, biology or physics and for most people they will conjure up images of broken-spectacle-wearing boffins in lab coats.
All that is about to change thanks to Café Scientifique – a group that allows coffee and chemistry to mix, with no mention of the periodic table.
‘It’s a club where, for the price of a cup of coffee, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology,’ explains founder and Dubai school teacher Rohan Roberts. ‘The idea is to talk science, but outside of an academic setting.’
Held at Café Lila – a spacious coffee stop in TECOM – on the last Friday of each month, Café Scientifique Dubai is the first group within this popular international concept to be based here in the Middle East.
The first Café Scientifique meeting took place in Leeds in the UK in 1998, its DNA spreading around the world with new branches rapidly born.
‘Everything we see around us is the product of science,’ adds Roberts. ‘Technology is growing at an exponential rate but for most people, the last time they engaged with science was in high school.’
Recognising that many adults today are intimidated by science, Roberts and his co-founder Raya Bidshahri got their heads together.
‘We wanted to share the thrill we feel about science, technology and critical thinking with others in Dubai, says Roberts. ‘Reaching out not just to like-minded people but also to those who have a curious mind and a desire to learn more about how the world around us works.’
Having always wanted to experience the reality of a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids moment myself, it came as a nice surprise to hear that Roberts and Bidshahri are on the hunt for people just like me – people whose everyday wonderings begin with, ‘This may sound like a dumb question, but…’
Their concept has attracted interest from across the emirates – including Ajman and Abu Dhabi. People have made the journey to discuss topics including ‘The Edge of the Universe’, ‘Extinction and New Species’ and ‘Success and Limitations of the Scientific Method’.
According to Roberts, the concept is ‘a great way to engage’ with some important scientific issues of our time that will have an impact not just on our own lives but also on the future of our species.
‘It doesn’t matter if you’re a science nerd or a novice,’ explains Roberts. ‘Our events are for everybody and there’s a very friendly vibe within the group. Those who have a deeper understanding of a subject [read, know-it-all] can share their expert knowledge. Sessions begin with a 20-minute introduction followed by a quick coffee break and a further discussion. The next event, scheduled for Friday May 31, entitled ‘Human Brain-to-Brain Interface’, will focus on recent experiments linking rat brains via the internet. ‘It’s only a matter of time before human brains link up directly in cyberspace. We’ll be discussing this, the meaning of consciousness, and the consequences of uploading the mind and storing it digitally,’ Roberts says.
Next steps for Café Scientifique include bringing celebrity scientists – you heard it here first – to the region, with ambitious plans floating for an annual science festival to take place here in the UAE.
‘Science is more than just a body of knowledge – it’s a way of thinking. And when you see the world through a scientifically literate lens, the world is an exciting place – a place free from superstition, pseudo-science, and mumbo-jumbo.’
Free. Café Scientifique meets 5pm-6.30pm on Friday May 31. Lila Cafe, MCN building, opposite Ramee Rose Hotel, TECOM, www.cafescidubai.com (04 454 3064).
Time Out Dubai,
- Al Quoz(10)
- Arabian Ranches(2)
- Bur Dubai(8)
- Business Bay(7)
- Downtown Dubai(1)
- Dubai Investments Park(2)
- Dubai Marina(1)
- Emirates Hills(2)
- Festival City(1)
- Green Community(3)
- International City(2)
- Jebel Ali(1)
- Jumeirah Lakes Towers(2)
- Knowledge Village(3)
- Motor City(1)
- Nad Al Sheba(1)
- Oud Metha(7)
- Sheikh Zayed Road(10)
- Umm Suqeim(1)
Most viewed groups
- Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs
- K9 Friends
- Make-A-Wish Foundation UAE
- Riding for the Disabled Association of Dubai (RDAD)
- Dubai Autism Centre
Our favourite features
101 celebrities in the UAE The most famous faces spotted in the emirates throughout 2013
Best selling albums of 2013 The top 20 sellers in the UAE: Who comes out on top?
Around the world at Global Village Dubai Stop and shop across the globe at the UAE's cultural park
Iconic Dubai buildings explained We celebrate some of the city's less well-known architectural triumphs
Hot new Japanese restaurants in Dubai Following a burst of new openings, we round up the newcomers
20 delicious low calories dishes in Dubai Our favourite feasts which pack just 500 calories or less
Pictures: Dubai from the sky We hopped aboard a Seawings flight to capture some amazing views of the ...
30 FREE things to do in Dubai From fitness trends to arty movie screenings, how to have free fun
20 celebrity chef restaurants in Dubai The celebrity-inspired restaurants that have come (and in some cases, go...
Massive new developments coming to Dubai FOUR huge islands off Deira, a 30,000-seater stadium, 100-storey tower, ...
21 restaurants to try in Downtown Dubai We dine our way down Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (Emaar Boulevard)
50 best dishes of 2013 From budget to blow-out, the best our reviewers have been served in 2013
An essential guide to renting in Dubai Beat price hikes, pick the right area, and know your rights
How to get a pay rise 20 expert tips to bag more cash from your boss
30 top outdoor bars in Dubai As the temperatures cool we round up the best places to drink outside in...