The Alchemist Café – A Scientific Hub

Do you want to know more about the latest advances in Solar Energy conversion as a low-cost energy source? Do you want to catch up on the latest developments in Nanotechnology Applications and on their impact on the environment?

The Alchemist Café Dublin is a forum for scientific debate and enlightenment that meets in the Mercantile Hotel on Dame Street, (opposite the Central Bank).

Gatherings normally take place starting at 8pm on the first Tuesday or Wednesday of each month, members of the public are welcomed and there is no cover charge. For the price of a coffee or a pint, anyone can attend and explore the latest ideas in the fast-changing world of science and technology.

The meetings are held outside the traditional academic context to encourage public engagement with science and to make science and scientists more accessible. The gatherings are more relaxed and informal than the traditional public lecture and the diverse audiences have one thing in common– an interest in science.

Each event begins with a guest speaker (a scientist or science writer), giving a short talk on the evening’s subject, followed by an hour-long question and answer session with the public.

The Alchemist Café is part of a Europe-wide organisation called ‘Cafe Scientifique’ which began in Leeds in 1998, with the objective of promoting science in a fun way amongst the general public. It soon spread to other cities across the UK and Europe and the Dublin branch certainly seems to be thriving.

At the last meeting in July, Dr Steven Sullivan gave a talk on the use of stem cells for human therapy, cell replacement, drug screening and disease modelling. Currently a controversial and emotive branch of technology, Dr Sullivan highlighted common misconceptions concerning stem cell research in the media.

Rumours abound that the true agenda of this research is human reproductive cloning and human farming, whereas the stated mission of most researchers is to serve patients who suffer from a wide range of currently incurable diseases and injuries. Such patients stand to benefit from treatments being developed through stem cell research.

Dr Sullivan also addressed the broader problem of the decline of fact-based science journalism and the rise of unsubstantiated blogging and the particular problem this represents to medical decision-making in general and those involving stem cell therapy in particular.

The special characteristics of stem cells, what the different types of stem cells are, and how they are being used to treat human disease were all discussed.

The Alchemist Café Dublin is free and anyone can turn up on the night. It is a non-profit organisation and the speakers do not get paid a fee.

Check out for details of coming gatherings



Photos from The Alchemist Cafe



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