Science Café opens to a packed crowd at Frank and Joe’s

Jonathan Price talks to children about how volcanic rocks are formed at Science Cafe on Sept. 14. Photo by Brittany Hill.

There was not an empty seat in sight as the College of Science and Mathematics kicked off the beginning of the Science Café with a huge success at Frank and Joe’s Coffee House on Sept. 14.

“This is way better than what we were expecting. We were expecting maybe a couple dozen people and we have more than 60 here today,” Margaret Brown Marsden, dean of science and mathematics, said.

Marsden and others discussed topics such as volcanic rocks, how volcanic rocks are formed and the way algorithms work and are used.

“It’s really cool to introduce something like this to the community, especially the little kids. It shows them that it’s okay to ask questions and to learn about the world and science,” Courtney Kohl, history sophomore, said.

Although organizers created the event with every age group in mind, it was young, home-schooled children who seemed to enjoy it the most.

Krystal Curry, a mother of two home-schooled boys, said, “We came because we saw the post on Facebook and we’re just huge rock nerds. It’s nice to have things to do like this for children within the home-school community.”

Curry was not the only parent with this sentiment. Kristina Pidell, a mother who also brought her two home-schooled children to the café, also enjoyed the event for what it gives the children.

“It is wonderful having the opportunity to hear from a concentrated expert on things that can help to excite the kids in the areas that they are engaged in,” Pidell said. “We will absolutely come back for the next one.”

Preet Sharma, assistant professor of physics, helped to develop the series. He said, while it is intended for all ages, the children get the most benefits out of it as it teaches them to begin asking questions.

“Ask questions because who knows if someone has told you something and it is wrong. And to completely accept that, you carry it for all your life,” Sharma said, “Questions, questions, questions. I always thought that if you put an idea in the public, it’s okay if they don’t understand everything. Today, we talked about algorithms – that’s a big word – but we are in the mode of asking questions. It starts and eventually it keeps on going for the rest of your life.”

The organizers of the event also provided 50 free drink tickets and 50 special edition T-shirts made with the Frank and Joe’s logo worn by the staff at Frank and Joe’s and given away to attendees.

The success of the first café meant that the faculty can try many other events, according to Marsden.

“This absolutely makes us more excited for the future. What I would like to do is bring out more topics that people may be interested in,” Marsden said. “Hopefully we can get engineering out here to talk, maybe some biology and also computer science.”

Marsden said she wants to make the Science Café a monthly occurrence.