Science Cafés

Our next café will be on Thursday September 26th at 7.30pm

As we hope for an “Indian summer” in September we can be assured a of good evening at our 3rd Science Café of 2019. It brings the usual eclectic mixture of scientific topics delivered in bite-sized chunks for your entertainment. Our traditional trio of speakers will each be given a quarter of an hour with plenty of time for you to quiz them afterwards.

The topics for this café will be:

  • Molecular music: the sound of chemistry
  • Sugar, fat, alcohol… what’s worse for the liver?
    • Dr J. Bernadette Moore, School of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Leeds
    • She will be presenting her recent research on sugar versus fat in non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease pathogenesis
  • Caricatures and Dancing Homers: The maths of shape
    • Dr Kevin Houston, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds
    • Discussing using mathematics to animate shapes to move in time with music. You may have seen Kevin at the Bradford Science Festival on a stall representing MathsWorldUK (dedicated to establishing the first maths museum in the country)
Join us for a relaxed and fun evening of science suitable for all ages and all interests.
The Courthouse bar and cafe will be open for refreshments.


Further information and tickets:

The Science Cafes are held at Otley Courthouse

Tickets are £5, but free for people 18 years old and under though they will still need to get a ticket in the normal way.

You can buy tickets:

  • In person from Otley Courthouse box office, 10am – 4pm Mon-Sat
  • On line from
  • On the door (as long as the event is not sold out)

Otley Courthouse Arts Centre
Courthouse Street
West Yorks
LS21 3AN

01943 467466

You can email Otley Science Festival here:
or follow us on Twitter @otleyscience

September ’17 café follow up: local air pollution

Professor Pilling’s presentation “Air pollution is there a solution?” included a number of links to sites for more information on air pollution in our area and approaches to addressing this problem. Scroll down to find this information.

The June Science Café was held on Thursday 13th

That night the discussions covered:

  • What can dirty teeth tell us about the past
    • Dr Anita Radini, Department of Archaeology, University of York
  • Drowning: how science can help us avoid it.
    • Dr Martin Barwood, School of Social and Health Sciences, Leeds Trinity University
  • Blockchain – What’s all the fuss about?
    • Andy Thomas, CTO, Aprexo Ltd and Codel Ltd

The first Science Café of 2019 was on March 14th

On that evening the sessions covered:

  • Phage Display: why the Nobel prize went viral
    • Dr Christina Rauber, Senior Scientist, Avacta Life Sciences
  • Jumpers for goalposts or is there more to football science?”
    • Prof. Mark Russell, School of Social and Health Sciences, Leeds Trinity University
  • Decontaminating my grandfather’s chemical legacy
    • Prof. Mark Lorch, School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Hull
    • This was a surprising, interesting and entertaining tale of a (literally) dangerous family legacy. If you’d like to read it or share it with friends, you can find it on line here

The final Science Café of 2018 was on November 6th

The topics that evening were:

  • Viruses: what are they and can we stop them?
    • Prof. Mark Harris, Professor of Virology, University of Leeds
  • Pain: An Illusion of Injury?
    • Prof. Mark Johnson, Director of the Centre for Pain Research, Leeds Beckett University
  • Cloudweighing for Beginners
    • Dr Jim McQuaid, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Composition, University of Leeds

The third Science Café of 2018 was on September 20th

On that evening we  covered:

  • How do psychologists decide who to release from prison and can we ever really predict behaviour?
    • Dr Danielle McDermott, Associate Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology, Leeds Trinity University
  • Emley Moor – From Camera to Screen
    • Dr Marty Jopson, TV’s One Show scientist, author and more (a late change of speaker)
  • How to make Smart Cities more human
    • Prof. Alison Heppenstall, School of Geography, University of Leeds

Our summer café was on June 14th…

On this warm evening (remember those long, hot days?) we heard about:

  • SABR – when less is more! (in case you weren’t sure, that’s Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy)
    • Dr Louise Murray, Honorary Consultant Clinical Oncologist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals
  • Gravitational waves: a short introduction to a new kind of astronomy
    • Dr Sue Bowler, Royal Astronomical Society
  • Bringing Soft Matter Physics to Life
    • Dr Mike Ries, Soft Matter Physics Research Group, University of Leeds

In the picture below, clockwise from the top left, Dr Sue Bowler introducing the gravitational waves Nobel prize winners; Dr Louise Murray answering questions on Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy; Sue’s question time being managed by Marty Jopson and Dr Mike Ries about to demonstrate the remarkable properties soft body physics properties of cornflower in water (without mess!).

June 18 Science Cafe Composite


In our March 8th 2018 Cafe we covered:

  • Performing a surgery on a single cell
    • Dr Paolo Actis, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Leeds
  • Putting the brakes on brain tumours
    • Dr Anke Brüning-Richardson, Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology, St James’ Hospital
  • Mathematical recipes for never-repeating quasicrystals
    • Dr Priya Subramanian, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds

We held four Science Cafes in 2017:

Wednesday 8th November at 7.30pm

The subjects were:

  •  Working with the ISS and CERN technology at school – How did we spot NASA’s mistake?
    • James O’Neill, The Institute for Research In Schools Northern Hub, Tapton School, Sheffield
  • Coral reefs as sentinels for climate change
    • Dr Maria Beger, Priestley International Centre for Climate Change, University of Leeds
  •  Science Beyond “Science”: A new way of looking at the everyday
    • Rosemary Robinson, Explainer, National Science & Media Museum, Bradford

Thursday 14th September at 7.30pm

Where our speakers addressed:

  • Is the mobile phone finished?
    • Dr Des McLernon, School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Univ. of Leeds
  • Air pollution is there a solution?
    • Prof M.J. Pilling C.B.E., Emeritus Professor, School of Chemistry, Univ. of Leeds
  • The Archaeogenetics of Modern Human Origins
    • Prof. Martin Richards, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Huddersfield

Some photos of the event can be found in an album on our Facebook page here

Professor Pilling provided the following links related to local air quality issues for us to share here.

Thursday 22nd June at 7.30pm

The discussions covered…

  • Immunity in a test tube; engineering Biology for better health
    • Dr Paul Ko Ferrigno – CEO metaLinear Ltd
  • Why Schrödinger’s Cat Is Hard to Understand: The Physics of Quantum Information
    • Prof Ben Varcoe – School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds
  • Exercise and arthritis: a painful story or healthy relationship?
    • Dr Antonios Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou – Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University

Some photos of the event can be found in an album on our Facebook page here

Thursday 2nd March 2017 at 7:30pm

Topics were…

  • Fighting Cancer with Fizz and Pop
    • Prof Richard Bushby – School of Chemistry, University of Leeds
  • What makes You, You – Stories of Genetics and Human Identity
    • Jonathan Roberts – Welcome Trust Sanger Institute
  • Advances in veterinary diagnostics – from two legs to four and back again
    • Dr Kevin Slater – Avacta Animal Health Limited

Some photos of the event can be found in an album on our Facebook page here

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