The Format

The usual format is for the evening’s talk is to begin with at 8pm with a 20 minute ( or so..) presentation from the speaker, outlining the key issues they wish to discuss.  There is then a brief comfort break (again normally just 20 minutes) when members can socialize, refresh their drinks, lobby the speaker etc. This is followed by a Question and Answer session, when members of the audience can quiz the speaker.  This part of the evening usually lasts over an hour. We tend to wind up around 10pm - though many people stay on to talk.

This second part of the evening is chaired, primarily to take that pressure off the speaker; but also to ensure that all who wish to can get a chance to ask questions. Questions can be sympathetic or challenging. For the “audience etiquette”, see below. 
A more standard lecture format would normally give the speaker up to an hour to state their case, and then leave a little time for questions, this reversed format is therefore unusual; but we have found that it provides an exceptionally lively discussion.

However, this is an intelligent, articulate, well-informed group of people with knowledge of their own.  So, once or twice a season, we experiment with other formats which allow all the members more opportunity to share their own ideas.  One such is the “Hadron Collider for Ideas”.  Another successful innovation this season was the “Listening Post”. You can listen to an explanation of the Hadron, and one or two examples, via the Archive section.

Audience Etiquette

There are no membership rules as such for the Cage Sci.  In fact, there is no actual membership; people just come along. But there are things that work, when trying to run a discussion with speakers and an intelligent audience.

For example, the chair for the evening has the task of trying to ensure that everyone who wishes to has a chance to ask a question.  This may sometimes mean interrupting a very long question; or intercepting, if one questioner wants to ask many questions in a row.

Other than that, the “rules” are little more than common courtesy.  Our speakers have gone out of their way, unpaid, to be here – some may have travelled some long distance – and surely deserve some respect, even if you wish to disagree with them. Turn off your phone

Why we ask for a contribution to costs

The Nottingham Café Sci is entirely self-funding.  We do not seek or accept subsidy from any source, other than our own time.  We are not charged for the venue, since we bring in custom ( therefore please do buy a drink, as it is our way of saying thanks..); and we pay speaker’s expenses but no other fee.  Nevertheless, some speakers do come some distance, and to pay their travel and other expenses means that we do need income.