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Feature

The exterior of the Kitty Cat Klub.

Kick back and get your mind going for lively discussions with University scientists at the Kitty Cat Klub.

Hard science meets happy hour: The Bell Museum and its Cafe Scientifique

The Bell Museum and its Cafe Scientifique

Published on September 10, 2004

Gertrude Stein and Madame de Stael move over. The new salon mavens are University scientists and the Kitty Cat Klub is their drawing room of choice. The Bell Museum brings U experts out of the lab for Cafe Scientifique, a series of lively discussions and challenging conversations about science and popular culture set in the hip theatricality of Dinkytown's most intriguing spot.

On one Tuesday evening a month this fall, any interested person over 18 (the club serves liquor) is invited to engage in a thought-provoking discussion with some of the brightest minds at the University. The salon, a centuries-old forum for learned and entertaining talk, has been revived through an international grassroots movement called Cafe Scientifique. All over the world, people are gathering in bars and cafes to talk about science and the Bell is introducing the concept to Minnesota.

On Tuesday, September 14, at 6 p.m., Packer will talk about his adventures in the Serengeti where, using dummy lions in wigs, he discovered the secret of a male lion's sex appeal.

"Science tends to be pretty dry sometimes and it's hard to have a lively exchange in a museum setting," says Kevin Williams, Bell Museum curator. "With Cafe Scientifique, we don't want to be purely entertaining--that's not who the Bell is--but on the neutral ground of the Kitty Cat Klub, conversations can be spontaneous and informal."

Lion researcher Craig Packer, professor in the department of ecology, evolution and behavior, is the first invited speaker. On Tuesday, September 14, at 6 p.m., Packer will talk about his adventures in the Serengeti where, using dummy lions in wigs, he discovered the secret of a male lion's sex appeal. On October 12, less than one month before the election, guest scientists will discuss some of the scientific issues at stake in the upcoming race, as well as how politics affects things like stem cell research. Murder and mystery are the topics when forensics experts shed light on the science of solving crimes on November 16.

Cafe Scientifique is free and open to the public. The Kitty Cat Club is in Dinkytown at 315 14th Avenue S.E., one block from the University's Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis. For a complete list of scheduled speakers, visit the Bell Museum. For more information, call the Bell Museum at (612) 624-9050.

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