Southern California Science Café Membership Increases by Factor of 10 in Six Months

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The membership of the group, Southern California Science Café, grows explosively as a wellspring of Orange County public interest in science reveals itself.

How do scientists work? What implications do their discoveries have? What impact do those discoveries have upon culture, and society? In its second six-month period in existence, the membership of the new public science outreach group, Southern California Science Café, has exploded. This points to perhaps a wellspring of public interest in science and technology -- and its impact on society -- in Orange County.

Founded in March 2005 with 1 member, the Science Café aims to bring science to the public in a way that makes sense to them, and in a comfortable, non-initimidating setting, such as the local bookstore, restaurant, or bar.

Now, almost 12 months later, the local branch of a national Science Café network has over 100 members, with a factor-of-10 growth in the previous six months, and new people joining The Science Café even today.

"It's incredible, and -- while it's still a little early to tell, this points to an interest in science, and in how scientists work, among the public," says Science Café director, Brian Hart. Hart is a fourth-year graduate student studying astrophysics at UC Irvine. Continues Hart, "The public is genuinely interested in what science is, as an enterprise, and how scientists work, and they want to know more. In September, Science Cafe had 10 members. Now, six months to the day, we have 114."

Other recent highlights include: The recent receipt of funding from the producers of PBS' "NOVA" series, and major funding from the Schools of Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. NOVA has given Science Cafe a special grant, to be used in partnership with KOCE -- Orange County's local PBS station -- to carry on sharing the latest science discoveries with the public in a comfortable Cafe place.

Join us for more as the Science Café and its participants, now numbering 114 as of today, February 12, 2006, continue on our journey of discovery! Join us at http://www.socal-sciencecafe.org/.

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