Cafe Scientifique

On the second Tuesday of each month, the Science Center of Iowa invites the community to join the conversation!

Café Scientifique is a FREE science-based program for adults and young adults. Each event begins with an introduction and background of the topic by the featured presenter and concludes with an open forum for questions and discussion.

"Café Sci" events are happening all over the world – with leaders in science and technology engaging audiences in discussion around meaningful and relevant topics in an informal setting.

Café Sci events take place on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30-7:00 pm. Locations vary.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming Cafe Sci events:

  • February 14 - Cafe Scientifique: Immunization Investigation
    Gilroy's, 1238 8th St, West Des Moines
    Presenter: Dr. Nathan Boonstra, general pediatrician, Blank Children's Pediatric Clinic

    Vaccines have eradicated a laundry list of common diseases, reducing once-deadly illnesses to common acronyms like MMR and DTaP. But why doesn’t everyone wear the post-vaccination Band-Aid like a badge of health and safety? As myths circulate surrounding the effectiveness of vaccines and their side effects, some patients opt out of the basic list of childhood immunizations, putting their children and others at risk. Besides preventing disease in individuals, vaccines likewise protect communities by stopping the spread of disease, even to those who aren’t vaccinated.

    Join us as we explore how vaccines work from the biological basics to the social impact, and debunk the common myths surrounding childhood immunizations.

  • March 14 - Cafe Scientifique - Radioactive Dishes: Art and the Atom
    Gilroy's, 1238 8th St, West Des Moines
    Peter Shellenberger, artist

    For artist Peter Shellengerber, radiation is his paint. His edgy, surreal photography process begins with radioactive dishware from the ‘30s and ‘40s. (Yep, you read that right.) At that time, the popular Fiestaware dishes featured a red-orange glaze that was made with uranium oxide, the same material used in the atomic bomb. Eighty-some years later, those dishes are still radioactive – and that’s where Shellenberger’s art comes in.

    Join SCI and Peter Shellenberger as we explore the intersection of history, science and art and see his incredible nuclear art.

RSVP encouraged to

About Cafe Sci:

  • Events are free to the general public; Coffee, beverages or appetizers are usually available for purchase
  • Many events are held off-site at restaurants, cafes and other venues
  • No scientific background is necessary, just an interest in the topic at hand
  • All ages are welcome but content is geared for adults and young adults
  • Click here for a library of previous Cafe Sci events

Interested in presenting a topic or hosting an event? Inquire at or (515) 274-6868 ext. 234