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:

  • May 9 - Cafe Scientifique: Artmaking for the Environment
    Gilroy's Kitchen + Pub + Patio, 1238 8th St., West Des Moines
    Emily Newman, assistant professor of art and design, Drake University

    From colorful chemical reactions to whimsical microorganisms that thrive unbeknownst to most of us, art and science are intertwined in the natural world.

    Environmental processes are inherently beautiful in their secret systems of order and survival. For artist and educator Emily Newman, art is a key element of being a citizen scientist and global ambassador. With a particular interest in connections between art, science and politics, Newman uses visual art to create dialogue about conservation, climate change and more.

    Join us as we explore how renowned artists and personal projects can inspire you to enact simple changes to reduce your carbon footprint.

  • June 13 - Café Scientifique: Subtle Stressors & Brain Breakdown
    Science Center of Iowa, 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
    Matthew Jefferson, Iowa State University neuroscience student

    Stress does more than disrupt your day — it may damage your brain over time. Over decades, the nervous system reacts to small stressors by slowing down, inhibiting everyday processes that can ultimately lead to Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. We quickly ascribe old age as the ultimate, inevitable cause, but these diseases aren’t spontaneous, and we can proactively prevent them through simple behavioral changes.

    Join us as we explore the basics of the nervous system and how to keep your brain cells healthy and happy as you age.

  • July 11 - Cafe Scientifique - Eye Exam: Exploring Degeneration
    Location: Science Center of Iowa, 401 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway
    Presenters: Bhavika Patel and Lauren Laboissonniere, Ph.D. candidates in neuroscience at Iowa State University

    When you look at something, it’s your retinas that set off a chain reaction that transforms light and color into meaningful pictures. It’s a complicated exchange between our senses, the nervous system and the brain. But what happens when these pathways break down? The degeneration of specific clusters of retinal cells can lead to progressive diseases like glaucoma, distorting images and disrupting life.

    Join us as we explore how one of our fundamental senses, vision, is processed, and how the retina acts as a key point in the lightning-fast transfer of images we’ll remember forever.

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