The Fat Frogg gets a makeover once a month and is turned into a gathering place for the community to learn about modern science without the jargon that lulled them to sleep in high school physics.
Alamance County’s science cafe, called Tectonic Plates, meets the second Tuesday of every month and was developed from a relatively new concept of science cafes, according to Dave Gammon, associate professor of biology. It seeks to make science accessible and engaging, he said.
“Science is one of the biggest drivers of the economy, of improving our standards of living and of providing meaning for important issues,” said Gammon. “But the general public is too often fearful of science or do not see its relevance in their personal lives.”
Tectonic Plates was designed to engage the community in the spring of 2012, according to Gammon. He said he believes the science cafe hasn’t yet taken off locally yet, but said he feels as though science cafes are gaining popularity nationally.
“I would love to get people to come who don’t consider themselves science people,” Gammon said. “Overall, I think our society would be better off if scientists spent more time interacting with the general public and the general public spent more time interacting with science.”
The name of the cafe came down to combining the image of meeting at a restaurant while still maintaining a scientific edge.
“Periodic Tables was already taken by a science cafe in Durham, so it came down to either Tectonic Plates or Molecule Meals,” Gammon said. “About a year ago, I took an informal poll of every scientist I could find in McMichael, and Tectonic Plates won.”
The Fat Frogg was picked as the location for the science cafe because it provided a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere for the community to gather in, Gammon said.
The October session’s gathering concerned the economy, and is the second in a series of four events this semester. The next event is Nov. 13 and will cover the exploitation of the Mayan calendar with a talk by Tony Crider, associate professor of physics at Elon.
Professor Gammon is seeking to get even more community members involved with the science cafe. He is taking suggestions for the Dec. 11 session of Tectonic Plates.