Science Café at Discovery generally takes place in the Town Center of the Discovery Building. Attendees can settle in and order a cup of coffee, snack or even dinner from Steenbock’s on Orchard during the conversation. Guests aged 21 years and up also can enjoy a glass of wine or beer. The science café is free and open to the public, with the exception of food or beverage purchases.

What is a Science Café?

Science cafés are live grassroots events held in casual settings like coffeehouses and pubs that are open to everyone, organized locally and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist on a particular topic. Science cafés have been held in communities across the globe for years.

To learn more, visit

Who Should Attend?

Everyone! Science cafés are free and open to the public. No prior scientific knowledge is needed, so anybody can participate.

What Would I Do at a Science Café?

Science cafés start with a presentation by a scientist or group of scientists about the evening’s topic. Then the conversation about the topic begins. A science café is not a formal lecture—audience members are encouraged to ask questions and participate in the discussion. 

At the café, you might order a snack, listen to various perspectives on the topic and share your thoughts with others in the audience.

What Could I Learn About?

Past topics include:

  • De-extinction: Back to the future?
  • Building an inventor
  • Who drives the madness?
  • Who sciences harder?
  • Sugar, sugar, everywhere, even in your genes
  • Hope, fear and climate science
  • A world without antibiotics
  • The future of fuel
  • What a winter…summer…can we expect more years like 2012?
6:00 pm
June 21
Orchard View Room

Human Gene Editing: Moving from Science Fiction to Reality

This science cafe is open to the public. Registration is requested. Cash bar and appetizers start at 5:30 p.m., and the interactive discussion begins at 6.

As gene editing techniques become more refined, the possibility of editing the human genome is moving from science fiction to reality. What should we do with this power? Many in the scientific community are calling for strict regulations on the use of this technology, while others are excited about the possibilities. Should we create babies who will never know disease? Should we stick to smaller changes, like lowering the rates of breast cancer by eliminating mutations? Or should we call for society to ban human gene editing? Join the conversation led by Kris Saha (biomedical engineering and medical history & bioethics) and moderated by Dan Murphy (Morgridge Institute). This event is part of a national conversation taking place in more than 30 sites across the country.

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Science Café at Discovery is supported by the Morgridge Institute for Research, UW–Madison and WARF.

Did you miss one of our science cafés?

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