Monday, May 28, 2012

How to find science near you


By DXS Chemistry Editor Adrienne Roehrich

For scientists, finding science going on nearby seems to not be an issue. If they don’t wish to spend time in their own lab, they can generally walk down the hall to speak to a colleague. But to those who don’t know scientists in their daily lives (or don’t think they know scientists), finding a place to discuss your interests in science can be a daunting task.

Where can you find like-minded people to discuss science? There are a number of local groups in any location that may help you satisfy your science craving.

The big one, Science Online, is an annual meeting in North Carolina of scientists, science educators, science communicators, and science enthusiasts. The next meeting (in 2013 as of the writing of this post) has a planning wiki up, and a Twitter account. Science Online has spawned several local science online groups. According to the Science Online Now site, NYC, Seattle, Vancouver, and the Bay Area are having regular meetings, and tweet-ups occur in NYC, DC, and NC Tri-Cities area. There are also two conferences, one for teens in NC, and one in London.

Another way to get your science fill is to attend a “science café.” Science cafés are live events, usually hosting scientists to speak in a pub, coffee, shop, or other gathering spot, to discuss nifty science. These are not just oral presentations, they are also discussions. There’s not a state in the union without one of these events, although many occur in the more highly populated areas. may be a place to see if there is a science group meeting near you. However, you must have a meetup account to view these possibilities, and a search for “science” may get you a lot of woo, too.

Maybe you aren’t looking for a discussion, but a place to do some hands-on science. Science Centers exist all over the world. Some are geared for children, but some include adults (and I enjoy playing with the kids science activities as an adult.) A listing as of 1999 exists here. However, googling “science centers” and your location (or a location you are visiting) will hopefully provide a more up-to-date result. Please comment if you know if another way for someone to find science near them.


  1. University Open House events like the one we just had at Simon Fraser University are great places to meet scientists and tour labs etc... Another option is the Family Science Days event held as part of the AAAS meeting every year.

  2. Conveniently, Bora Zivkovic posted an update on Science Online activities at Scientific American Blogs