Saturday, 15 August 2020

Cafe Scientifiques Henley

FIRST of all, we want to say thank you for the kind and understanding replies we had after deferring our Café Sci meetings.

We are not expecting to run any Henley Café Scientifiques in person for the foreseeable future.

Even if rules are relaxed we will need to wait until the venue re-opens for use.

We are suspending donations for the café during this period. We have a reasonable bank balance just in case.

Nevertheless, we would very much like to try to use video conferencing to offer an event at the normal café time (i.e. Wednesdays at 7.30pm), even though we will have to ask those “attending” online to provide their own beer, wine and coffee!

If the shutdown of in-person events lasts for months, we are all going to get used to doing more things remotely and we certainly don’t want to stop our regular discussions.

What we can provide will depend entirely on speakers’ willingness to join in, so please bear with us while we work out the options. So far we have two volunteers.

I’ve been using the conference software option Zoom and plan to try using it for the Henley café.

Zoom allows people to “put their hand up”, or write thoughts/questions into a simultaneous chat and allows us to share slides or images.

Those with very low bandwidth at home can join in just with audio.

For our first attempt we are offering a café with a speaker familiar with the technology and who has expertise in the research area of drug discovery and optimisation, so very topical.

“Repurposing old drugs against new targets: science’s flurry of activity against covid-19” by Rachel Quarrell, fellow dean and lecturer in chemistry, Balliol College, Oxford, is on Wednesday, May 13 from 7.30pm to 9pm.

You can log in at 7pm for a “chat” period from 7pm to 7.30pm when people can try out the software and talk to each other before we get started.

Please register for the meeting in the normal manner and then you will be sent instructions on how to join the event. A test event has been set up for Monday (May 11) so attendees can become familiar with the process if needed.

We will have the routine 15-minute break after the talk for everyone to grab another drink and relax.

The audience will be limited to 97 people on the organiser’s mailing list (plus three) and it will be first come, first served if more than that want to join in.

David Dickie

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