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Durham University News



Stockton Café Scientifique Season launches

(20 September 2005)

After a very successful two seasons of talks and discussions aimed at engaging the local community in conversation about current issues in science and technology, Stockton Café Scientifique announces its third series of monthly conversations.

Stockton Café Scientifique is one of a growing network of Cafés Scientifiques throughout the UK and Europe aimed at bringing together a range of specialist speakers and the general public in a relaxed café setting. It is a project of John Snow College, one of the University of Durham's two colleges at Queen's Campus, Stockton, with the support of 'Arc' and the Stockton Residents' & Community Groups Association.

The new programme of monthly conversations starts on Tuesday 20 September with Eric Middleton on ‘Science and the Spirit’. Eric will take us from the awe and wonder of science today to the joy of experiencing the spiritual. From cosmology, the ‘Big Bang’, black holes, the mysteries and paradoxes of quantum theory, through superstrings and the M-theory of everything in eleven dimensions, to our hunger for spiritual dimensions and our awareness of the supernatural. The conversation is exploring a language for describing the indescribable in the interface between physics, philosophy and theology.

Eric was formerly Principal of Prior Pursglove College. With higher degrees from Cambridge and Durham Universities, he has worked and taught as a scientist and teacher, was a boxer, plays the violin, is a counsellor and qualified theologian and is currently involved with healing. His book ‘The New Flatlanders’ arose from his students' challenges in science and faith.

The September session of Café Scientifique takes place at The Point in the Arc, Dovecot Street, Stockton, starting at 7.45pm for 8pm.

Other speakers lined up in the Café Scientifique programme which runs from September 2005 until July 2006 include Dick Bird from Northumbria University on Chaos and Evolution and Paula Chadwick of Durham University on extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life.

Details of the full programme for Café Scientifique are available at

All sessions are free although those attending are invited to make a small contribution to cover costs.

Martin Dancey, Development Officer at John Snow College, Queen’s Campus, Stockton, said: “The whole aim of Café Scientifique is to give people from all walks of life and all age groups a chance to think about how science and technology impacts on all aspects of life. It is done in an informal and relaxed atmosphere with all the jargon and technical talk stripped away. We want to encourage more people from within Stockton and surrounding communities to come along and join in the discussions.”

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