Greetings ASCers,

A little bit of forgotten history from the time I was working on Science in the Pub. Thought it might be of interest to members at this time of such excitement for science and the world.

The following is an extract from the report I wrote for the ASC on our return from Europe:

Science in the Pub goes International for the PCST2001 in Geneva

The Geneva session, 'HEP colliding with GDP' was a real hit. It starred two Australian physicists working in CERN: Dr Leanne Guy and Dr Emmanuel Tsesmelis, both originally from Melbourne, and a mad Irish science journalist-cum-academic, Dr Brian Trench, who played the role of the 'bloke in the pub'. He was brilliant. Alf Conlon did a sterling job on compering, dressed in the appropriate and very colourful 'Australian beer tree shirt' and Michelle Riedlinger (ASC Brisbane) stirred the audience into action.  Foster's (Europe) provided free beef for all - 40 slabs, in fact. This went down well with the 130 or so audience as they worked out whether Switzerland and the rest of Europe could support such expensive High Energy Particle research at a time when the introduction of the Euro is unsettling the economy. There was some pretty well lubricated and animated discussion. Meanwhile our Swiss colleagues who insisted they wouldn't been seen dead drinking Aussie beer actually admitted to enjoying it. They seemed to have enjoyed quite a volume!

Comments from Marina Joubert on CERN session

You achieved something enormous at the PCST meeting with your real live Science in the Pub - showing how science communication can break out of conservative barriers and really come to life with a fantastic vibe and super edutainment value. I'm really so sorry that I could not see the whole event, but even the part that I could attend was fantastic. I have been telling everyone here about it as the highlight of the conference. I really do hope that we will be able to bring your production to the PCST 2002 in Cape Town. How did you go about getting the funding to take it to CERN???

Marina Joubert Corporate Communication Manager NATIONAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION -, PRETORIA, 0001, SOUTH AFRICA

From Neil Calder, Head of Publicity and Press, CERN

The outstanding event of the 2000 PCST conference at CERN in Geneva was  "Science in the Pub" organised by Robyn Stutchbury and generously sponsored by Fosters Lager. After 3 days of largely academic discussion on science communication it was so refreshing to have a demonstration of how to do it!  An Australian pub atmosphere was created in CERN's main restaurant with singers, guitar players, an in-your-face Aussie compere and plenty of  Fosters to facilitate intellectual exchange! In the centre two physicists who were interviewed by an aggressive journalist who asked all  the questions which scientists dread. "How much does it cost? What! You could inoculate half of India with that money." "So you produce nothing useful, why should our taxes be wasted on this rubbish?"  Ouch!

Science communicators do not ask each other these sorts of questions.

"Science in the Pub" made such an impact on the conference because it reminded delegates that out there are a lot of people who do not support science, who have valid questions and worries. If we are unable to answer such questions then our own credibility is in doubt.

So bravo Australia for bringing entertainment and a slightly chilling breeze of reality to the conference. And thanks to Fosters for all the  beer!


Robyn Stutchbury

1 Carisbrook Street
Lane Cove NSW 2066

Phone/Fax: 612 9427 6747
Mobile: 0438 4119 67