Skip to content

Cafe Scientifique

cafe scientifique

You are cordially invited to come and chat with a scientist about an interesting and/or controversial science topic.  Patterned after the International Cafe Scientifique, the Science Department has initiated an outreach program to promote public interest in science.
Our goal is simply to have regularly scheduled sessions for informal discussions of scientific topics.

Schuler Books & Music
Eastwood Towne Center
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 7:00pm

Artificial Life, Open-Ended Evolution, and the Origins of Biological Complexity

A grand challenge in evolutionary biology is to understand how populations evolve from simple, single-celled organisms to the complex plants and animals we see in the world today. Darwin himself recognized the difficulty of explaining the origins of traits of "extreme perfection and complication" such as the vertebrate eye, but provided profound insights into the process. Dr. Charles Ofria will discuss research where we study populations of digital organisms as they evolve new, complex traits and behaviors in computational environments. He will illustrate processes wherein evolution accumulates genetic information to produce simple traits that are ultimately used as building blocks for higher levels of biological complexity. In the natural world, of course, many other factors are at play promoting diversity and complexity. We will also discuss how ecological interactions promote more rapid complexity growth (including co-evolution and competition for multiple limited resources), and explain the steps that we are taking in an attempt to build artificial life systems that are as rich and open-ended as nature.

Schuler Books & Music
Eastwood Towne Center
Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 7:00pm

The Sun: our neighborhood nuclear reactor.

The Sun is the ultimate source of all our energy. It is the perfect thermonuclear reactor. It can also be very violent -- disrupting our communications and electric supply here on Earth and harming astronauts in space. How violent is the Sun? What makes it violent? What keeps the Sun stable over millennia? How does the Sun produce its heat? How does that heat get to us? Join us with Dr. Bob Stein as we will explore the Sun, our neighborhood, safe nuclear reactor.

Previous Cafe Scientifique Topics

Please join us.  If you have any questions, please contact Alan O'Keefe by phone at (517) 483-1110 or e-mail at

Science at Lansing Community College

Science Department
Arts & Sciences Building, Room 301
Phone: (517) 483-1092
Additional contact information »