Secret Science Nights

… might make science a little less secret. Imagine going to a rock club (yes, suburbanites, people do actually leave their homes in the evening) maybe a little earlier than a show usually starts. You line up outside the door with generally the same kinds of people you usually see, plus a few others that you might not. You get inside, get a drink, but instead of noticing the first act’s gear set-up on stage, there’s a screen with a podium in front, maybe the little apple is already glowing. Then a bearded fellow comes on stage, fires up his power point and starts bouncing around the periodic table or conjuring Pleistocene megafauna to the all-too-interested gathering. It could happen.

The crowd is young and hip, mostly in their 20s and 30s, eager to gain entry to tonight’s hot-ticket entertainment event. Once the doors open, about 50 lucky people secure chairs, while another 50 stand four-deep around the room, and another 50 are gently turned away at the door.

“This is the third time I haven’t made it in,” a disappointed young woman sighs.

A mixtape of music plays through the speakers and the audience sips drinks from plastic cups while waiting for the featured act to begin. It won’t be the latest indie band, or an up-and-coming comedian. This is not the typical New York club scene. This is the monthly meeting of the Secret Science Club.

Really… what’s the answer to a disinterested/confused populace but making science more available and accessible? Particularly within in the confines of a nightclub. It might turn dull really quickly, but who’s fault would that be? The ‘nerdy’ connection in the article is unnecessary, as is the strict limitation to science (you could just as well sneak in some secret philosophy). But now is when we need to mix it up (in a pugilistic sense) the most, and especially if there is a stock supply of expertise in your town that goes home in the evenings just to sit at home and watch cable. Create a venue and they might come.

Bonus: would there be any side benefits to academicians facing a pop audience? Knowledge-as-power flows in both directions.