3 Months Before


  • Define the goals for your Science Café.
  • Check out other cafés, in person (check out Find a Café for the café nearest you) or online at Café Stories and Science Cafés in the News.
  • Consider the audience that your café will serve.
  • Develop a budget and consider funding sources as needed.
  • Contact potential sponsors, community groups, and/or partners to generate support for your café.
  • Search for a moderator if you are not going to moderate the café.
  • Choose a venue (visit in person if possible), and set a date and time for the event.
  • Select topics for the first two café events.
  • Name your café and register it (http://sciencecafes.org/register) to join the online community and get access to in-depth information. (You can always change the name later!)

2 Months Before


  • Investigate potential guest scientists for the first two café events.
  • Choose a moderator and confirm his or her participation.
  • Create Facebook and Twitter pages, and/or website for your café.
  • Select guest scientist(s) for the first two events and invite them to present.
  • Consider and plan how you would like to evaluate the cafés.

1 Month Before


  • Consider any audiovisual needs you will have.
  • Develop a promotion plan.
  • Reconfirm date, time, and other arrangements with the venue.
  • Confirm the guest scientist’s availability and participation. Request his or her bio and contact information as well as any links to videos or multimedia (but NOT PowerPoints!)
  • Develop text for email invitations, calendar listings, flyers etc. to promote your café.
  • Share promotional information to partner organizations.
  • Send out online invitations via email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
  • Send out calendar listings to as many online and print publications as possible

1 Week Before


  • Repeat online invitations via email, Facebook, and other social media.
  • Prepare handouts, trivia questions, etc. as needed.
  • Create a survey form and make copies.
  • Check in to verify that the guest scientist is ready, share the schedule, and to help with any last-minute needs or questions.
  • Confirm the schedule with the moderator.
  • Gather all supplies needed for the café, including: audiovisual equipment, sign-in sheet and evaluation forms, pens and pencils, and NOVA scienceNOW DVD.
  • Send out reminder online invitations.
  • Don’t get nervous—get excited instead!

Day of the Cafe


  • Arrive at the venue, arrange the furniture, and set up audiovisual equipment.
  • Check sound levels and cue up the DVD.
  • Make sure any refreshments you’ve arranged will be ready.
  • Introduce the moderator and guest scientist to each other; chat together over drinks or appetizers.
  • Greet early arrivals.
  • Prepare/distribute the sign-in sheet.
  • Let the crowd know that the event will be starting soon.
  • Don’t fret about starting exactly on time, but don’t stray too far from the schedule.