café scientifique

Next Meeting:

Monday 13th May 2019
“Drifting Plates and Shifting Boundaries:
What 50 years of Plate Tectonics tells us about planet Earth”
By Sue Bowler
(in conjunction with Headingley Festival of Ideas)

The late 1960s saw a revolution in the geosciences, as plate tectonics rapidly became the accepted paradigm for understanding the evolution of the ocean floor, in terms of rigid plates with boundaries characterised by earthquakes and volcanoes. Data – topographic, seismic, magnetic – drove the changes; the new instruments that collected it came, paradoxically, from both warfare and international collaboration. The result was that geophysics became a global science, as it remains today. Plate tectonics remains a powerful framework for understanding the movements of the Earth’s surface and the hazards they bring to human life, but the nature of plate boundaries on the continents – where most people live – continues to be challenging. Overall plate tectonics gives us a framework for understanding Earth as a planet and comparing it to other planets that might – or might not – hold life.


Sue Bowler always wanted to be an astronaut. She watched the Apollo moon landings on tv and assumed that astronauts would soon walking on the other planets in our solar system. After a short stint working as an astronomer at the Royal Greenwich Observatory at Herstmonceux, Sue went to Cambridge University and discovered geosciences, including plate tectonics. She came to Leeds University to research the way that thrust faults make orogenic mountain belts, using field examples from Scotland and the Alps. Then ran away to join the circus, joining New Scientist magazine as Earth Sciences Editor, commissioning and editing articles on everything out to the heliopause. Sue has been editing science magazines ever since, notably the fellows magazine of the Royal Astronomical Society, Astronomy & Geophysics. She also taught for 20 years in the Schools of Earth and Environment and Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, where she is now a Visiting Research Fellow. 




About Café Scientifique

Café Scientifique is a place where people can meet to hear eminent speakers on all things scientific. The events are extremely popular with lively discussion and informative talks. Topics are always relevant, cutting edge and up-to-date. They are often taken from a wider global discussion.

All are welcome. The Café is held at The New Headingley Club on St Michael’s Road.

For information on topics please check back here for updates or for more information see the e-newsletter or the HDT newsletter.

To be added to the Café Scientifique mailing list please fill out the online form opposite.


Click here for details of previous talks

Coming soon:

Monday 13th May
Drifting Plates and Shifting Boundaries: What 50 years of plate tectonics tells us about planet Earth
By Sue Bowler
(in conjunction with Headingley Festival of Ideas)

Monday 10th June
Chasing Unicorns in Paradise: Making space for nature in our cities
By Christopher Hassall

Monday 8th July
Live Viruses for the Treatment of Cancer
By Adel Samson

No Meeting in August


what's on

  • Projects and Events

    HDT Projects and EventsVisit page

  • Headingley Open Gardens

    Sunday April 28th - A chance to view local gardensVisit page

  • Headingley Festival of Ideas

    Headingley Festival of Ideas - 9-25 MayVisit page

  • Farmers Market

    Sat 11th May 2019Visit page

  • Café Scientifique

    Mon 13th May - Drifting Plates and Shifting Boundaries - 50 years of Plate Tectonics (with HFoI)Visit page

  • Films at HEART

    To be confirmedVisit page

  • Zero Carbon Headingley

    Dates to be confirmedVisit page

  • Talking Heads

    To be confirmedVisit page

@HDTHeadingley on Twitter

additional info

7:30pm – 9:30pm

New Headingley Club
56 St Michael’s Road
Tel: 0113 2757712 (for info. on venue)

Entry £3

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