Café Scientifique

A Café Scientifique is a forum, where for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can participate in the discussion of current scientific issues in the relaxing, informal setup of a Café!

The Cafés Scientifiques are organized by Dr. Sahar El Khoury and Life Science Zurich and supported by Science et Cité. They take place in general once a month in Zürich.

How does it work?

  • A Café Scientifique starts with conversations in small groups about the topic to break the ice, fill the glasses, and concretize our knowledge about the subject.
  • Afterwards, there is a short talk (usually about 15/20 min) by an expert speaker.
  • This is followed by approximately half an hour of questions and answers and general discussion.

What subjects will be discussed ? Any scientific subject that is of interest to the general public.

Who are the invited speakers? The invited speakers are researchers from UZH/ETHZ.

Small(er) plastics, big(ger) problems?


Café Scientifique on 11 July 2022 with Prof. Denise Mitrano, ETH

The ubiquitous presence of plastic in the environment is undeniable and thus it’s no surprise that scientists measure the accumulation of macroplastic litter and microplastic fragments in both urban and remote sites. The different physical and chemical characteristics of the different size classes of plastic pollution (macroplastic, microplastic and nanoplastic) will result in divergent fate and hazards. Environmental nanoscientists try to place nanoplastic in the context of global plastic pollution by assessing its source and risk, and also by assessing commonalities nanoplastics may share with other nano-sized objects in environmental systems, such as engineered nanomaterials. Restrictions on the intentional use of primary microplastics are under discussion globally, despite uncertain microplastic hazards and prioritization amongst options for action. Policy must carefully evaluate under which contexts microplastic use may be warranted and where incentives to replace certain microplastics can stimulate innovation of new, more competitive and environmentally conscious materials.

This talk by Prof. Mitrano aims at sharing the latest understanding of the implications of nano- and micro plastics in the environment and providing information to make more sound and sustainable choices in relation to plastic use and waste management.


More information and registration here