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 at Herman's Wohnzimmer 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.

Nexte Cafés Scientifiques

From Brain to Behavior

Monday 2 September  2019, 7 p.m. at Herman's Wohnzimmer

with Gagan Narula from the insitute of Neuroinformatics, ETH & UZH

Connecting behavioral learning in songbirds to how the brain encodes information:
Songbirds such as the Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) are an excellent model species to study the neuroscience of complex, natural behavior. They are the preferred animal model for studying vocal learning, i.e. the process by which animals acquire the vocabulary of vocalizations produced by the adults of their species. Young songbirds begin "babbling" just like human infants, and develop species specific, structured vocalizations as they grow older. In his talk, Dr. Narula will describe some cool findings from the song learning literature and what kind of problems scientists are interested in. Songbirds are also a highly social species, and during his doctoral research Dr. Narula showed how they can learn to solve complex acoustic tasks by observing each other perform them. His results have implications for both animal and human social learning. Finally, if time permits, the talk will briefly describe more abstract, computational roles played by neuronal circuits in the brain and how they relate to such behaviors as singing and cognitive problem solving.

Gagan Narula is an Indian national and a post-doctoral researcher working at the Neurocritical Care Unit at the University Hospital Zurich. His current research focus is on time series forecasting and unsupervised learning in physiological signals. Gagan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and a PhD in Neuroscience from the Institute of Neuroinformatics, ETH Zurich. He has over five years of experience in statistical analysis, cognitive science and machine learning.