In the light of the recent reporting of Ash Dieback Disease by the Yorkshire Naturalists Union, who saw it on one of their field trips near Scarborough, this is a very current topic.

To make it clear to visitors to this blog, Cafe Scientifique is an international movement, unconnected with Halifax Scientific Society, but Dean Clough who host Cafe Scientifique in Halifax, are very supportive of the Society, and several of our members attend these lectures. You need to get there early to get a seat; it’s sometimes standing room only at the back.

A CaféScientifique presentation and debate:
Fungi: Friend or Foe?
With Dr. Robin Sen, Manchester Metropolitan University
Wednesday March 11th 2015 at 7:30 pm
The Cooking School Café, Dean Clough, Halifax HX3 5AX
The recent arrival of ash dieback disease caused by a fungus, Chalara fraxinea, has undoubtedly raised public awareness to the destructiveness of members of the fungal kingdom. Agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries have spent large fortunes developing fungicides and fungal antibiotics to protect crop plants, livestock and ourselves from soil borne fungal diseases. Yet these broad-spectrum antifungals lose efficacy over time and are highly toxic to non-target animals and humans because of close inter-kingdom ties between fungi and animals that share a common eukaryotic cell physiology.
I will argue for the need to take a more pro-fungal stance – to fight fire with fire, if you will. The weapon of my choice, among a massive arsenal of beneficial soil fungi, is a fungal group that was not only instrumental in the establishment of land plants over 400 million years ago but now holds urgent promise in driving a new ‘sustainable’ agricultural revolution.
Cafe Scientifique is part of a national array of voluntary talks and debates based on scientific themes to which EVERYONE is welcomed. There is no admission fee, although donations towards the speaker’s expenses are requested at the end of the evening.
Café Scientifique: evening event menu
Food served 6.00 to 7.00pm. Pre-order on 01422 366516  to avoid disappointment or via
Ciabatta Pizzas with mixed salad
Choose from:
• Roasted vegetables and halloumi cheese topped with mozzarella – £6.50
• Slow roasted pulled pork with BBQ sauce, peppers and topped with mozzarella – £6.50
• Spanish chorizo, salami, red onion with mozzarella and black olives – £6.75
Chicken Korma Curry
Served on a bed of boiled rice, accompanied with warm pitta bread and homemade chutneys – £ 7.50
Vegetable Rogan Josh Curry
Served on a bed of boiled rice, with warm Pitta bread and homemade chutneys – £ 7.50
Sharing Platter for two
Onion bhajis, vegetable samosas, lamb koftas, naan bread, olives with mixed salad and fresh yogurt dip – £9.50
Dr. Robin Sen is Reader in Soil Microbial Ecology and Biotechnology at Manchester Metropolitan University. His scientific career began at Rothamsted Experimental Station (now Rothamsted Research) in 1978 he worked with pioneers in soil microbial ecology and plant growth promoting root symbiotic mycorrhizal ecophysiology of crops. From 1987 to 2003, he worked at the University of Helsinki, Finland gaining a Ph.D and Docentship in forest soil microbiology. He went on to establish a forest microbiology research group at the Viikki Biocentre and was later awarded a 5-year Senior Research Fellowship (Academy of Finland). Between 2004-2005, he worked at the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen as a Senior Scientist on forest soil food-web microbiology before taking up a Senior lectureship at MMU.
The next Cafe Scientifique will be on 8th April 2015 at 7:30 pm
Stephen Andrews: “The Science of Arson”
More information on