Dr Alistair Ruffell and Prof. John Barry of Queen's University Belfast join us to discuss Fracking. This time we'll be in the larger main space in the Black Box, so bring your friends and family! As always the event is free.

For the world’s largest economy, the shale gas revolution has solved two of the United States socio-political problems of the late 20th Century: the dominance of the Middle East in energy supply and dwindling homeland oil and gas resources. Could this be a model for the rest of the world? Apparently not if social pressure is anything to go by. The anti-fracking movement is one of the most active and outspoken since the 1970’s anti-nuclear campaigns. Yet conundrums exist conventional drilling for oil and gas continues, in spite of the blatant evidence of massive environmental damage (Deepwater Horizon).

What the frack is it with fracking?

In this debate, two reasoned and informed experts (Barry and Ruffell) will outline the facts as they see them which need to be considered in discussing fracking (though of course what counts as a ‘fact’ is itself open to debate!). This will be done with the help of an independent judge (Webber) who will ensure each speaker gets 10 minutes of uninterrupted time to outline their case, after which each question from the audience will be answered in turn by the experts. After the debate, the experts will give their personal opinion on the matter, to allow the audience to distinguish between what they presented as ‘fact’ and what they feel about it or the values that help shape and inform whether or not (or under what conditions) they might support or reject fracking.

We would wish the participating audience to enter into the democratic spirit of this debate, such as they (and the speakers) can be informed of the science, debate, ethical or political values, feelings and possible outcomes behind this most important of current issues concerning our future energy supply.

About Belfast Science Cafe

Belfast Science Cafe is run by the Belfast Branch of this British Science Association. We bring the latest science into a relaxed, informal environment.

The Belfast Science Cafe brings scientific debate to the pub. It is based on 'Cafe Scientifique', held all over the UK. The Cafe is a place where, with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, anyone can come to explore, debate and discuss the latest ideas in science and technology.

During a Cafe, a scientist is invited to talk on any scientific topic of their choice. The talk lasts for fifteen to thirty minutes; after which there is a small break for the audience to grab a pint and some food. There follows a session of questions and answers, or debate, where the speaker can be quizzed or challenged.

Booking for this event has now closed.