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Peter Steinberg | USLHC | USA

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Kaffee Klatch (or Cafe Clash?) at BNL

Pam’s recent post reminded me to post about a fantastic development at BNL: our own dedicated “Brookhaven Cafe”, expressly intended to import as much of the CERN model as we can muster on this side of the pond. While it may take years, generations even, to self-generate even a fraction of the atmosphere of drinking coffee and chatting at one of the CERN cafe’s (Cafeteria 1 remains my favorite, although I’ve done serious time in Bat. 40, not having an office at CERN…), it’s already changing the work landscape of lots of people I’ve spoken to (of course as I was sitting there with my laptop, latte at my side). It’s a widely known, but poorly documented, phenomenon that scientists get their best ideas when they stop working for a minute, sit down with a cup of coffee etc, bump into someone else doing the same thing, and chat — leading to new thoughts. Go figure. In this light, a cafe is most likely a good investment in a lab’s future.

What amazes a lot of us is that the whole thing sprang from the minds of actual lab users (at my last official meeting of the RHIC/AGS users group), developed into a serious presentation (which I strung together, and my colleague Carla presented to management), resulted in a labwide poll — and 1.5 years later, we have real espresso and a nice place to sit and drink it.

And it has a little fountain that gurgles in the background. Surprisingly relaxing — and unique to BNL, as far as I know. Hey, these Cafe’s can use some competition, right?– even if they are separated by thousands of miles. From Kaffee Klatsch to Cafe Clash, eh?

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