Science in the News
|Convenor: Richard Winterburn||Vacancies|
|Date: 1st Thursday of the Month||No waiting list|
|Time: 2pm to 4pm|
|Venue: St Michael's Undercroft|
Aims of the Group
To Discuss and Learn about Developments in Science:-
- Items of Scientific News from newspapers, television, etc.
- Special Subjects of Interest through Talks or Recorded programmes
- Outside Trips to Local Industries or Museums
The following list will give you a flavour of the topics we have covered since our inception:-
|*Plate Tectonics||*Wind Energy||*Xray Crystallography|
|*Climate Change||*Gravity Waves||*DNA|
|*Sperm Whales and Basking Sharks||*Evolution||*Fracking|
|*Treatment of Parkinsons Disease||*Nuclear Power||*Dendrology|
|*Irrigation||*Sizewell B dry store||*Mycology|
Picture of the Month
Every month we update this home page with an image related to an item of news in Science. The current image shows part of the Little Barford power generating station, the location of the power outage which affected many parts of the Eastern UK. The topic was covered in some detail by George Fisher at our September meeting.
We publish a Monthly Newsletter which summarises our recent activities, gives details of future meetings and provides other useful information. The newsletters are indexed under the month name and can be accessed by clicking on the relevant LINK on this page.
At many of our meetings we have presentations given by members of the group or invited speakers. These presentations span the full range of our science interests. A selection of these are available by following the relevant LINK item on this page. If you would like further details of the subject matter, please contact our Group Convenor who will pass you the relevant contact details.
Having taken a month's vacation during August, the Group re-convened on 5th September with 19 members present. I first had to announce that regrettably Alec Hillier had decided to step down from his role on the Steering Group. However, we have been lucky to have found an immediate replacement in Jane Newbold. Jane only recently moved in to Beccles and although a member of U3A for some time past, only now has joined our group. But she has already made a significant contribution as you will read below. Thank you Jane.
Our topic this month was to be general news items and to start we had a detailed brief by George Fisher on the recent power outage in Suffolk and Norfolk. This was apparently triggered by a double lightning strike close to the Little Barford generating station. The immediate result was that the generators at LB were dropped and the output from a major offshore wind turbine farm was switched off. As we all know, it took some time for the knock-on problems with trains and a major hospital to be resolved.
Following this we were given a really informative presentation on the history and current status of DNA research and applications by Jane Newbold. This was very well received by all and generated many questions. This is exactly how we want to see this group develop as a science discussion group rather than a lecture theatre. Our thanks go to George and Jane for their efforts in creating these presentations. Links to these for readers to view and/or download the slides are available by following the relevant LINK entry on this page. The meeting concluded with another couple of small news items. Overall a very good get together for the group.
Diary of future activities:
The October 3rd meeting will start with a presentation by Bob Howitt. Bob as an ex-engineer from the Sizewell power complex, has offered to give us a useful introduction to what we can expect during our upcoming site visit in November. This will I am sure be of interest to all but particularly so to those who will be taking part. And Bob is open to any questions from the floor, so do come prepared. This will be followed by an open discussion meeting kicked off by a talk from Alec Hillier on the subject of Bats.
The 7th November meeting will be replaced by the visit to the Sizewell "B" facility which includes a guided tour of the site followed by a presentation in the visitors centre on current plans and progress with the "C" site/facility. We have circulated all members of our group full details of the visit. There is stringent security to enter the site and so if you are interested to join the visit please follow the instructions circulated to you. If you have any further questions please mail Richard W.
PLEASE NOTE The entry list is now closed. Anyone who has missed it can either of course wait until we have another visit or one can contact them directly and join a general visitr.
As mentioned at the last meeting, our December 5th meeting will be a completely different social get together for members to get into the festive spirit of the month. We are setting up to hold a science-based quiz in four teams (RW will set up the teams on arrival), Jon Roots is organising a "Bring a mystery object" session - more details to come. We need volunteers to provide a range of "refreshments", including some snacks, perhaps mince pies, sausage rolls or whatever. Please, anyone happy to join in and make this a fun day, give me a call or drop me an email.
Our first meeting in 2020 will not be held on the usual first Thursday but on the second Thursday i.e. 9th January 2020 - St Michael's Undercroft at 2pm. This to relieve the time pressures around Christmas/New Year celebrations. We would like this to be an open session with your own news items but making these fit one or two fixed themes. We are looking at making one "Plastics and their recycling and/or disposal" and the second "Humour in Science". Put your thinking caps on, start searching and bring along your news items under these themes.
February 6th we focus on the subject of dendrology - Trees. This will be presented by John Loftus - should be very interesting.
So a full, varied and hopefully interesting next few months.