These are open to all U3A members and are held twice a year in autumn and spring. The subjects are varied and suggestions for future topics would be welcomed. Each lecture is announced on the Events page. We aim to entertain and inform you, not to blind you with science! No need to book, just turn up on the day.
The next meeting of Popular Science will be on Wednesday 17 February 2021. At the moment we are working on the assumption that this too will need to be online. More information when it becomes available.
Contact Mal Waite by clicking> Popular Science if you require further information.
Popular Science Meetings in normal times
Location: Popular Science Lectures are normally held in the Lecture Theatre at Bishops Blue Coat Church of England High School, Vaughans Lane, Great Boughton, Chester, CH3 5XF. We hope to be able to return there once the Covid19 restrictions are at an end.
Report of Popular Science October 2020
The topsy-turvy world of 2020 meant that Chester U3A’s Popular Science aficionados were unable to gather at Bishop’s High School for the October talks. Not to be daunted, the organisers decided to go ahead online and were able to take advantage of the Crowdcast account that our Speaker Secretary has been using to such good effect for the monthly talks.
Sad as we were not to be able to greet people in person, the advantage of the online format meant that people from far and wide were able to join us. 70+ screens (some with multiple people watching) were present, including some of our friends from the Deeside and Wirral Network as well as others from further afield, notably from Hampshire, Norwich and the Lake District.
The first talk was a specially recorded talk on Electric Cars by Mark Thompson who was an engaging and knowledgeable speaker who convinced many of his audience to consider switching to an electric vehicle next time they contemplate a change of car. The link to this talk is here> Electric Cars Video.
The second talk on Touch by Prof Francis McGlone was also very interesting but sadly, was plagued by considerable technical issues with the sound. Eventually a solution was found but in view of those problems, the decision has been made not to make that talk available afterwards. However, a similar talk by Prof McGlone is available and he has given us his permission to share that with you so here is that link> Touch Video. He has also offered to answer any questions you might have, which you may submit by contacting Mal Waite via Popular Science.
Report of February 2020 Meeting
After doing a sterling job of steering the Popular Science ship for around ten years, Janet Money has chosen to give up the helm. I’m sure everyone who has enjoyed the wonderful selection of talks that have been delivered in that time would wish to thank her for her guiding hand. Grateful appreciation was expressed at the start of the meeting and Janet was given a bunch of flowers as a small token of thanks.
Janet has been succeeded by the team of Helen Pulford and Mal Waite who promised to do their best to follow in her footsteps – although she’s a very hard act to follow. Thankfully, there are plenty of people locally who are able and willing to assist with science-based talks.
On this occasion, around 80 people gathered in the lecture theatre at Bishop’s High School to enjoy two talks given by Chester U3A members. Each talk was excellent in its own way, featuring two experienced lecturers with different skills and styles along with two very different and yet very engaging topics. Aren’t we lucky to have such talented and generous members?
Sue Foy started proceedings with a re-worked and updated version of her ‘A Life Less Plastic’ talk and presented information that was as worrying and scary as it was fascinating. She was followed by Peter Goodhew whose humorous and absorbing talk on Liquids, accompanied by paintings and everyday objects to help demonstrate certain points captured the imagination as well as the intellect.
The next Popular Science meeting will be during the October Half Term. Watch out for information later in the year.
Report of October 2019 Meeting
Our October meeting was graced by an audience of 72. Mike Money kicked off proceedings with his talk on Fire, Food and the Evolution of Modern Humans. 23 varieties of hominids are known, of which we are the last remaining species. They underwent rapid evolution about 1.2 million years ago, resulting in flat faces, large brains, small guts, hairless bodies, upright posture and articulate speech. One theory is that this was the result of learning to cook food, which provided high quality energy with much less effort than raw food.
Mike Shaw of the Sundial Society then entertained us with Why don't Sundials tell the Right Time? He explained the differences between sun time, mean solar time, mean local time, and clock time, the analemma (which describes the position of the noontime sun throughout the year), the effect of longitude and the Equation of Time. Having grasped that, we were willing to agree that a sundial telling the time at 3:15pm when the clock says 4:30pm was actually correct. A number of us went away with our own sun dial cards.
Report of Feb 2019 Meeting
The Spring meeting of Popular Science on Wednesday February 20th was graced by a record number of 91 delegates. Professor Gill Baynes of Lancaster U3A started us off with a fascinating talk on radiology, her career discipline. If you have ever peered at an X-ray wondering how anyone can work out what's going on, you would be amazed by the detail, often in colour, of the images that can be obtained using the latest technology. She covered imaging techniques, the use of radiology in forensics, veterinary medicine and well person screening, as well as a horrifying array of foreign bodies detected by imaging. And when it got too serious, we had some cartoons to enjoy.
The second session took us from inner space to outer space. It was presented by our own Hazel McDougall. This talk was inspired by an Open University course and covered the latest discoveries about the moons of the outer solar system. Many of these have surprising features such as volcanoes and ice covered oceans, and may harbour microbial life. The talk concluded with a montage of fly-by shots of the moons and rings of the system set to a Shostakovich waltz.