U3A Science Network

2013 Harper Adams

After 10 years at Abergavenny 2013 the closure of Mulberry House found us seeking a new venue and in August 50+ delegates from all over the country arrived at our new venue Harper Adams University in Shropshire. As usual, our sessions were led by delegates and covered a wide range of topics.

We opened with a session on energy resources and the debate on renewables/nuclear, after which we plunged straight into geometric worlds and non-Euclidean spaces where the angles of triangles don’t add up to 180º so the after-dinner DVD on Ironbridge was light entertainment. After a hearty breakfast, Tuesday opened with an introduction to particle physics and we grappled with quarks, bosons and other strange beasts before heading off for a visit to Cosford RAF museum. In the evening, after a quick run through the evolution of homo sapiens, we retired to the bar to be mystified by Ian’s magic show.
Wednesday had a dizzying sweep of topics: continuing the broad historical theme with the history of the development of technology, a session on Darwin as a geologist and a close look at the Caspian area, from being a part of Gondwanaland to the present proposal for a new canal. Roger led us through a study of different types of mirrors (including concrete) and John ended the formal sessions with an interactive display of charges and sparks – literally making Reg’s hair stand on end. And still most of us found the energy to try out the science quiz in the evening.

The last morning’s sessions on vacuum technology and sundials were followed by the farewell buffet, another chance to socialise before heading home.

Energy for Life - summary of Alex Paterson's talk available on YouTube

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