Meetings: This Group meets on the fourth Thursday of the month from 2.00 pm to 4.00pm, except when there is an external visit.
Venue: Normally at the SGL's house.
Study Group Leader: Ron Duckling
Vacancies: There are no vacancies at present but you can put your name on the waiting list by contacting the SGL.
What we do: We learn about and discuss all aspects of science in its broadest sense to include engineering, fundamental physics, meteorology, chemistry and biology. We have occasional external speakers but the preferred route to learning is for a member of the group to research a subject, present their findings to the group and lead a discussion of the subject.
In addition, we visit places of scientific interest, whether that be museums, research establishments or operating facilities. Sometimes, we view documentaries on scientific subjects provided by the central U3A DVD library. Importantly all meetings include information, discussion, tea and cake.
What Have We Done: In the past we have visited the UK’s only nuclear fusion reactor in Oxfordshire, the Museum of Steam and Water at Kew, the Wellcome Institute in London, the Science Museum, The Royal College of Physicians, Bletchley Park and the Physic Garden. We attended the open day at the National Physical Laboratory and the annual science exhibition at the Royal Society.
We also visited the Brayfordbury Observatory, which is the University of Hertfordshire’s facility buried in the darkest depths of the Hertfordshire countryside, where we enjoyed a lecture, some time in their planetarium and a chance to see some of the telescopes in operation. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate so we were not able to see anything through them.
One of the most exciting visits was to the Mini car plant where we watched minis being built, mostly by robots driven by computers, with little involvement of the people working there. It offered an exciting but rather worrying vision of the future.
Our talks have included the dangers of fluoride, the versatility of carbon, climate change, the decline of magic, chaos and its effects on the weather, and quantum mechanics.
Plans for the future: We hope to attend a Royal Institution lecture when there is a suitable topic and there will be a lecture on relativity and gravitational waves in the Autumn. We would like to revisit the Brayfordbury Observatory and hope for better weather.