Weymouth & Portland

Science

Weymouth and Portland U3A Science Club

Talk Programme from September 2019 to March 2020

All talks on second Tuesday of the month at 1000h in St Aldhelms Church Hall in Spa Road, Weymouth http://www.staldhelmschurchcentre.co.uk/
Attendance is unrestricted. (£1 payable at the door for U3A-controlled expenses plus voluntary 20p for Tea/Coffee and biscuits)
Organised by Alex Scott contact number 01305 760748; or by email using bluebird symbol opposite.
If you want to receive a reminder before each talk, please let Alex have your email address.

Please note: Talks may be cancelled or re-arranged under certain circumstances. If your name is on the contact list, you will be informed of these changes by email.

2019

December 10th Double bill (two 30 minute talks)

Talk 1: The European Eel, Past and Present by David Bucke

David has a life-long interest in freshwater fish and nature in general. At an early age he became fascinated with eels and their complicated life-history and myths. He trained as a histologist at MAFF's Central Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge in 1957. A move to Huntingdon Research Centre (HRC) further developed his interest in histopathology in many animal species including fish. There, he set up the only fish disease diagnostic laboratory in England and Wales. This was unusual for a commercial laboratory as it should have been Government work. This led to the establishment of a MAFF Fish Disease Laboratory in Whitehall in the late 1960's, later it moved to Weymouth (FDL) now Cefas. In 1976, David was recruited there to lead the Diagnostic and Pathology Research into fish and shellfish diseases. Although he researched into a wide range of fish species, eels were not a top priority for MAFF in his time. His talk will cover the life history of the European eel, methods of catching eels, their commercial value and more importantly, why the eel is now on the RED endangered list of animals similar to that of the panda.

Talk 2: The Origin of the Nothe Fort guns by Tony Fisher

Tony Fisher, who is a keen supporter of the Science Group, gave us a talk on the steel industry in 2018, says ‘When I retired to Weymouth, four years ago, I volunteered at the Nothe Fort, where there are two 64pdr Rifled Muzzle Loading guns in the reception area. They are big guns, weighing several tons each, and the accompanying plaque dates them at about 1860. They are obviously not made of cast-iron, and there was not the technology to form steel in such weights in the mid nineteenth century. I therefore did some research into how and of what they were made, and the results of this research, the basis of my proposed presentation, are utterly fascinating. At least, it fascinates me, but I'm a nutcase when it comes to metal forming.’

2020

January 14th Climate change and I - My life in a changing climate by John Tomblin

John already talked to the group about the topic of climate change twice before. However, we have had many new members since his last talk (in September 2017) and the topic is certainly not one that is going away! He has been writing a book of the same title, which will be a personal account of how he met many aspects of the climate change story in his life. He tells me that he hopes to have this book finished by the date of the talk

February 11th A bit about helicopters by Roy Sanders

Roy is another one of the Science Group’s loyal members. He spent his career in the aircraft industry working on all types of aircraft. He started as a stress engineer with a maths degree working for Hawker Siddley. He then went to Slingsby Aircraft Ltd where he finished as Chief Designer. He was then recruited by Westland Helicopters to work on composite rotor blades and rose to the position of Chief Structural and Mechanical Engineer. He was then recruited by BAe to join a small team bidding for helicopter contracts. The last two years with BAe were spent working on a battlefield surveillance tank.

March 10th The early history of photography - ending with the invention of the Kodak camera in the 1880s by John Marriage

John Marriage is the co-ordinator of the Lyme Regis U3A Science Group. His background is as an inorganic chemist, engineer, and historian of photography. He was the Editor of Photographica World for 16 years and 60 issues - see www.pccgb.com - and regularly give talks on photo-history. He came to give us a talk already in 2016, when he brought along a truly wondrous collection of electrostatic equipment and ended his talk by memorably sending a fountain of foil pie trays into the audience using a Van der Graaf generator. This talk on the early history of photography will include a mix of technology, art and social history.

April 15th Sleep by Steve Coles THIS IS A WEDNESDAY NOT THE NORMAL TUESDAY MEETING DAY

We welcome back Steve Coles from the Lyme Regis U3A to talk to us about what scientists know about sleep - why we sleep, patterns of sleeping and the chemical and physiological changes that occur during sleep. He will also touch on sleep disorders and the relationship between poor sleeping and disease risk." When Steve last talked to us, it was about the development of medical drugs. That was utterly fascinating and I am sure this talk will be equally fascinating.

May 12th Energy efficient homes by Peter Blood

Many of you will remember that Peter gave us a really interesting talk in 2018 about lasers. We are thrilled that he is coming back to Weymouth to talk to us about a subject that will nicely complement the talks by Geoff Kirby and John Tomblin. Peter studied physics at the University of Leeds then worked for 20 years at Philips Research Laboratories, Redhill, during which time he spent a year at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell and14 months at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill in the USA. He was appointed professor at Cardiff University in 1991, where he studied laser diodes. Peter’s ‘other interest’ (which I believe he puts into practice) is energy efficiency homes. I wish I had one!

June 9th A historical perspective on the therapeutic use of human growth hormone by Phil Lowry

Phil started out his research career as a PhD at Leeds University, purifying and sequencing one of the pituitary hormones of the dogfish pituitary gland (a prodigious feat at the time). When he got a job at CIBA Geigy in Horsham, I went to ask him for advice about my own PhD project which involved trying to isolate a similar hormone in the rat pituitary. We never looked back! He helped me to get a Nature paper (that in turn helped me get a job at the Fisheries Laboratory at Lowestoft), and Phil’s skills in peptide/protein chemistry did not go unnoticed by the head of the Chemical Pathology Department at Barts Hospital (where I was doing my PhD). They head-hunted him and the first thing they wanted him to do was to purify Human Growth Hormone so it could be used as a standard for measurement kits. It was at about this time that doctors began to become aware that some of the children that had been injected with Human Growth Hormone over a number of years (to correct dwarfism) had developed antibodies (and ten years later some were found to have developed a dreadful degenerative brain disease (CJD)). As an expert in the purification of Growth Hormone from human pituitary glands, Phil found himself right in the middle of this tragedy (on the side of the ‘good guys’, I must add). Developing a method for preparing a ‘clean’ therapeutic Growth Hormone was only part of Phil’s many achievements. He went on to become Head of Biochemistry at Reading University and has made many discoveries about the peptide hormones involved in stress and pregnancy. He developed unique measurement kits that are still used in Pathology Departments across the UK. He has written so many Nature papers, I can hardly count them.

July/August Summer Break

Dates for your Diary
Tue Mar 10th The early history of photography - ending with the invention of the
Kodak camera in the 1880s by John Marriage
Wed Apr 15th Science group is meeting on a WEDNESDAY not Tuesday this month
Sleep by Steve Coles
Tue May 12th Energy efficient homes by Peter Blood
Tue Jun 9th A historical perspective on the therapeutic use of human growth hormone by Phil Lowry
Tue Jul 14th No meeting on summer break
Tue Aug 11th No meeting on summer break
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Exploring Literature Past & Present Family History Film Society Fitness (MIOLI)
French Conversation French Revisited Gardening Club German
Golf for Pleasure History Italian (Beginners) Life Skill-Progressive relax
Mah Jong Military History MOTO (Members On Their Own) Music Appreciation
On the Buses Outings and Theatre Trips Photography Play Reading
Poetry Reading PNG Qi Gong Quizzers Rummikub
Russian Beginners Science Scottish Country Dancing Scrabble for Fun
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Table Tennis Tennis Ukulele Walking Miles & More Group
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More Group Pages
Badminton Basic Jewellery Making
Book Club Bridge
Bridge Beginners POP UP Calligraphy
Chess Creative Writing
Crochet Current Affairs Discussion
Cycling Economist reader
Exploring Literature Past & Present Family History
Film Society Fitness (MIOLI)
French Conversation French Revisited
Gardening Club German
Golf for Pleasure History
Italian (Beginners) Life Skill-Progressive relax
Mah Jong Military History
MOTO (Members On Their Own) Music Appreciation
On the Buses Outings and Theatre Trips
Photography Play Reading
Poetry Reading PNG Qi Gong
Quizzers Rummikub
Russian Beginners Science
Scottish Country Dancing Scrabble for Fun
Singing for Pleasure Solo Whist
Spice Club Sunday Lunch Club
Table Tennis Tennis
Ukulele Walking Miles & More Group
Walks (Local) Watercolour Painting
Write your own life story