Weymouth & Portland

Science

Weymouth and Portland U3A Science Club

Meets on second Tuesday Monthly at 1pm via Zoom

Attendance Instructions: The talks will take place via Zoom at 1pm on the dates shown. If you have already received emails from Alex Scott, then you do not need to do anything. Alex will send you a reminder email as normal for each talk and another ‘on the day’ giving you a Zoom link and a password that will enable you to join the meeting from 12.30 onwards. If you are not a member of the Weymouth and Portland U3A, please contact Alex Scott via the U3A website so that you can be put on the mailing list. New members are welcome.

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.

November 10th 2020 Energy efficient houses by Peter Blood

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 and 14 months at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill in the USA. He was appointed professor at Cardiff University in 1991, where he continued his work on laser diodes. While at Philips he co-authored two books with his colleague John Orton, and his textbook on laser diodes was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. He “retired” in 2011 and embarked on a project to “retrofit” a stone cottage in the Brecon Beacons National Park to the Passive House Energy standard. Being a scientist, he went on a short course (retraining?) and decided he had to do some measurements to see how well the design calculations matched the actual performance of the finished building.

The talk will outline “Passive House” design principles and underlying science, describe the work on the building, and the measurements to determine its energy loss rate…..while living in it. The occupants are part of the experiment! After accumulating data over four years he has determined the contribution of “passive” energy sources (eg solar gain, electrical appliances and people) to the heating of the building and has come to conclusions about the merits of the design methodology. The answers are in the talk!

December 8th 2020 Sleep by Steve Coles

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.

Steve received his doctorate in Experimental Pathology from the University of London after conducting research into chronic lung disease at the National Heart and Lung Institute which he continued in Boston USA where he held the post of Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. During this period, he published over sixty scientific papers and gave multiple presentations at conferences in the USA and Europe.

He joined the life sciences industry in 1984 working for Abbott Laboratories in the UK conducting clinical research in multiple therapeutic areas including development of new medicines for the treatment of HIV and auto-immune diseases. He was subsequently appointed Director of their international organization based in Germany with responsibility for conducting global clinical studies. He continued in senior positions working for Takeda Pharmaceuticals which included setting up a new R&D hub in Singapore and subsequently heading their European R&D organization based in in London.

On retirement he worked as a consultant to the pharmaceutical industry and is currently chair of a national research ethics committee based in the South West. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

January 12th 2021 How Statistics (including those for Covid-19) are reported by the media by Kevin McConway

Kevin McConway is Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics at the Open University. He retired from his full time position in 2016 after teaching and researching in statistics there since 1980. He has a long-standing interest in the presentation of statistics in the media, and has worked with journalists and press officers in many contexts. He has presented on statistics and science at events run by the Centre for Investigative Journalism, the Association of British Science Writers, and the National Press Foundation, among others, as well as at the UK’s Science Media Centre (SMC) where he is a member of the Advisory Committee. His main work with the SMC is in writing comment pieces for journalists to help them interpret scientific research; he produced 26 such explanatory comments during October alone. Kevin was academic adviser for eleven years to the BBC Radio Four programme ‘More or Less’, which covers all kinds of numbers in the news. He is also involved with the Royal Statistical Society, where he was a vice-president from 2012 to 2015.

He will talk about the huge prominence of statistical information during the coronavirus pandemic, and reflect on good and bad points of the media coverage and (to some extent) Government communications, particularly in relation to communicating uncertainty. He will briefly describe the complicated paths by which scientific research gets into the newspapers and broadcasts, and give a preliminary view of the way that the virus crisis may have changed the reporting of statistics and science.

February 9th 2021 Aerodynamicist up the Amazon by Brian Beaman

After graduating in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College, Brian joined de Havilland/Hawker Siddeley in the Aerodynamics Department, first working on HS Trident flight test analysis and certification, moving on to the initial design definition of HS146 regional airliner and then Airbus A300 development studies. He spent a couple of years on secondment at Airbus Industrie HQ in Toulouse as Group Manager- Weight and Performance Engineering. On return, he joined the Hatfield Flight Development Department and led a team of flight test engineers during initial flight testing of the 146 and 125-800 business jet. Returning to the Aerodynamics Dept., he was Assistant Chief Aerodynamicist-Airbus during the wing design phase of Airbus A330/A340 and later become Project Design Manager -Development for the BAe 146/RJ Regional Jet based at BAe Woodford.

The original version of this talk was given to a general audience in a series ‘All in a Day’s Work’. It has been adapted somewhat for our more specialised Group but remains not-too-serious, not-too-technical and will be of interest to anyone who flies as an airline passenger. It covers some basic familiarisation with air, some aerodynamic theory - but not as you would find in any textbook and how to make an airbus. It goes behind the scenes in an aircraft manufacturer and introduces some of the characters who work in the variety of roles which come under the ‘aerodynamics’ banner and illustrates the contributions that they make to airliner design, testing, certification and operation.

The finished aircraft – what can it do? This leads to more about the role of one engineer and how, ‘all in a day’s work’, he finds himself ‘up the Amazon’. Join him on the trip. It concludes with a few thoughts on flying white elephants.

March 2021 Not yet arranged (please contact Alex Scott with suggestions)

July/August Summer Break No meetings/talks

Dates for your Diary
Tue Dec 8th Sleep - Talk by Steve Coles
If you would like to join this Zoom meeting contact the Group Leader
Tue Jan 12th 2021 How Statistics (including those for Covid-19) are reported by the media - Talk by Kevin McConway
if you would like to join this zoom meeting contact the group leader
Tue Feb 9th 2021 Aerodynamicist up the Amazon Talk by Brian Beaman
If you would like to join this zoom meeting contact the group leader
More Group Pages
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Calligraphy Chess Creative Writing Crochet
Current Affairs Discussion Cycling Exploring Literature 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 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
World Issues - the facts behind the news Write your own life story
More Group Pages
Badminton Basic Jewellery Making
Book Club Bridge
Calligraphy Chess
Creative Writing Crochet
Current Affairs Discussion Cycling
Exploring Literature 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 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
World Issues - the facts behind the news Write your own life story