Science and Technology


Until further notice, all our future meetings will be held by Zoom. A REVISED PROGRAMME FOR THIS YEAR IS SHOWN BELOW

Our next virtual group meeting will be on Wednesday 22nd July. Roger Ball will give a talk on Bridges - their History and Design. Using Zoom, Roger will display slides and give a commentary. If you wish to participate please contact Roger Ball for an invitation to the the meeting. The S&T July 2020 Newsletter gives further details.


The group is open to all members of Witney U3A and ladies are especially invited to join in order to provide a more balanced membership and give different views on the topics discussed.


22 JanuaryJohn Leighfield - John went to school and university in Oxford, read classics and has worked in computers since 1962 though he has had a serious interest in education for the past 40 years and in maps for the past 50 years.Putting Witney on the map: from Gough to Google, (NB: donations to Helen & Douglas House at the meeting please)
26 FebruaryDr Martin Christlieb, Dept of Oncology, University of Oxford - Dr Martin is a science communicator who specialises in supporting understanding of cancer research. He is also a hill walker, climber and occasional cook.How cancer cells travel - our current understanding of metastasis
25 March Cancelled due to coronavirus
22 April Group watched a RI video and then discussed it using Zoom
27 MayTrevor Gears - Trevor's work has been in antenna design and propagation analysis for military aircraft and defence radar installationsThe origins of Radar - 1900 to 1940
24 JuneRichard Stevens - Richard worked for the Police Scientific Development Branch, moved abroad to work for the European Space Agency, then founded QSS, a Systems Engineering company, at the Oxford Science Park in 1993.Preparing a home for old age - a scientific/technical approach.
22 JulyRoger Ball - Roger, a Chartered Civil Engineer, worked in both the public and private sectors first on road and bridge design and construction and later on traffic and transportation issues. Later he set up his own consultancyBridges - their history and design
23 SeptemberRobert Kyte - Robert did a degree in Physics at Bristol University, graduating in 1971 then worked for approx 40 years in industrial Research and Development in the design of magnets, both electromagnets and permanent magnets, for various industrial applications. Became a Member of the Inst. of Electrical Engineers Applications of Magnetism
28 OctoberGraham May - From a background in Geography and Town Planning Graham became a lecturer and writer in Futures Research focusing on "how we can deal with the uncertainty of the future".Forecasting: Art or Science?
25 NovemberProf Richard Lacey- Dick Lacey is the former chief scientist for CBRNE at the Home Office Scientific Development Branch. He has a background in security systems and is a visiting professor at UCL.The Physics of Security Systems

NOTE: Please would members be kind enough to volunteer to give a talk in 2021 or
let me have the contact details of someone who may be able to do so.

While we may not be able to have any live meetings for the foreseeable future you do not have to give up on learning about science and technology! You may wish to visit: Royal Institution Videos (https://www.youtube.com/user/TheRoyalInstitution) Here you will find a great many lectures on various science subjects all in a very easy to understand format. Just skip through any adverts that may come at the start of any lecture.

The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory has a range of resources for science learning. Click here: RAL Resources for details and links.


The objectives of the Science & Technology Group (the S&T Group) are:

  • to cover a wide range of scientific and technical matters
  • to appeal to members who have some scientific or technical qualification and/or experience, at whatever level
  • to appeal to members who know nothing scientific or technical, but are willing to have their minds stretched and learn something new and different.


The group meets at 10.00am on the 4th Wednesday of each month except December and (sometimes) August. Currently the group meets in the Radford room at the Methodist Church complex in High St. Witney. There is a break at about 11am for coffee and the meeting closes at around 12.15. After this some members go for a simple lunch locally. There is a charge of £2.00 to pay for the room but sometimes the meeting is "free" if sufficient funds have accumulated.


Normally the speaker is a member of the Group but once or twice each year it is usually possible to engage an outside speaker.

Once or twice each year there is a visit to a place of interest and members pay for a coach and an entrance fee if required.


***Follow the link for details of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory's free Talking Science talks. These talks are now being presented on-line.


On Wednesday 24th June, Richard Stevens gave us an excellent talk called "Preparing a home for old age - a scientific/technical approach" using Zoom. He explained how Systems Engineering techniques can help us ensure we end up with the living reqirements we need and how technological developments can help us in our later years.

In the past year or two there have been presentations on such varied subjects as:

  • Stealth aircraft and how they avoid radar detection
  • Epigenetics
  • Modern technology applied to brewing
  • Exoplanets
  • Gene editing


Visits have been made to:

  • The Bristol Aerospace museum
  • Bletchley Park
  • A satellite tracking station
  • The BMW Mini plant at Cowley

Cotswold Distillery On 25th September we visited the Cotswold Distillery. Tucked away, just over the Warwickshire border, the Distillery is another award winning enterprise producing both gin and whiskey. Gin is apparently enjoying great popularity at the moment and is no longer the drink your granny occasionally imbibed. A lot of care is taken in the blending of botanicals to give distinctive flavours. Cotswold whiskey is made from locally grown grain and is matured in barrels from France and Spain for at least 3 years and one day. This is the minimum legal requirement for whiskey although most is matured for far longer. Incidentally there was a Spanish lorry unloading old sherry barrels whilst we were there! The distillery boasts a superb cafe so after an exhausting ‘scientific’ tour we all enjoyed an excellent lunch. Oh, and yes, there was tasting of both gin and whiskey with the distillery providing take away samples for the drivers. As someone was heard to comment, ‘This is the best take-away I’ve ever had’.

More Group Pages
Antiques Book group 1 Book Group 2 Book group 4
Croquet Film First World War Gardening
German Conversation History of Art 2 Italian Appreciation 1 Local history
Outings Railways Russian Language Science and Technology
Spanish Stately Home visits Theatre Trips Walks longer 1
Walks Short 2
More Group Pages
Antiques Book group 1
Book Group 2 Book group 4
Croquet Film
First World War Gardening
German Conversation History of Art 2
Italian Appreciation 1 Local history
Outings Railways
Russian Language Science and Technology
Spanish Stately Home visits
Theatre Trips Walks longer 1
Walks Short 2