Science and Technology
Due to the coronavirus the next meeting of the S&T Group scheduled for 25th March has been cancelled. Please check your emails in April to see whether the April/May and June meetings are also cancelled.
See the S&T March 2020 Newsletter for further information
While we may not be able to have any 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.
IMPORTANT CHANGE TO 2020 PROGRAMME
Unfortunately, Roger Jackson is unable to give his talk on helicopters scheduled for March. However, Trevor Gears has kindly agreed to bring forward his talk on Radar from July to 25th March (MEETING NOW CNCELLED)
2020 PROGRAMME See below for our full 2020 programme. Changes may have to be made as the year progresses but hopefully these will be minimal. 24th June is left vacant for a visit; it is hoped to arrange a visit in June to the laboratory at Culham where fusion research takes place. It will be an evening meeting and not necessarily on our usual meeting date.
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.
FORMAT OF MEETINGS
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.
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.
See below for the full 2020 PROGRAMME
|22 January||John 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 February||Dr 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|
|25th March||Trevor Gears - Trevor's work has been in antenna design and propagation analysis for military aircraft and defence radar installations||The origins of Radar - 1900 to 1940 *MEETING POSTPONED*|
|22 April||Richard 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.|
|27 May||Graham 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?|
|24 June||External Visit - to be arranged|
|22 July||Andrew Brunskill - Andrew trained at Edinburgh and Newcastle in psychology and medicine; then in paediatrics and epidemiology in Australia and USA. Andrew worked in these fields before ending up in health policy and health plan administration for the Washington State, USA.||What went wrong? Data & human errors, examples and reasonss|
|23 September||Robert 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 October||David Slorach - With a degree in Electronics Engineering from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, David's career began as a development engineer in aerospace before progressing to more general navigation and position fixing applications, including the use of GNSS.||Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)|
|25 November||Prof 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|
I am hoping to arrange a visit in June to the laboratory at Culham where fusion research takes place.
It will be an evening meeting and not necessarily on our usual meeting date. Hopefully the
coronavirus situation will allow this visit to take place
***The ATOM Festival of Science and Technology takes place in Abingdon between 14th and 22nd March. The festival aims to bring Science and Technology to all members of your family with an exciting and inspiring array of events and lectures. Further deatils can be found here: ATOM 2020 (CANCELLED))
***Follow the link for details of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory's free Talking Science talks (NEXT EVENT CANCELLED)
On 26th February Dr Martin Christlieb of the Department of Oncology at the University of Oxford gave a fascinating and very interesting talk on how cancer cells travel and our current understanding of metastasis. He showed some incredible videos of cancer cells travelling in the blood stream. I know that many members present were reluctant for Dr Martin to conclude his talk and you may wish to know that he has agreed to talk to us again in 2021.
In the past year or two there have been presentations on such varied subjects as:
- Stealth aircraft and how they avoid radar detection
- Modern technology applied to brewing
- Gene editing
Visits have been made to:
- The Bristol Aerospace museum
- Bletchley Park
- A satellite tracking station
- The BMW Mini plant at Cowley
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’.