Category Archives: Science Group

Science Group One

At our meeting on Thursday, 26th September we undertook something very different and challenging. We had as a Group been discussing and researching the impact of climate change, population growth, earth’s resources and the effects of pollution on ourselves and eco systems. Arising out of these discussion, Bob McEwan gave us a talk on the nutritional value of humans eating insects (Entomophagy). He highlighted the cost to the environment in terms of global emissions, land use implications and transportation of our traditional food products. So why not eat insects: after all they have been eating us for years. And over 2 billion people worldwide eat insects.

Crickets, for instance, have far more protein, iron and calcium than chicken, beef and pork, require less cultivable land and less water and feed.

But what do they taste like? After the presentation it was crunch time, literally. We were given the opportunity to taste and try a sample of roasted crickets of various flavours along with two bars resembling normal snack bars. Surprisingly, they all tasted good and received approval. Whether insects will be part of our diet remains to be seen.

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Science Groups 1 and 2 Visit to Green Chemistry Centre

Science Visit to the Centre for Sustainable Chemistry Nottingham University July 19th 2019

31 members from Science 1 and 2 had a most interesting visit to a unique building and research centre at the Triumph Road site (more familiar to most as the old Raleigh factory). It is a leading centre for research into Sustainable or Green Chemistry.

Our visit started with an introduction by Dr Nick Bennett, the Senior Project Manager, followed by a guided tour of the building and laboratories. The building is a unique zero carbon emission building, primarily the structure is fire resistant treated wood. Solar energy supplies most of the power and the insulation includes a living grass covered roof.

The concept of sustainable chemistry was explained as an area of chemistry and chemical engineering focused on the designing of products and processes that minimise or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. The other focuses being technological approaches to preventing pollution and reducing consumption of non-renewable resources.

A presentation followed by Professor Steve Howdle (Head of School of
Chemistry) where he cited examples of some current research that include using plant material and waste products from some industrial processes instead of oil and rare resources.

Finally there was time to ask questions together with light refreshments and a last look round.

David Rose

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Science Group (1) visit Tram Headquarters

Fourteen members of Science Group One visited the headquarters of the Nottingham Tram on Thursday, 28th June. It was a hot day but the members were delighted to visit the HQ.

We arrived on time to be greeted by a member of the Tram staff who was extremely friendly, which turned out to be the order of the day. We were shown into what can only be described as a quite large Board Room where we were given a presentation about the tram network, the internal management structure, the interview process to become a driver (which was very intense and sounded quite complicated) and the monitoring and safety arrangements for passengers. Our members were then allowed to ask questions to glean more information. This proved to be quite an informative session. Apparently there are 37 drivers in total and only two spare trams at any one time. There is no statutory limit as to how many passengers can travel on one tram at a time, unlike other modes of transport. If you are involved in an emergency and you are near a tram station you can use the emergency facilities at the station to request assistance even if you are not using the tram.

After the group session we were split into several smaller groups to tour the building and use the tram simulators. Each simulator monitored the performance of a trainee, which was an interesting exercise for the members. It showed how new drivers were trained to operate the trams. We were then each given a printout of our own performance.

The visit to the main control room was fascinating. It was very reassuring that each tram station was monitored at all times of the day and night. It was very reminiscent of a NASA launch control room with large TV screens covering one wall.

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Science 1 discuss "Life on other planets?"

At our January meeting we had a presentation by four eminent NASA scientists (via YouTube) who had been researching the possibility of life on other planets and moons within our solar system and on exoplanets elsewhere in the universe. We discovered that life on earth took at least 1-2 billion years to evolve and even then the planet was still not suitable for life as we know it today. We also learned that modern humans evolved some 600,000 years ago but that we have only been able to use technology for some 200 years. Is it then not surprising that we have not been able to find life outside the Earth. It was also suggested that the human race might be the first intelligent life in the universe as it takes billions of years to evolve and the Big Bang happened some 13.75 billion years ago. It would seem that conditions on other planets and moons and within the universe are suitable for life to develop. There are life forms on earth that live in extreme environments very similar to the conditions in the solar system. The consensus was that life will be found elsewhere within the next say 20 years.
Several members of the Group gave biographies of British scientists who have made a great contribution to the world of science and recent news reports from within the scientific community.
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Science 2 News September-October

On the 15th September members of Science 1 and Science 2 met in the ‘ballroom’ of the John Godber Centre for a presentation on ‘Moons of the Solar System’ by Dr Nigel Marshall.




The photograph shows Nigel demonstrating the inverse square law with two glamorous assistants.

Next Meeting Friday 20th October 10am to 11.55am
Item 1: Consideration of dates for a joint Science 1 and 2 Christmas 2017 Science Quiz
Item 2: Our theme is ‘Global Warming’
Introduction and setting the scene: David Rose
The Greenland Project: John Tedstone
There will be opportunities for questions and discussion on this topic.

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