Category Archives: Science Group 2

Science 2 – From the Stars to Spiders

On Friday 19th October, 2018, we were pleased to welcome Paul Brett from the post graduate doctorate programme at Nottingham University. With Paul were two doctorate students, Francois and Charlotte – together with a few cockroaches and spiders.

However before their presentations our very own Alan Ratcliffe started our session with a very interesting talk on ‘Navigating by the Stars’.

Alan explained that we do not really know how the Polynesians in the Southern hemisphere managed to successfully complete their early long distance sea journeys but how in the Northern hemisphere the Pole Star /Polaris was used to locate position. Alan managed to make some quite complex maths understandable.

Francois is involved with research on the genetic modification of microbes that break down waste products into ethanol (ethyl alcohol) in order to maximise yields or break the ethanol down into other useful products.

Charlotte is working towards her Doctorate on spider silk in the ‘Spider Lab’. As a background to this she explained that the silk strands are stronger than steel. How they are produced inside the spider’s body is still something of a mystery.
Her research may lead to an understanding of this.

The photographs show some of the group admiring her friends from the lab.

Next Meeting: Friday November 16th 10.00 am at the John Godber Centre

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Science 2 – Navigating by Stars

After our September recess we meet on Friday, October 19th, at the usual time of
10 am to 12 pm in the Studio at the John Godber Centre.

Alan Ratcliffe has kindly offered to lead a presentation on:‘Navigating by Stars’

This will be followed by ‘The Astronaut Test’ and finally a visual presentation of some of our activities since September 2017.

There will also be an opportunity to share ideas for topics to explore in future meetings.

We have two further meetings in 2018:-

November 16th

December 21st: Guest Speaker – Janet Archer from Specsavers. Janet will be accompanied by an audiologist and an optician. We will be looking at the science behind common eye and hearing defects and at ways that some of them can be alleviated. She has promised an early Christmas present of ‘goodie bags’ for attendees.

Seasonal refreshments will also be available.

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Science 2 – No September meeting

Our August meeting was also open to other members for a presentation by Dr Tim Gray. Tim is the Chairman of the East Midlands Immediate Care team who attend traffic incidents, major individual life threatening traumas and occasionally violent crime scenes.

The team are all specially selected doctors who, after additional specialised training, carry out this role on a voluntary basis. It was both interesting and enlightening, some of the road accident images certainly reinforced the theory that ‘speed kills’.

Next Meeting

The September meeting is cancelled due to various holiday commitments and our next meeting is on Friday, October 19th,2018, 10 am to 12 noon in The Studio, John Godber Centre.

Alan Ratcliffe has offered to present a talk on ‘Navigating by Stars’. I look forward to this as I have always been fascinated by the way in which sailors found their way across oceans in small wooden boats with basic maps and no sat nav.

There will also be short presentations from other members – more details will be sent out later. We will also look at planning some topics for this year and please email me with any suggestions that you would like us to pursue.

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Science groups visit Papplewick Pumping Station

On the 20th July, 38 members from Science 1 and 2 enjoyed a very interesting guided tour on a visit to Papplewick Pumping Station. We learnt a lot about the history of Nottinghamshire’s water supply and the vast quantities of clean and safe water needed as the population grew during the Industrial Revolution. The amazing engineering, architectural and building skills of the Victorians were plain to see.

Our catering manager, John Berrill, arranged a post-visit, good value, lunch at the Burntstump which made a sociable end to the morning.

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Tour of Papplewick Pumping Station

On Friday 15th June we looked at the positive and negative effects of three different types of microorganisms: bacteria, virus and fungi.

We then considered the theory that Europeans conquered and built empires in less developed countries through the use of steel weapons and the effects of introducing local populations to killer infectious diseases spread by micro-organisms for which they had little or no immunity.

After the break Maggie Huckerby gave an interesting and illustrated presentation on ‘what can go wrong with your heart and circulatory system’, Christine Berrill then raised our understanding of Cholesterol and John Tedstone added some points about statins. Thanks to them all.

If anyone has a talk prepared and would like to present it at the September meeting please let me know.

July 20th Meeting

This will be at the Papplewick Pumping Station for a 10.30am tour.

The plan is to meet at their car park between 10am and 10.15am. Some shared lifts have been arranged but, if you need transport, please contact David Rose or John Berrill. As part of our recovery after the visit we are having lunch at The Burntstump Inn.

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