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Category Archives: Science Group 2
Science 2 Meeting on Friday 16th September via Zoom
18 members attended the session. Each member has been allocated a letter of the alphabet, the idea being to talk to the group about a science based topic/word beginning with that letter.
Today Christine Vincent spoke about Rhodium which is a chemical element with the symbol Rh and atomic number 45. It is an ultra-rare, silvery-white, hard, corrosion-resistant, and chemically inert transition metal. Christine explained that the major use of rhodium is in catalytic converters for cars (80%). It reduces nitrogen oxides in exhaust gases.
Mark Jackson chose the letter J, Jellyfish. Jellyfish are ‘jelly-like’ creatures that live in the ocean. They have no brains. Jellyfish are estimated to be older than the first dinosaurs. They are invertebrates, which mean they aren’t fish. Mark explained that the Box Jellyfishes are one of the most dangerous of all species of Jellyfish in the world. The fact that they have such a toxic venom that they release is why people don’t want to be around them.
Helen Rose then gave an extended presentation on ‘Women in Maths and Science’ covering some significant women mathematicians and scientists and their contribution across the centuries. She explained that until the 19th century women were excluded from education yet some brilliant pioneer women overcame this major obstacle through their exceptional talent and ability. There were several who had to masquerade as men to attend lectures. Those early pioneers led the way for women to access a general education and specialisation in many spheres of science and maths.
Next Meeting (via Zoom)Friday October 16th 10.00am
To contact David Rose, the group leader, please use the contact form below:-
Science 2: Zoom Meeting August 21st, 2020
This month there were welcome contributions from several members.
David Wormall started proceedings talking about Ellen Ochoa an American engineer, former astronaut and former director of the Johnson Space Centre. In 1993 she became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Bob McEwen followed with an informative and entertaining talk about Americium a synthetic radioactive chemical element with the symbol Am and atomic number 95. Complete with a ‘Blue Peter’ inspired visual aid Bob explained how:
Americium-241 a very low-activity radioactive element that emits alpha particles, a low-energy form of radiation is used in smoke detectors.
As air passes across the americium source within the detector, the radiation ionises any smoke particles. This ionised air is then picked up by an electronic sensor sounding the alarm.
Initiated by contributions from Ann and Ian Murray there was much lively audience participation around the sustainability of the Earth due to various factors caused by humans such as climate change, fossil burning countries and the demands of rapid population growth. To be continued.
Next Zoom Meeting Friday 18th September, 2020, 10.00 to 11.00am.
The group met via Zoom on Friday 17th July and on Friday 31st July. The first meeting was rather disappointing as, despite a practice sessio, the screen sharing went awry. That could be the fault of the operator (me) or a technical hitch…
Despite that Christine Vincent managed to tell us something about Rachel Carson who spent four years gathering research and writing a book. She named it Silent Spring referring to birds dying due to pesticides and the spring being silent without their song. The book was published in 1962. The book became very popular and brought the environmental issues of pesticides to the general public. Rachel didn’t call for a ban on all pesticides. She advocated more research into the dangers of some pesticides and a lower volume of spraying. In 1973, DDT was banned in the United States. It is still used more sparingly in some countries to kill mosquitoes.
Alan Ratcliffe then spoke about hydrogen which is the lightest element in the periodic table. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all normal matter.
On the 31st Bob Gow wowed us with the history and technology behind the Bestwood Winding House, a topic that deserves to be explored more and which will feature as a future article.
To finish, Sue Tedstone shared some facts about the 3 species: African bush elephant, African forest elephant and the Asian elephant. Elephants eat all types of vegetation, from grass and fruit to leaves and bark — about 165 to 330 pounds (75 to 150 kilograms) each day, which is about 4 to 6 percent of their body weight. They spend an average of 16 hours per day eating!
Thanks to all contributors.
To contact David Rose, the group leader, please use the form below:-
It was pleasing that 21 members took part in our second Zoom meeting. Each time we use it we are getting a little more skilled in making this virtual meeting system work more effectively for us (mainly thanks to Mark Jackson, our IT consultant).
This time we had three mini presentations which utilised the screen sharing facility. John and Sue Tedstone talked about Ticknall Limeyards, which are within the grounds of Calke Abbey. These are a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)’ and well worth a visit – when we can.
Ian Murray presented some interesting facts about Maria Telkes who was a Hungarian-American biophysicist, scientist and inventor who worked on solar energy technologies. She is considered one of the founders of solar thermal storage systems, earning her the nickname “the Sun Queen”.
Ann then discussed Florence Rena Sabin (1871-1953) who was an American anatomist and medical researcher. Her excellent and innovative work on the origins of the lymphatic system, blood cells, and immune system cells and on the pathology of tuberculosis was well-recognized during her lifetime.
This was followed by a general discussion about garden birds. Thanks to all participants.
The next meeting via Zoom is at 10.00 am on Friday, 17th July, 2020
Science 2 – 22 May 2020 – Initial Zoom Meeting
Since it seems that face to face Interest Group meetings won’t happen for the next 2/3 months, today Science Group 2 held our first virtual Zoom meeting which ran relatively smoothly. However it highlighted some ways in which we can improve the next time we meet in June.
We started with a quick look at some information and questions sent in advance about hot food and using microwaves for cooking and other uses such as telecommunications, TV, satellites, radar and of course fixed traffic speed cameras.
Alan Ratcliffe then presented some interesting background to the life and work of scientist Rosalind Franklin.
Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 July 1920 – 16 April 1958) was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite.
Although her works on coal and viruses were appreciated in her lifetime, her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely recognised posthumously.
Thanks to all attendees. The next Zoom Meeting will be held on Friday June 19th from 9.45am to approx 10.30am. Ann Murray will do a presentation on the life in science of Florence Rena Sabinand, and Ian Murray on Maria Telkes. Plus members ‘just a minute’ on a science topic starting with their chosen letter of the alphabet.
To contact David Rose, the group leader, please use the form below:-