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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