Welcome to the Knutsford SciBar Website

This blog shows all our events, both future and past.

Our next meeting is on Monday 1st April 2019 at our usual venue, when Mubashra Latif, who is studying for her PhD in the faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Chester, will talk on the topic of “Eco Energy Production from Waste Biomass”. For more details about the speaker, and the topic, please see here. This will be an interesting follow-up to Professor Scrutton’s talk, Fuels of the Future, at last November’s SciBar.

Please note that the start time will be 19.30 until announced otherwise. The entrance fee is £2 (free to students and under 21s).

We are actively “recruiting” speakers for the rest of 2019 and beyond, and already have several confirmed. We have had a lot of ideas from the membership, and are following many of those up, but more are always welcome, so keep them coming.

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2nd September 2019 – Invasive Plant Species

Invasive Plant Species – Bogeyman or Ecological Disaster?

Dr Arthur Broadbent of the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester will lead the discussion.


Himalayan Balsam

“Novel weapons”, “Enemy Release” “Invasional Meltdown” – these are some of the more popular hypotheses proposed to explain the paradoxical success of invasive plants. But is this militaristic language justified? Are invasive plants really such a threat? And what does explain their unlikely prominence?

Dr Broadbent will present the evidence surrounding the underlying causes of plant invasions, and with a more nuanced take on their ecological impact.


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1st July 2019 – Devices that Sense Odours

Professor Krishna Persaud of the University of Manchester will  give a talk around the theme of “Devices that sense odours”. The University is a partner in the ‘PlasticArmPit’ project which is looking at devices which will recognise odour with sensors so small and flexible that they can be integrated into almost anything.

Such technology could enable clothing that automatically deodorizes you, food packaging that alerts you to contents past their best, or bandages that can detect early-stage infections, but these activities require embedded and customized processing hardware built on a flexible substrate such as plastics.

More details can be found here:

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13th May 2019 – The Magic of MRI

Helen BeaumontDr Helen Beaumont of Manchester University will  talk to us about MRI: What is an MRI machine? How does it work? What can it measure? Why does it have to be so big, so loud, so expensive? And what can it tell us about our brains? Come for a quick fly past spinning protons to the human connectome (note from blog-poster JC: you can check it out on Wikipedia, but my simple interpretation is that a connectome is a wiring diagram of the neural networks in the brain).

Dr Beaumont was originally going to give this talk in December 2018, but due to an important work commitment, had to reschedule her visit to the SciBar. We had hoped to welcome her in March 2019 but personal circumstances have overtaken Helen so she has now rescheduled for May.

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1st April 2019 – Eco Energy Production from Waste Biomass

In April, Mubashra Latif, who is studying for her PhD in the faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Chester, will talk about her research. Mubashra is being supported by the University of Chester’s Eco-Innovation Cheshire and Warrington project, investigating alternative feedstocks which might be turned into energy.  Particularly, how businesses could use special on-site biomass energy converters to generate clean power, cut their power bills and heat their own premises.

A range of feedstocks is being trialled, including animal and agricultural matter, to generate combined heat and power, with the aim of discovering which feedstocks work best to create electricity and heat (and therefore redirecting it from landfill). Mubashra hopes that she can also eventually use her research and energy expertise to benefit her home country of Pakistan, where one third of the population lacks the access to electricity which has become a basic life necessity in the 21st century. “I am really excited about this project.” says Mubashra “PhD research can sometimes remain as a thesis, so I feel very lucky to be somewhere where my research will be implemented in the real world to solve real world problems.”

Arensis – an internationally recognised British-based German energy company – is also involved in the research.  This pleases Mubashra and she is keen to continue working with Arensis, if possible, as it looks to expand internationally.  “Not only will I get my PhD, but this research project is also giving me hands-on experience of working for Arensis. Also, Pakistan lacks energy specialists, so I hope eventually to go home as an asset to my country, to be part of international projects going on in Pakistan that are internationally funded.”


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4th March 2019 – The Science of Civic Crime Prevention

Chris MacKenzie will give a wide overview on crime reduction in society.


This is not a talk about security of premises or personal safety; it’s about the old and new theories of why people commit crime. Only when we understand the problem can we develop an effective solution.

Chris retired from the police service after 30 years, having specialised in crime reduction for nearly all of his service. He spent his last 10 years as the Force Crime Reduction Advisor, training and supporting Crime Prevention Officers and advising on force and national crime reduction initiatives and policies.

After what he describes as a ‘wasted youth’, Chris discovered adult education and in his thirties was awarded a Master of Science degree in the study of Security Management. A few years later he qualified as a teacher.

MagnifierHe has written several books on volume crime prevention (burglary, personal safety, business crime, etc).  In the 2006 New Year Honours he was appointed MBE for his services in preventing crime.


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4th February 2019 – Oral Health and Alzheimer’s

It’s three for the price of one at February’s SciBar – Doctors Sim K. Singhroa, Alice Harding and Sarita Robinson from the School of Dentistry, University of Central Lancashire will be talking on “The Role of Oral Health in the Prevention/Delay of   Alzheimer’s Disease”. A synopsis of their talk, and a brief profile of each of the speakers, can be found here; and a PDF of the Powerpoint slides which were shown at the talk can be found here.

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