Welcome to the Knutsford SciBar Website

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

Our next meeting will be on Monday 9th April 2018 (2nd is Easter Monday) at our usual venue, when the topic will be Bitcoin: a Personal Perspective on Database Technology, and will be led by scibarian Adrian Fisher. For more details, see here.

If you wanted to do a bit of homework before the meeting, here are a couple of links:


This is a recent Bloomberg article, which is very much an opinion piece and not scientific, and is also very American in style. A rather more factual and scientific  article can be found at:


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

PS If you check out the post for January’s meeting on cryptography (here), there is a link to a paper that our speaker Alan Daglish has written on a method of setting up very secure passwords.


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5th November 2018 – Fuels of the Future

Professor Nigel Scrutton, Director, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, School of Chemistry, Man University, will lead this discussion. Details to follow.

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1st October 2018 – Climate Change and Food: a Cosmologist’s Perspective

Professor Sarah Bridle returns to talk about food – a far cry from her “day job” investigating dark energy and dark matter as Professor in the Manchester University School of Physics and Astronomy! Motivated by the need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, she has diversified her research interests to applying her cosmology experience to agriculture and food research. In addition to her research applying astronomy image analysis techniques to earth observation data she leads the STFC Food Network+, which brings together STFC capabilities and food challenges. You can read about what STFC does here:


In her own words: “When my kids started school I started to think about the next 20 years and beyond. What will the world be like for them? What will I say when they ask me what I did about climate change? Would I be comfortable saying that I used my physics training to just carry on looking at the sky? I have buried myself in the research literature and will summarise the most recent results on food and climate change. I’ll explain the main ways food contributes to climate change, bust some myths about local and organic food, and suggest some ways food could be different in the future”.

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4th June 2018 – The Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project

What can Ancient Egyptian Mummies do for Modern Medicine?

Professor Rosalie David will lead this discussion – this is her resumé of what she will be saying:

“In 1973, the Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project was inaugurated at The University of Manchester with the aim of developing a multidisciplinary methodology to study disease in ancient Egyptian mummified remains; this utilises historical/archaeological data plus evidence provided by a range of medical and scientific techniques, to enhance our knowledge of disease, diet and medical treatment in antiquity. This research now forms the basis of the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the university, a unique facility for teaching and research in this specialisation. The talk will refer to studies at the Centre which compare evidence from the mummies with modern-day disease patterns – in parasitic infestations, atherosclerosis, and cancer – and will consider how effectively evidence from ancient bodies can provide a historical context for contemporary medicine. It will also consider ancient Egyptian pharmacy: did it produce any effective treatments, and how has it contributed to the modern world? “

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14th May (NB not 7th) 2018 – Seeing the Invisible

Observing the Dark Side of the Universe

Professor Sarah Bridle (Professor of Astrophysics, Manchester University, School of Physics and Astronomy) will talk about dark matter and dark energy. These appear to form the vast bulk of the universe, but we know little about them; Professor Bridle will tell us what experiments are being carried out to increase our knowledge of these strange elusive entities.


Professor Sarah Bridle

Prof Bridle obtained her PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK in 2000 and has been a Professor at the University of Manchester, UK since 2013, after research in France, Cambridge (UK) and University College London.

She has had prestigious awards in the UK and Europe including a Royal Society University Research Fellowship, the Royal Astronomical Society’s Fowler Award and European Research Council Starting and Consolidator Grants.

She is author of over 70 refereed publications which have over 3500 citations. Most of her work has focussed on trying to uncover the nature of dark energy using data from the biggest ongoing cosmological imaging survey, the Dark Energy Survey, which is imaging one eighth of the sky and measuring shapes and approximate distances to 300 million objects.

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9th April 2018 – Bitcoin: a Personal Perspective on Database Technology

Note the date of this talk – it’s the second Monday because April 2nd is Easter Monday. This talk will be led by SciBarian Adrian Fisher, who valiantly answered Chris Grice’s plea at February’s meeting for a speaker for April.

Adrian began developing systems in 1965 with IBM, and has subsequently been head of IT for FTSE 100 and 250 companies. Until recently, he has been active as an independent consultant. He has now started a personal blockchain project and will talk about  Blockchain’s key role as an enabler of crypto-currencies.

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5th March 2018 – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

This discussion will be led by Emma Vernon, of the N(ational) N(uclear) L(aboratory).  In Emma’s words: “The UK has expressed an interest in the potential deployment of Small Modular Reactor technology as a means to help address the energy trilemma – the need to ensure a secure and affordable supply of low carbon energy.  An SMR programme could represent the opportunity for UK nuclear companies to design, manufacture and build next generation reactors to meet this need, and complement the UK’s large scale reactor programme including existing and new nuclear build.

There are many different types of SMR but all face the same challenge – the need to prove themselves both from a technical and economic point of view. This talk will explore some of these challenges.”

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