This blog shows all our events, both future and past.
We have had requests for the slides from the Feb 2019 talk (link between oral health and Alzheimer’s) to be made available – a PDF version of the powerpoint slide presentation can be found here.
Our next meeting is on Monday 4th March 2019 at our usual venue, when Chris MacKenzie will give a wide overview on crime reduction in society in a talk entitled “The Science of Civic Crime Prevention“. For more details see here.
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 2019 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.
Invasive Plant Species – Bogeyman or Ecological Disaster?
Dr Arthur Broadbent of the School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester will lead the discussion.
“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.
Dr 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.
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.”
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.
He 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.
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.
For our first talk of the new year, Maurice Rushby, a retired chemical engineer with a strong interest in mathematics, will talk about the Antikythera Mechanism, which is (quoting directly from Wikipedia): “an ancient Greek analogue computer and orrery used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendar and astrological purposes decades in advance. It is a complex clockwork mechanism composed of at least 30 meshing bronze gears.” It was discovered in the sea in the early 1900’s, and is believed to have been constructed many decades BC.
Maurice has spent a lot of time researching this on the internet, and has put together a presentation. In his words:
“The Antikythera Mechanism is something which caught my imagination when I first heard about it. – A computer made in the years BC! It’s mechanical and not electronic, which is hardly surprising, and is programmable. It emulates the solar system and can predict things like a solar eclipse, many years ahead, giving not just the date and hour, but the colour of the eclipse. It’s mathematics includes the fact not only that the moon’s course is elliptical, but includes the precession of that ellipse.
There are the questions of where and when was it discovered, how did it get there? How was it understood/ and of course, who made it?”