Welcome to the Knutsford SciBar Website

NEXT MEETING (NB Second Monday because of Easter)

Our next virtual meeting will be held on the 12th April 2021 at 7pm (virtual doors open at 6.30), when Professor Nigel Linge, University of Salford, School of Computing, Science and Engineering, will talk about 5G: “The Need, Technical Challenges, and Impact”. From more information see blog post below. Joining instructions will be sent out to everyone on the SciBar mailing list a few days before the meeting.

**** Coronavirus  ****

As previously explained on this page, back in March 2020 we cancelled all scheduled meetings up to September 2020, hoping that we would be in a position to resume “real” or live meetings from then. Obviously that wasn’t possible, and, having consulted the regular SciBar attendees, we started holding virtual Zoom meetings from September. We hope to resume “real” meetings later this year (2021), but obviously we do not yet know for certain when that will be allowable. If the aspirational timetable published by the government in its roadmap in February stays on course, we could have our first real meeting in July, but we think it may make more sense to aim for September 2021 anyway. Watch this space!

We do not plan to make charges for video lectures, although we may need to review this if we get more that 100 attendees (and Zoom charges go up) but we’ll cross that bridge when/if we come to it.

We are keeping the meetings on the same schedule (first Monday monthly) but one important change to note is that we have changed the start time to 7.00pm. Hopefully this won’t adversely affect anyone – it probably took at least half an hour for most people to travel and queue for a beer, and get a good seat, so it  probably won’t make much difference at the start, but it should mean an earlier finish (helpful for those who eat afterwards). People will be able to join meetings at 6.30pm, and they will be closed to newcomers at 7.00pm.

The joining instructions will be sent to everyone on our mailing list a few days before each meeting – they will not be published on the website. So if you are not on our mailing list, but want to attend the video conference, you will need to contact us via the contact form and ask to be added (which means you will be accepting our privacy policy as per GDPR).

As ever, we would like to hear any ideas for speakers, so please keep them coming.

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7th June 2021 (Zoom 7pm) – How Do You Observe 1.33 Billion Km3 of Ocean?

This question will be asked by Dr Matt Donnelly, Lead Data Scientist, UK Argo Programme. The oceans play a key role in the climate and provide a habitat for a wide range of marine life, but with an average depth of 3.7km and a surface area of 360 million km2, how on earth do you collect the data to understand its physical properties, how it moves, and how it supports life?

Find out about the robotic Argo floats used to sustain our observations of this dynamic underwater world.

Dr Donnelly is also the organizer of Kirkby SciBar.

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12th April 2021 (Zoom 7pm) – 5G: The Need, Technical Challenges and Impact

Prof Nigel Linge

Professor Nigel Linge, University of Salford, School of Computing, Science and Engineering, will be talking about 5G. From his website, this is what Nigel says about his talk: “In December 2017, the world took an important step forward in the development of the next generation of mobile phones when the first standard for 5G was published. The journey to this point began back in the 1980s when the first generation of analogue mobile phones was introduced. The move to 2G in the 1990s heralded improved communications and the introduction of data services. The third generation subsequently brought better Internet connections and then 4G offered high-speed broadband connectivity. This talk however, examines the latest moves towards 5G, what that entails and what its impact might be. The talk will explore why 5G is needed, how it differs from 4G, what technical challenges need to be overcome and which new applications and services will become available.” You can see more about Nigel on his website: https://www.engagingwithcommunications.com/index.html

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1st March 2021 (Zoom 7pm) – The Beginning of Everything

Dr Steve Barrett, Department of Physics, University of Liverpool will talk about the beginning of the universe. Several of us recently attended (virtually) Kirkby SciBar and saw Steve giving a talk about Black Holes, and were very impressed by his presentation, so we are very pleased that he is able to talk to us.

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1st February 2021 (Zoom 7pm) – Living with a Shrinking Nile for 6,000 Years:geoscience and archaeology in Northern Sudan

Prof Jamie Woodward, who spoke to us in June 2019 about microplastics in Manchester’s rivers, will return to talk to us about the Nile. More details to follow.

Jamie Woodward

Jamie Woodward

NB this talk was going to be given in March 2020, but unfortunately Prof Woodward had to attend an out-of-town conference that day. It was rescheduled for the summer, but had to be postponed again because of the pandemic. Fingers crossed for this time!

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4th January 2021 (Zoom 7pm) – Above and Beyond: Drones Are Changing the Way we Monitor Volcanoes

Dr Emma Liu, University College London will give this talk. Some background (taken directly from https://festivalofgeology.org.uk/): “Volcanology is undergoing an aerial revolution. Drone technology is changing the way we collect data across the geosciences, especially in fields that require measurements over large spatial areas or in potentially hazardous locations; not only can we see the Earth from a new perspective, but we can also collect measurements and samples from places that would be otherwise inaccessible. As global populations now live closer to active volcanoes than ever before, volcano monitoring – through measuring gas emissions or topographic changes, for example – is becoming increasingly important in today’s world. In this talk, I will introduce how aerial strategies are improving our ability to both monitor and respond to volcanic hazards, and how these approaches are being integrated into operational monitoring at volcano observatories around the world. Drawing on my own active research from volcanoes in Papua New Guinea, Hawai’i and the South Sandwich Islands, I will highlight how we are now pushing the frontiers of drone design and deployment to fly higher and further than ever before; targeting beyond-visual-line-of-sight flights at high-altitude active volcanoes.”

Dr Emma Liu
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7th December 2020 (Zoom 7pm) – 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.

NB this talk was originally going to be given on 2nd September 2019, but had to be rearranged to April 2020 due to an unforeseen bovine intervention, and then postponed again because of the pandemic.


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