Welcome to the Knutsford SciBar Website

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

On Monday 5th November at our usual venueProfessor Nigel Scrutton, Director, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, School of Chemistry, Man University, will lead a discussion entitled Fuels of the Future.

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. We have had many ideas from the membership, and are following many of those up, but more are always welcome, so keep them coming.

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4th March 2019 – The Magic of MRI

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, has had to reschedule her visit to the SciBar.

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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.

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7th January 2019 – The Antikythera Mechanism

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?”

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3rd December 2018 – It’s About Time

Because of work commitments, our speaker originally scheduled for December has had to reschedule (to March 2109), but we are very fortunate to have been able to find an excellent replacement in Ian Morison, Emeritus Gresham Professor of Astronomy, who is going to give a talk called “It’s About Time”. In the talk, Professor Morison will explain how, over the centuries, we have measured the passage of time and how accurate clocks solved the ‘longitude problem’. How, with some difficulty, time can be synchronised across countries and, now, the world, before he finally describes the sequence of discoveries that showed when time began.

Those who have been coming to the SciBar from its inception may remember that Professor Morison has spoken to us twice before: in December 2005 (Hunting for Aliens), and in September 2005 (Titan Landing and Deep Impact). You can use the “search the site” facility to find a brief summary of both these talks which Dave Thompson wrote all those years ago.

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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.

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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:

https://www.stfcfoodnetwork.org/

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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