Welcome to the Knutsford SciBar Website

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

Our next meeting will be at our usual venue on 4th September 2017 (no meeting in August). The topic will be Building Biological Batteries

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

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6th November 2017 – On The Face Of It

Surfaces and Interfaces in Chemistry, Physics and Medicine

Dr Andrew Thomas of the School of Materials, Photon Science Institute, The University of Manchester will be presenting this topic.

Andrew Thomas

Andrew Thomas

Every solid or liquid has a surface. We probably take this for granted, but the surface of a material is particularly special. It is via the surface that the material interacts with its surroundings; so the surface is where corrosion begins, and it is what governs whether a medical implant will be populated by cells, or will prevent bacterial adhesion. In the chemical industry, tonnes of catalyst material are used in a vast array of processes, and in many cases it is the surface which governs their effectiveness – more recently, novel solar energy harvesting devices have been developed which rely on functionalisation of the surface, and which transfer a charge across an interface. This talk looks at what makes the surface of a material different from the bulk, and how research takes into account the nature of surface chemistry and physics to carry out specific functions.

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4th September 2017 – Building Biological Batteries

This topic will be presented by Nick Fowler, a Biophysics PhD student at the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology.

In Nick’s own words: “Nature has had billions of years to evolve the various life processes that constitute life. As a result, these processes are very sophisticated. For example, consider photosynthesis. Photosynthesis exploits quantum mechanics to convert sunlight into energy, at ambient temperatures, extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and with oxygen as the only waste product. In my opinion, these life processes, as engineered by nature, outshine humanity’s best attempts to create environmentally friendly technology. We have a lot to learn from biology. Biotechnology is a rapidly growing field looking to do just that, by re-engineering biological processes to create products or technology, previously unobtainable or in a more environmentally friendly way. This talk will introduce enzyme catalysed fuel cells, devices which use enzymes taken from fungi or bacteria to generate electricity from hydrogen and oxygen, with only water as a waste product.”

Picture for Sept 17


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3rd July 2017 – Laboratory Support in Poisoning

Laboratory Support in Poisoning – a Clinical Toxicologist’s View

Dr Ian D Watson MSc PhD FRCPath FACB FIBMS DipMedTech CSci EurSpLM MCMI
Retired Consultant Clinical Biochemist

Dr Watson will give a presentation on ‘Laboratory Support in Poisoning’. This will cover an historical perspective, the analytical methods, examples of cases investigating live patients usually. Substance abuse may be covered.

Dr Watson says “This is not necessarily forensic as I was a clinical toxicologist”.

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21st June 2017 – Lymm Dam Geology Walk

Fred Owen will lead this walk on Wednesday 21st June – the longest day. Those coming should meet at Lymm Dam car park on Crouchley Lane (GR: SJ 683867; satnav postcode: WA13 0AS) at 18.15 for a prompt 18.30 pm start. Going along the A56 from Knutsford to Lymm, Crouchley Lane is a turning off to the left less than 100 metres before Lymm Church – the car park is about 50 metres from the main road off the right of the lane, and parking is free.

A few points (in no particular order):

  • There are no toilets after leaving the car park
  • Please be aware that the walk may not be suitable for those with impaired mobility
  • Participants take part at their own risk
  • Wear walking shoes and clothes suitable for the forecast weather – but don’t worry if the weather is bad – there is a Plan B – see below!
  • Insect repellent is highly recommended

Those eating afterwards must be at the Spread Eagle by 20.30. Google says that it is half a mile to the pub from the car park (where it is suggested you leave your car as parking in Lymm centre is not easy), and takes 9 minutes on foot – this is possibly a tad optimistic, but it should be less than 15 minutes. There are around 20 diners so:

  • Those eating MUST pre-order dishes direct with the Spread Eagle (tell them you are with the Fred Owen’s group)
  • Menu at http://www.spreadeaglelymm.co.uk/eat/
  • Contact the Spread Eagle using the phone, email details, or contact form, which can be found on the web-site
  • Pay individually on the night for drinks and food
  • Most importantly: REMEMBER WHAT YOU ORDERED!

As to the actual walk itself, it is about 2 miles in length, mostly on flat paths round the lake, with some short, steep bits up and some steep steps down. It is a relaxing evening walk with some geology and industrial history (based on salt) thrown in. The main geology is the underlying desert sandstone which has been carved out by glacial ice flowing south from the Lake District and N Irish Sea to form the valley occupied by the Dam. Most interesting are the glacial melt water channels and scallops carved into the sandstone outcrops near the dam. Fred will discuss their interpretation and how they were formed, and will highlight the extremes of climate in the same spot (hopefully not on the night though!).

Plan B…. in case of bad weather, no cancellation!

  • Fred has arranged for us to meet in the Snug in the Spread Eagle
  • He will give a presentation on the ‘Landscape of Cheshire’ or other geological topic of interest
  • We will dine as though we had walked (i.e. at 20.30)
  • Please honour your order or cancel in advance with the pub

If you decide to drop out, phone or email Fred (Fred’s contact details will be, or will already have been, emailed to all participants)


Posted in 2017, out_&_about

5th June 2017 – Mersey Gateway

Mersey Gateway

Keith Bold Portrait

Keith Bold will tell the story of one of the largest construction projects in the UK.

Work started on the Mersey Gateway Project on 7th May 2014 and in autumn 2017 a new six lane toll bridge over the Mersey between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes will open to relieve congestion on the ageing Silver Jubilee Bridge.

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29th May 2017 – Lions Centenary Fair

Play Day Rocket

Play Day Rocket

The photo above is from a previous big rocket event, held as part of Playday, organized by Friends of the Moor. Please note that Friends of the Moor have said they will NOT be running Playday this year.

Three Two One!

Three Two One!

Update (June 2nd): The Lions Fair was all round a very successful event. There were lots of activities, the threatened rain did not materialize, and, after a slow start, there were a large number of visitors. On the SciBar’s big rockets stall, over 70 rockets were fired at the moon, and we were able to publicize the SciBar to many local people who did not know about us. Below are a couple of photos from the day. Thanks to all SciBarians (and others) who supported the stall.

Lions Fair 1

Rocket launched!

Posted in 2017, out_&_about