Welcome to the Knutsford SciBar Website

NEXT MEETING – 6.30pm for 7pm, 11th October 2021, The Angel, Knutsford

“A Story of Radioactivity: A Glowing Tale” – Dr Louise Natrajan, The Department of Chemistry, School of Natural Sciences, University of Manchester.

Please note that there will be a £2 entry fee (students free).

**** Coronavirus – the end??? ****

Some 20 or so people turned out for our first live SciBar for 18 months on September 13th. The concensus was that it was a success: a very good talk (“An introduction to Machine Learning – commonly known as Artificial Intelligence” by Paul Roberts); and those present were pleased to get back to near normal.

We have organized speakers for the rest of the year on the assumption that we will be having live meetings at the Angel – more details will be added to the website when available (if the Covid situation deteriorates, some, although not all, of them would be able to Zoom instead – fingers crossed it won’t come to that!). Details so far:

8th november:Getting personal – Individualizing Medical Care” – Professor Ian Wilson, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London

13th December: “Black Holes” – Professor Jeff Forshaw, Professor of Particle Physics, Dept of Physics, University of Manchester

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5th July 2021 (Zoom 7pm) – Tired of Listening? A journey Through the Sense of Hearing

Dr. Kate Slade
Dr Kate Slade

Dr Kate Slade from the Neuroscience of Speech and Action Laboratory in Lancaster University’s Psychology Department is going to talk about her work. This is what she says about her talk:

“Think back to a time when you’ve been in a café or restaurant with a friend, an environment filled with chattering people, yet somehow you are able to tune into a single conversation, ignoring all the other environmental noise. The brain’s remarkable ability to filter out irrelevant noise is known as the ‘cocktail party effect’. It is just one example of the extraordinary processes involved in understanding speech. Although we might hear with our ears, we ‘listen’, process, and understand sounds with our brain. 

“When hearing is impaired, the brain might have to work harder to de-code and understand sound signals received from the ear. This might affect how the brain works, and even cause people with hearing loss to avoid noisy social situations where listening is very difficult. There is evidence that hearing loss and social interaction may increase the risk of dementia, but that we can reduce this risk by alleviating hearing loss, and maintaining social interactions. More than ever social interaction is complicated and isolation is on the rise; what could be the impact of this pandemic on our hearing and memory function?

“In this talk, we will explore the sense of hearing from the ears, through to the brain. We will discover extraordinary ways in which the brain copes, and adapts when hearing is impaired, and what this means for our overall brain function. “

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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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10th May 2021 (Zoom 7pm) – Just a Second/Ancient Light

It’s two for the price of one in May, when Dr Steve Barrett returns to give two short talks: Just a Second, in which Steve explores what can happen in one second, and explains why we need leap seconds; plus Ancient Light: Large telescopes have imaged galaxies that are billions of light-years distant. Is it possible to capture an image of one of these very remote objects without a telescope? Steve alluded to this in the talk he gave in March when he referred to photographing objects travelling faster then the speed of light.

You can see details of all of Steve’s talks at: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~sdb/Talks/Outreach.html

Following on from Steve’s very entertaining talks on the 10th May, he kindly sent the following information:

You can download handouts of the slides of Steve’s talks here:
https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~sdb/Talks/Just-Second-KnSciBar.pdf
https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~sdb/Talks/Ancient-Light-KnSciBar.pdf

And video recordings of the talks are here:
Just a Second: https://stream.liv.ac.uk/s/fe4yvyx7
Ancient Light: https://stream.liv.ac.uk/s/8sq82hf6

And if anybody wants to have a think about the weird situation of light travelling through space that is expanding faster than light, here’s an analogy with a person swimming through water that is flowing faster than they can swim:
https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~sdb/Talks/Swimming-Against-Tide.pdf

Steve suggests that it takes a few minutes of quiet thought with a cup of tea for people to get their head around this rather unintuitive concept (the website administrator certainly found that a couple of cans of Brewdog did NOT help!).

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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

Following on from Professor Linge’s talk, here is a link to a paper on 5G and safety concerns: https://www.theiet.org/impact-society/factfiles/engineering-safety-factfiles/allaying-health-concerns-regarding-5g-and-exposure-to-radio-waves/ . Also, the triangle that Nigel showed as one of his slides was felt by several people to be very useful – it was created by the International Telecommunications Union as part of a presentation IMT-2020 NETWORK HIGH LEVEL REQUIREMENTS, HOW AFRICAN COUNTRIES CAN COPE. The specific page (14) of the presentation can be viewed here.

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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.

You can see details of all Steve’s talks (including this one) at https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/~sdb/Talks/Outreach.html

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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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