This blog shows all our events, both future and past.
The next meeting is on Monday 7th January at our usual venue.
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 – 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 many ideas from the membership, and are following many of those up, but more are always welcome, so keep them coming.
Dr Arthur Broadbent School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester will give a talk entitled Invasive Plant Species – Bogeyman or Ecological Disaster?
“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? Arfe invasive plants really such a threat? And what does explain their unlikely prominence. Dr Broadbent will present you with 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, has had to reschedule her visit to the SciBar.
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.
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?”
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 2004 (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.
Professor Nigel Scrutton, Director, Manchester Institute of Biotechnology, School of Chemistry, Man University, will lead this discussion.