1st April 2019 – Eco Energy Production from Waste Biomass

In April, Mubashra Latif, who is studying for her PhD in the faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Chester, will talk about her research. Mubashra is being supported by the University of Chester’s Eco-Innovation Cheshire and Warrington project, investigating alternative feedstocks which might be turned into energy.  Particularly, how businesses could use special on-site biomass energy converters to generate clean power, cut their power bills and heat their own premises.

A range of feedstocks is being trialled, including animal and agricultural matter, to generate combined heat and power, with the aim of discovering which feedstocks work best to create electricity and heat (and therefore redirecting it from landfill). Mubashra hopes that she can also eventually use her research and energy expertise to benefit her home country of Pakistan, where one third of the population lacks the access to electricity which has become a basic life necessity in the 21st century. “I am really excited about this project.” says Mubashra “PhD research can sometimes remain as a thesis, so I feel very lucky to be somewhere where my research will be implemented in the real world to solve real world problems.”

Arensis – an internationally recognised British-based German energy company – is also involved in the research.  This pleases Mubashra and she is keen to continue working with Arensis, if possible, as it looks to expand internationally.  “Not only will I get my PhD, but this research project is also giving me hands-on experience of working for Arensis. Also, Pakistan lacks energy specialists, so I hope eventually to go home as an asset to my country, to be part of international projects going on in Pakistan that are internationally funded.”


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4th March 2019 – The Science of Civic Crime Prevention

Chris MacKenzie will give a wide overview on crime reduction in society.


This is not a talk about security of premises or personal safety; it’s about the old and new theories of why people commit crime. Only when we understand the problem can we develop an effective solution.

Chris retired from the police service after 30 years, having specialised in crime reduction for nearly all of his service. He spent his last 10 years as the Force Crime Reduction Advisor, training and supporting Crime Prevention Officers and advising on force and national crime reduction initiatives and policies.

After what he describes as a ‘wasted youth’, Chris discovered adult education and in his thirties was awarded a Master of Science degree in the study of Security Management. A few years later he qualified as a teacher.

MagnifierHe has written several books on volume crime prevention (burglary, personal safety, business crime, etc).  In the 2006 New Year Honours he was appointed MBE for his services in preventing crime.


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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; and a PDF of the Powerpoint slides which were shown at the talk 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 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.

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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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