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.
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:
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”.
Professor David Brough, a researcher and senior lecturer at Manchester University gives a fascinating account of recent developments in the field.
David says “Inflammation is our body’s response to infection and injury. It is generally beneficial promoting resistance, repair and recovery. However, when the process of inflammation is not controlled properly it becomes damaging. This is the case during chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and after acute injuries such as stroke. There are many aspects of the inflammatory response that are not known. Through increased understanding of inflammation we may identify new drug targets that could ultimately reduce the severity of many diseases. My lab aims to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that contribute to inflammation.”
Just How Do Astronomers Measure Distances?
William Stewart, who is a founder member of South Cheshire Astronomical Society, will give this talk, in which he will explain how astronomers (from the ancients to modern man) measure distances within and beyond the solar system. It is a journey through history, covering everything from the size of the Earth and the Moon, our own Milky Way galaxy, to the size of distant galaxies. It was very well received at HLCO (High Legh Community Observatory).
What can Ancient Egyptian Mummies do for Modern Medicine?
Professor Rosalie David will lead this discussion – this is her resumé of what she will be saying:
“In 1973, the Manchester Egyptian Mummy Project was inaugurated at The University of Manchester with the aim of developing a multidisciplinary methodology to study disease in ancient Egyptian mummified remains; this utilises historical/archaeological data plus evidence provided by a range of medical and scientific techniques, to enhance our knowledge of disease, diet and medical treatment in antiquity. This research now forms the basis of the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the university, a unique facility for teaching and research in this specialisation. The talk will refer to studies at the Centre which compare evidence from the mummies with modern-day disease patterns – in parasitic infestations, atherosclerosis, and cancer – and will consider how effectively evidence from ancient bodies can provide a historical context for contemporary medicine. It will also consider ancient Egyptian pharmacy: did it produce any effective treatments, and how has it contributed to the modern world? “