3rd February 2020 – Astronomy in Flatland

Dr Colin Steele, from the Manchester University School of Mathematics will talk to us about how a two dimensional universe – known as Flatland – would work. This is an extract from Dr Steele’s website:

“In 1885, Edwin Abbott published a book called ‘Flatland’ which was about a two-dimensional world. The ‘hero’ was Mr A Square and other inhabitants included triangles, hexagons etc. Other authors have produced different variations on a two-dimensional universe. Such universes can be extended to include astronomy and this talk considers what astronomy would be like in a 2-dimensional universe. One significant change is that gravity is not inverse-square but is instead simply inversely proportional to distance. The shapes of orbits are different as a result. This talk will consider many aspects of astronomy in a 2-dimensional universe including orbits, seasons, eclipses, meteors, aurora etc. The talk will conclude by considering universes with alternative numbers of dimensions, 4-dimensional, 1-dimensional and 0-dimensional. It can be concluded that, other that the 3-dimensional universe, the two-dimensional is most interesting.”

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6th January 2020 – Multisensory Perception and Synaesthesia

Dr Clare JonasDr Clare Jonas has a PhD in psychology and used to be an academic who researched human perception. She is now a Science Communicator which she describes as “taking the complicated world of academic science and making it accessible to the general public.

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2nd December 2019 – The Pluto Story

Prof Ian RobsonOur discussion will be led by Professor Ian Robson, now retired but previously a Professor of Astrophysics, President of the Society for Popular Astronomy and Technology Director of the Edinburgh Royal Observatory.

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4th November 2019 – Made to be Measured

The revolutions in analytical science for the real time analysis of the human body

This talk will be given by Dr Tony Bristow (FRSC), AstraZeneca, Macclesfield

Analytical science has made an enormous impact on the understanding of the biological and chemical processes within the human body.

This has been achieved via the application of a vast range of techniques.

However, many of these approaches require off‐line analysis, where samples are taken from a subject, transported to a laboratory, prepared and then analysed.

A vision for the future would remove the need to take a sample and analysis would be carried out on an individual in real time, to provide an immediate measurement of the level of an analyte or analytes.

This presentation will describe some of the most exciting developments in real time measurement of the human body. From cancer diagnosis by mass spectrometry to real time monitoring of key clinical analytes using smart phone based devices, this incredibly exciting science will be described.

However, this does raise a final question. Will we be making everybody a home analytical scientist and what could be the implications?

Following the very informative meeting, Dr Bristow has provided a PDF of his talk which can be found here.

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7th October 2019 – Bog Oaks and Bog Bodies

Dr Jonathan Lageard, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies, Division of Geography & Environmental Management, Manchester Metropolitan University will tell us what has been discovered as peat bogs have been exploited.

Peatlands cover significant areas within the north-west and have suffered considerably through drainage and exploitation. One positive aspect of these interventions has been the uncovering of rich organic archive including bog oaks and bog bodies. Increasingly sophisticated scientific analyses of these archives have not only dated, but have also shed significant light on the nature of past environments and their human occupants.

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2nd September 2019 – Tribology – friction, lubrication and wear

John Anderson (Retired – National Centre of Tribology) will explain what tribology is.

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