What we're about

Explore the latest ideas in science and technology in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. Meetings are free and open to anyone with an interest in science and technology, subjects which have a profound impact on all of our everyday lives.

Currently, our events are all online using Zoom - though the hope is to move back to meeting in a café or a pub when circumstances permit, There are two types of events at the moment: Science Forays and Popular Science Book Discussions.

Science Forays are discussions (generally without anyone in particular identified as an expert) on a particular topic at the level of whatever information can be readily obtained online or in a good bookshop. Topics covered in the last year or so have included the Gaia Hypothesis, Cryptocurrencies and Global Warming. Topics are published beforehand and you are encouraged to read up in advance.

The Popular Science Book Discussions are just what they sound like. Generally, the books to be discussed are such as you might find in the Popular Science section at Waterstones.

You don’t need to be a scientist for either type of event! Just come with an open and enquiring mind.

Upcoming events (2)

Science Foray by Zoom - Exploring Mars: The Story So Far

With at least three probes en route to Mars, and at least one of those intended primarily to look for life or extinct life, this seems like a good time to talk about the story of the exploration of Mars so far. The idea is to have a discussion at the level of what information is readily available through Wikipedia and YouTube. This will be another event without a guest speaker, in which anyone with scientific knowledge or interest is welcome to participate. Here are some relevant Wikipedia links. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_missions_to_Mars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploration_of_Mars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Exploration_Rover https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_landing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Solar_System_exploration Here are some relevant TED talks and YouTube videos: https://www.ted.com/talks/joel_levine_why_we_need_to_go_back_to_mars?language=en https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-8ZWtLp8eE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4r1_HcRYmI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF1d75oY4Mw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdUxQRIAaEw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMdwO9UM9AE Here is a link to a relevant podcast: https://www.nasa.gov/johnson/HWHAP/welcome-to-mars The US Perseverance rover is expected to land on Mars (together with the associated Ingenuity helicopter) on 18th February. This link gives some details of how it will communicate with earth: https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/mission/communications/#:~:text=Perseverance%20will%20transmit%20images%20and,the%20Deep%20Space%20Network%20antennas. Here is a map of Mars: https://pubs.usgs.gov/imap/i2782/i2782_sh1.pdf Here are some stills and some video (sort of) of Martian dust devils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoU2sNCOa3I

Popular Science Book Discussion - The Cogwheel Brain by Doron Swade

This is the latest in a series of Zoom meetings to discuss popular science books. Here, 'popular' is being used in the sense of books one might find in the Popular Science section at Waterstones. This month's book is 'The Cogwheel Brain' by Doron Swade - a formed curator at the Science Museum in London and a recognised expert on the history of computing. The book describes Charles Babbage's struggles (together with Ada Lovelace) to develop a mechanical computer in the nineteenth century! Here are some YouTube videos which cover some of the material in the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSAXbsbiid0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlbQsKpq3Ak https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSkGY6LchJs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rtKoKFGFSM Here are some relevant Wikipedia links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Babbage https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytical_Engine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Difference_engine Here is a link to the relevant part of the website of a Computer History Museum in California: https://www.computerhistory.org/babbage/engines/ Here is a link to the website of a guy who has built Meccano models of the Difference Engine and of part of the Analytical Engine: http://www.meccano.us/ Here is a link to Ada Lovelace's translation of the paper written in French by Luigi Menebrea in 1842 describing Babbage's Analytical Engine idea: https://johnrhudson.me.uk/computing/Menabrea_Sketch.pdf Please sign up for this event only if you're confident of having time to read the book or view some of the videos.

Past events (32)

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