Our next meeting will be on December 4th . The debate about women in Physics continues so we will return to it briefly at the next meeting . I am thinking about talking about the Cell Biology an area in which I am particularly unqualified .So I will be learning on the job and it may that be those of you who have some background in Biology will be able to help me out . I hope to move one on in later meetings to DNA and stem cells.
We talked about the Nobel Prize winning work of Donna Strickland and noted that it is her work that enables the use of Lasers for eye surgery and other medical applications. We were bit surprised about the style of Evan Davis’s interview . We watched a video of Richard Dawkins talking about Physics .He postulated that our size leads to a lot of Physics appearing “counter intuitive”
We discussed the evolution of Artificial Intelligence from the fairly rudimentary start with “Expert Systems”.We noted that machine learning was the “game changer” .We discussed the ethical issues of healthy scans being used to train AI systems to spot anomalies in medical images .Laurence explained that he was really surprised at the progress which has been made in speach recognition
We talked about magnetism in the context of Maxwells equations and a little bit about magnetic materials.I hoped to show the video below but failed .It shows Richard Feynman being a bit difficult with an interviewer but the point is well made.I have also found a podcast about J C Maxwell which is well worth a listen.
We discussed the survival of International Space programmes in the face of political tensions.We watched a video of the launch of a Soyuz rocket with three astronauts aboard and destined for the International Space Station,we also watched a video about some basic every day activities on the Space Station.We talked about the evolution of battery technology and the possibility of electrically powered flight.
We talked about cyber security in very general terms and watched a video about the techniques which are used to influence us in cyberspace. It was claimed that these were used to influence the outcome of the US presidential election.We watched short video on “multiverses ” and then discussed whether we believed any of it.
Meeting May 1st
We talked about the encouraging trends in renewable sources of energy and then moved on to talk about GM crops. We watched the following video which argues the case against Science Denial quite powerfully.We talked about Science Communication and wondered whether new technology provides an opportunity for “early exposure” to difficult concepts .For example would the video interest a twelve year old ?
Meeting April 3rd
We watched the following talk and most found it disturbing.
We also discussed fracking and the fact that there seems to be vast amounts of shale under Surrey.
We also looked at a clip from Richard Feynman talking about how we can describe gravity but not say how it works.
Meeting March 19th
We watched this video and noted that this work seemed to provide a Scientific basis for many of the things which we see around us to do with ageing.
Whilst researching this video I was struck by the predominance of women Nobel laureates in the Biological Sciences.My daughter tells me that this is because they are “cleverer”,whilst this may well be true, I also remember that girls used to be pushed towards the subject in the 1960’s and wonder if this practice still lingers on. I will schedule some time to discuss items in the news and to discuss topics for future meetings. (I am thinking maybe one of us could go away and research a topic on our behalf.)
Meeting February 6th 2018
Due to some reckless diary management the meeting was cancelled ,instead a short video was posted with some “homework”,solution will be presented March 19th.
I have made a short video which continues the theme of “symmetry” (Apologies for production deficiencies) . I have called it” Physics for Old People” because with age comes a certain guile and the ability to take short cuts to the right answer .No worries if you can’t figure out the answer to my question, a lot of real physicists would miss this trick .
To view video click on arrow in the middle of the image below, when the it starts click on square bottom right to go to full screen, you might need to adjust the sound .When video ends presentation “escape” to exit full screen
Meeting January 2 2018
We talked a lot about symmetry,a little bit about “In Our Time” and Gauss.
For anyone who wants to hear the programme in full,here is a podcast.
We went on to discuss Emmy Noether and wondered why she is not well known despite the importance of her work .For those who missed the meeting or for anyone who wants to see it again here is the talk by Marcus Du Sautoy.
( When viewing the video click the little box bottom right to go to full screen and press “esc” to get back)
Meeting November 2017
We talked a bit about “quantum entanglement” and used two identical coins as an example .This video does it another way, the argument here is quite “dense” but I think it does conveys the strangeness of the quantum world (and the enthusiasm of the presenter). I will return to the topic from time to time until someone tells me to refrain.
There are two art groups Art Groups at Runnymede U3A,Appreciation led by Pat Kilminster and Exploration led by Maggie Alderman . This post has been set up to complement the activities of these two groups.
There is a wealth of material available on the internet which we can all access .What we are trying to do here is to initiate discussions around some of the video’s and perhaps engage with a wider audience than can be accommodated at the meetings .What we can’t do is serve tea. I think that we can however, generate some technical glitches of our own.
Here are couple of tips about playing the video.
To view the video, click on the arrow at the centre of the image,,to go to full screen click the [ ] symbol bottom right of video when it is playing, to return to normal size press esc key on your keyboard.
If we are content to accept that we are in the general purview of U3A members, it is likely that every now and then we shall have times of ill-health which will mean that we are unable to leave the house except to visit doctors, hospitals, therapists etc. I have just been through, and am gradually coming out of such a time, and I realise that apart from listening to music, radio or TV/DVDs I didn’t do much else.
I accept that when I was coping with the ‘acute’ stage it was hard enough to bear with the illness, so I would probably not have been able to do anything else, but could my personal assistant have found new things for me to listen or see? Could she have tapped into the National Resource Centre to find things of interest, rather than me watch constant re-plays?
Posted: 31.10.16 The author and moderator of this post is is: Hillary Stringer
Thank you for joining us . We are not sure where this project is going but the underlying thought is that if we don’t record our memories they will one day be lost forever .Our plan is to capture as many memories as we can and then set about categorising what we have collected. It seems that photographs are a good way of reviving memories so if can upload one with your comments we will and try and add it to the post . Most importantly however we value your recollections so please add a comment.
1.St Theresa’s,South Australia
2.Me and Keith,Dartford
3.Redland Teacher Training College,Bristol
4.Computing in the 70’s
Nostalgia is not what it was
iPad users, try Tap and Hold on the links to Open in a New Tab.
Posted: 31.10.16 The author and moderator of this post is is: Verne