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Science and Technology

Meeting Details

Meeting DayLast Friday in the Month
Time2.00 pm
FrequencyMonthly
LocationCastle Street Centre
Co-ordinator(s)Andy Carruthers & Ed Tipping

What we do

SEE REPORT BELOW FOR THE NEW KNOWLEDGE BANK

Our meetings consist of talks by a group member or guest speaker, or visits to places of scientific or technological interest. In the past year, the talks have included Cleaning up the Thames, Antibodies, Optical Illusions, and Earthquakes, while the most recent visits have been to the Barrow Waste Processing Facility and Croppers Paper Mill. We aim to cover all aspects of Science and Technology, and ideas from group members are strongly encouraged.

New members are very welcome.

A geological field trip

Reports

KNOWLEDGE BANK

Prompted by the absence of Group activity, we have decided to start a repository of interesting articles and websites, and a collection of recommended books. They will be accessible via the new Knowledge Bank pages.

The items will be contributed only by Group Members, although anyone will be able to access them.

We invite you to contribute! Please send your suggestions to contribute@southlakesu3a.org.uk

For Articles, provide the title and the web address. To ensure that copyright is not breached, we will not be posting the articles themselves (e.g. as a pdf), just links to the articles.

For Books, provide the title, author and publisher, and a few lines of description.

For Websites, provide the title and the web address.

Please also use the email account to send suggestions about the organisation of the Knowledge Bank pages, and to raise any issues about individual posts.

Best regards, and stay safe

Andy and Ed

CORONAVIRUS THREAT

Ed and I have been considering the situation with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic along with the advice from the government and have concluded that it is prudent to cancel the rest meetings going forward for the 2019/20 season.  Therefore, the meetings in MARCH, APRIL, MAY & JUNE will NOT take place.

We will be in touch in the summer to advise on the situation as to the meeting schedule.  In the meantime, we wish you a safe journey through life over the coming difficult months ahead.  Please take care and we look forward to seeing you all again in the Autumn, hopefully.

Regards Andy &Ed.

March 2020

U3A Science & Technology Group Open meeting, 31 January 2020 

Future of the S & T Group - REPORT

This document summarises what was said at the meeting, together with post-meeting comments by participants, and messages from Group members who were unable to attend the meeting.

At the end the Group Coordinators (Andy Carruthers, Ed Tipping) put forward their proposals for immediate and long-term actions.

Comments and suggestions from all Group members are very welcome.

 HOW TO RUN FUTURE MEETINGS

This was the primary topic for the meeting, prompted by the Coordinators’ recent difficulty in filling slots in the programme. Background information to inform the discussion was as follows;

We learned that such a situation is not uncommon in U3A Groups.

The Coordinators had drawn up a list of five possible ways to proceed, as follows.

  1. Continue as we are, hoping that more members will contribute.
  2. In collaboration with other local U3A S&T Groups, create a pool of talks that can be “traded”, thereby increasing the number of talks available for each Group.
  3. Invite shorter talks, several of which could fill a meeting slot.
  4. Foster a ‘learning’ structure, in which small groups collaborate on a subject of mutual interest, to produce a presentation.
  5. Split into more focused S&T Groups, within which members might feel more comfortable and willing to contribute.

Discussion points relevant to the current format (lecture followed by questions)

Group activities

Social implications, current science

 OTHER MATTERS

There was strong support for site and field visits, and a number of possibilities were offered. These included visits to Leighton Moss (bird reserve), Jodrell Bank, Sellafield, Ennerdale (rewilding project), Gilkes Engineering, geological sites, wind turbines, talks (e.g. Michael Mosley’s recent talk on diet), and a farm visit.

The idea of a primarily social meeting during December with a Christmas Quiz appeared popular. Each member might contribute a question (with the answer!)

The possibility of changing the day of the monthly meetings was discussed, and partly supported, but this would depend on available locations and times.

It was suggested that attendees should wear name labels during meetings

The possibility of holding debates about controversial topics was raised, but a way forward did not emerge.  

COORDINATORS’ PROPOSALS

There are many possibilities, and they cannot be introduced all at once. We think that the following actions would be supported by most or all members, and we will bring them in immediately unless there are objections.

  1. Provide guidance to speakers (see draft list at the end).
  2. Organize a Christmas Quiz, as an additional meeting in either December or January.
  3. Solicit ideas for site visits. We are happy to help with organisation, but we expect individual members, or groups of members, to take the lead.
  4. Solicit suggestions for topics, with no obligation on the members involved to deliver the talk.

In the longer term, we will ponder the following.

  1. Establish links with other U3A S&T Groups, with a view to exchanging speakers, on the basis of no travel expenses etc.
  2. Think about discussion of scientific events of the day at the start of each meeting. This could be for 10-15 mins, followed by tea/coffee, followed by the main talk. Volunteers would be needed to do this, and they need not be expert, just concerned / interested.
  3. Ask attendees to wear name badges.
  4. Ask members to provide information on their scientific expertise and/or interests.
  5. Ask people to identify themselves when asking questions.
  6. Change the meeting day, time and location.
  7. Investigate the possibility of obtaining access to published research material, by getting the Third Age Trust to fund journal subscriptions.

 

DRAFT Guidance to speakers

Provide a brief synopsis for pre-meeting circulation.

Be aware that members can find some things hard to follow, lead them in gently.

Keep the talk to 45 minutes or less, to avoid over-burdening the audience and to allow time for discussion.

Within the talk, identify points for discussion at the end.

Give suggestions for further reading etc.

 

February 2020

Next Meeting:    

28 February: The Golden Section - Bob Wells

As usual the meeting will be held at 2pm in the Main Hall at Castle Street Centre.  [New members please sign in and pay your £1.50, thank you]. 

The following list shows the expected future event content.  Anyone inclined to offer to present a talk in the future please contact myself or Ed Tipping should you wish to do so; thank you.

Future Meetings

Date Topic Leader
27 March The Geology of Cumbria Mike Dewey
24 April Radiocarbon  Ed Tipping
29 May Climate change Giles Archibald
26 June The psychology of human survival
- or, why we do daft things under threat
John Leach

January 2020

General Meeting 31st January 2020

This meeting is to discuss possible future directions. It is prompted by the continuing difficulty of getting speakers from within the Group.

We are of course very grateful to the members who regularly produce talks, but our current reliance on them is risky, and could easily lead to empty slots in our future programmes, or even the collapse of the Group. We should also perhaps remember that a key part of the U3A Mission is to “Promote the benefits of learning in later life through self-help learning”, which puts a duty on all of us to contribute.

Some possible solutions to this dilemma are as follows.

  1. Continue as we are, hoping that more members will contribute.
  2. In collaboration with other local U3A S&T Groups, create a pool of talks that can be “traded”, thereby increasing the number of talks available for each Group.
  3. Invite shorter talks, several of which could fill a meeting slot.
  4. Foster a ‘learning’ structure, in which small groups collaborate on a subject of mutual interest, to produce a presentation.
  5. Split into more focused S&T Groups, within which members might feel more comfortable and willing to contribute. 

Please come to the meeting on 31 January to discuss these ideas.

If you cannot attend, but have ideas or opinions, please send them to us by e-mail.  andyc-u3a@outlook.com, edtipping48@gmail.com

 

Future Meetings

Date Topic Leader
28 February The Golden Section Bob Wells
27 March The Geology of Cumbria Mike Dewey
24 April Radiocarbon  Ed Tipping
29 May Climate change Giles Archibald
26 June The psychology of human survival
- or, why we do daft things under threat
John Leach

 

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