Future Talks

All talks at Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street 7.15 for 7.45 unless otherwise advertised.

Licensed bar serving hot drinks, cakes and snacks. No charge to attend. Contributions welcome.

1st July  2019 “Driving-us-closer-to-greener-transport: sustainable lightweight composites” Professor Hom Nath Dhakal

The principle of Hom’s research is combining organic materials with plastics to create composite laminates.

The goal is to see these being used for products such as car bumpers and door linings. If you’re picturing a car partly made of plant fibres and imagining it would break if you blew on it, think again. Part of Hom’s research is about proving they have the necessary strength.

He and his team conducted several experiments to find out what happens to their materials when loads are applied. There are different mechanical properties to consider – from impact strength, to flexural strength, to fatigue – depending on what a biocomposite might be used for.

 Professor Hom Nath Dhakal is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering, University of Portsmouth, U.K. In addition, he is also a docent professor of bio-based materials at the faculty of textiles engineering and business, University of Borås, Sweden.
He leads the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing (AMM) Research Group within the School of Mechanical and Design Engineering. His principal research interest lies in the design, development, testing and characterisation of sustainable lightweight composites, nanocomposites, natural fibre composites and biocomposites including their mechanical (tensile, flexural, low-velocity impact and fracture toughness), thermal and environmental properties (dimensional stability under harsh environments).
He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), Chartered Engineer (CEng), a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (FIET), Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) (FIMMM) and a member of the American Society for Composites (ASC).
Professor Dhakal is the author/co-author of over 100 publications in the area of light weight sustainable composite and biocomposites which has attracted well over 2400 citations with an h-index of 22; i10-index of 41 (Google Scholar as of 24/05/2019); ResearchGate score of 32.66, and higher than 90% of ResearchGate members. He has successfully supervised many PhDs as a Director of Studies; and been an external examiner for many PhDs nationally and internationally. He is a member of international scientific research committees; established national and international industrial, professional and academic networks.

5th August  2019 “Designing cycleways” Helen Littler

Helen’s talk will discuss the science behind designing for cyclists – balancing the needs of these muscle powered machines against other road users. She will then show some cycling projects to demonstrate how these principles are applied to real life civil engineering.

2019 is the Centenary of the Women in Engineering Society, Helen will be briefly discussing the history of the society and its role today.

Hampshire born Helen has been cycling Southern Hampshire since she learnt to ride at age six. It was also around this point she decided to be a civil engineer. She is now a Chartered Civil Engineer at WSP, fulling her dream of designing infrastructure to get more people travelling actively.

2nd September 2019  – “Fungi are more than just soup: An appreciation of a poorly understood kingdom”- Dr Stuart Skeates

7th October 2019 “Not so fantastic plastic.” Prof Andrea Russell 

David Attenborough’s Blue Planet programme highlighted the problems with plastics in the oceans, but the problems with plastics in the environment have been known for quite some time. Prof. Andrea Russell, collaborating with Prof. Richard Thompson of Plymouth University, was one of the authors on the paper that introduced the term microplastics in the scientific literature back in 2004 in a paper called “Lost at Sea, Where is all the Plastic”.

In this talk we’ll have look at the problem with plastics. The more common plastics in use will be discussed. Then we’ll consider the role of recycling and composting and explore how microplastic fragments wind up in the natural environment. We’ll also consider where plastics are necessary to modern life and why total elimination of their use is probably not the answer to the plastics problem.

Andrea Russell is Professor of Physical Electrochemistry. Her research interests are in the application of spectroscopic methods to study the electrode/electrolyte interface, with particular emphasis on electrocatalysts and electrode materials for fuel cells, metal-air batteries, water electrolysers, and gas sensors.

Professor Russell obtained her BS degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1986 and then went on to the University of Utah to complete her PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry in 1989, with funding from the US Congress through a Patricia Harris Fellowship. She was then awarded an NRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to work at the US Naval Research Laboratory. She came to the UK in 1991, first holding temporary lectureships at the Universities of Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne. She was appointed to a lectureship in Physical Chemistry at the University of Southampton in 1997 and promoted to Professor of Physical Electrochemistry in 2007. In 2011 she was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in Chemical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Andrea’s research often involves the use of national and international facilities such as the Diamond Light Source, ISIS, and other synchrotron radiation sources in Europe and the USA. She is particularly known for her in situ and in operando X-ray aborption spectroscopic studies of electrocatalysts, with an emphasis on electrocatalysts for PEM fuel cells.

She is the author or co-author of > 70 refereed papers, including an invited review article and has chaired a number of international conferences and symposia, such as the Gordon Research Conference on Fuel Cells (2002) and a Faraday Discussion on Electrocatalysis (2008). She is a member of the EPSRC College, Chair of the Physical Electrochemistry Division of the International Society of Electrochemistry and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Higher Education Academy.

Andrea’s undergraduate teaching contributions are primarily focused in the first year of the Physical Chemistry course, where she lectures on equilibria and electrochemistry. She also delivers mathematics workshops and key-skills training as part of the practical chemistry module and lectures on ethical practices in science, engineering, and technology. At the postgraduate level she contributes to the electrochemistry modules and the Southampton Electrochemistry Summer Schools, both in the UK and abroad (Xiamen in 2009 and 2012).

She currently serves as the Director of Programmes for Chemistry.

4th November 2019 “Black holes as bubbles of fluids” – Dr Oscar Campos-Dias – STAG 

2nd December 2019 – “Gravitational wave astronomy” Prof Ian Jones – STAG

On February 11th 2016, something truly remarkable was announced to the world – the detection of gravitational waves from two colliding back holes.  Described as one of the greatest discoveries of the century, it confirmed a prediction made by Albert Einstein himself, exactly one hundred years earlier.  In this talk, I will describe why this really is a big deal, what is means for physics and astronomy, what else we have detected since, and what we might have to look forward to in the future.  The story will take us to some interesting places, involving lasers, super-precise experiments, and, of course, the black holes themselves.

Prof Ian Jones is an expert on astrophysical sources of gravitational waves.  He is a member of the Gravity Group in the department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Southampton.  He is also a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the group that in February 2016 announced the first ever detection of gravitational waves, confirming an outstanding prediction of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and giving us the most direct view yet of those most mysterious objects – black holes.