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.

Mon 6th June 2016 – Paul Gow – University of Southampton – “Terahertz: making the invisible visible”

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Terahertz radiation is light which sits between microwaves and infrared light in what is known as ‘the terahertz gap’. Everyday items such as clothing, paper, plastics and ceramics are transparent to terahertz. It is also non-ionising – safe – making it ideal for use in security. With more and more research into developing ways of emitting and detecting this radiation, terahertz is being used in many new fields, such as; medicine, quality control, telecommunication and art conservation.
In this talk I will introduce terahertz light and why it is so unique and interesting. I will talk about the new ways this technology is being used in industry for manufacturing and quality control. I will give an insight into the cutting edge research taking place across the world and an idea of how this technology may become common place in our lives in the future.
Paul Gow is a final year PhD student in the school of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton. He is working in the Terahertz group developing new emitters and detectors. In 2014 Paul won the University’s first ‘Three Minute Thesis’ competition and in 2015 presented his research at the House of Commons as part of ‘SET for Britain’. Paul also takes part in many outreach and engagement activities, including the Light Express roadshow.

Mon 4th July 2016 – Dr Sylvia McLain – University of Oxford – “Science! What does it really mean to be scientific?”

Mon 1st August 2016 – Julie Wertz – University of Glasgow – “The secret chemistry of art: unravelling an age-old textile mystery”

Mon 7th November 2016 – Prof Marika Taylor – University of Southampton – “Black holes: Unlikely sources of enlightenment”

Mon 5th December 2016 – Roger Brugge – University of Reading – “About the Weather”


Mon 4th July 2016 – Dr Sylvia McLain – University of Oxford – “Science! What does it really mean to be scientific?”

From developing theories and defining natural laws, science is a human construct. How does it work? What can it solve? How do you think science works? What does being a scientist mean to you? We will talk about the history of science and its culture and the rise and fall of theories and laws and dicuss what science means to us in the modern age.

Dr. Sylvia McLain is a biophysicist at the University of Oxford, runs a research group in the Biochemistry Department and teaches at St. Peter’s College. She has an undergraduate degree in Zoology, a Masters in Education and a PhD in Chemistry. She is a failed house cleaner and fast-food server, and spends her spare time reading far too much and being altogether far too opinionated.

Mon 1st August 2016 – Julie Wertz – University of Glasgow – “The secret chemistry of art: unravelling an age-old textile mystery

The distinctive hue and renowned fastness of Turkey red textiles fuelled a massive industry in the West of Scotland in the 18th and 19th centuries, but in the 80 years since it was superseded by cheaper alternative dyes all firsthand knowledge of the process has been lost. Learn about the mysteries of Turkey red dyeing through archival research and cutting-edge chemistry.

Julie Wertz is a doctoral research student at the University of Glasgow studying and re-creating the historical textile dyeing process known as Turkey red. Her cross-disciplinary project, part of the University’s Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Scholarship scheme, is between the Centre for Textile Conservation and the School of Chemistry, with support from Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections. She gave the inaugural Jacob Bronowski Award Lecture for Science and Arts at the 2015 British Science Festival and has a bachelor’s degree is in chemistry and in French.

Mon 7th November 2016 – Prof Marika Taylor – University of Southampton – “Black holes: Unlikely sources of enlightenment”

In the last century, black holes have moved from being a disputed idea at the edge of physics to playing a central role in our understanding of the cosmos. They are also thought laboratories that illuminate theories of the fundamental laws of physics, and researchers are busier than ever trying to make sense of what they mean. Marika Taylor will present the story of black holes: what evidence we have for their existence, how they form, and what they mean for the future of physics.

Mon 5th December 2016 – Roger Brugge – University of Reading – “About the Weather”

The weather affects us all to a greater or lesser extent in our day-to-day lives.

Knowing the weather that is to come is, consequently, important and, on occasions, lives can depend upon such knowledge. Weather forecasting is a major international activity, involving tens of thousands people and many billions of pounds worth of equipment worldwide.

After a brief discussion of the history of weather forecasting, Roger will describe some of the principles of a numerical weather prediction model.

He will explain how a modern weather forecast is produced, from the taking of observations and their inclusion into a previous forecast to create the analysis (i.e. the current state of the atmosphere), which then leads into the making of the forecast. Mention will also be made of the role of the human forecaster and the methods used to verify forecasts.

Roger has been interested in weather since his school days, when he first began running his own weather station – a hobby he has maintained to the present day. He obtained a PhD at Imperial College studying atmospheric convection with numerical models, and has since made a career of using and developing computer models that simulate the workings of both the atmosphere and ocean.