Welcome to the Science & Technology Group, which is entering its third year in January! Its aim is to cater for those with a general interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (past, present and future!). We hope our talks and visits will be interesting and accessible to everyone and not just those with a technical training. Offers of talks and suggestions for future activities are very welcome.

Meetings are held on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 2.00pm in the Studio Room at St Elphin’s and should generally last about two hours. Those attending will be asked to make a contribution toward the cost of the meeting room, tea and coffee. Meetings will normally include a presentation by a member of the group plus some related DVD or other audio-visual material.

Everyone attending is also encouraged to bring along a short item (no more than one or two minutes) from the press / radio & TV / internet that has interested them over the last month. If you cannot think of anything, one of the following websites may provide something of interest.

BBC Science

BBC News - Science and Environment

BBC News - Technology

Science Daily

Science Musuem

Technology, Entertainment and Design - TED


If you need more information or would like to join the group, please contact the coordinator, Dave Puxley, by email by clicking on his name, or by telephone on 01629 593934.

Our recent trip to Jodrell Bank

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Taylor

Our programme for 2017 is:

24 January - Pete Skipper - "The Desertec Project"

Desertec is an international collaboration to generate electricity on an industrial scale in the world's deserts using proven renewable technology, especially solar, and transmit it via HVDC power lines.  The project has been able to demonstrate solar electricity production over a full 24 hour cycle.  If time permits, there will also be a video on "The Sun".

28 February - John Berry - "The Secret Life of Bar Codes"

John was involved as board member and chair of the UK and later world body responsible for the major system of bar coding for almost 20 years.  He also wrote a general book about the history, technology and organisation for the 40th anniversary a few years ago. This is a great opportunity to hear an external speaker who was involved in the development of a technology that we now see around us every day.

28 March - Ray Essen - Discussion on "What is Time (and who needs it anyway)?”

Please prepare to discuss one of the following topics:-

  • Time Measurement: From Sundials to Atomic Clocks
  • Uses of Time
  • How Many Seconds are there in a Metre?
  • How to Define Time
  • The Future of Time

25 April - Keith Bailey - "The History of the Internet"

The Internet is not a late 20th century phenomenon. J.C.R. Licklider, the first director of the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) at The Pentagon's ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency), used the term in the early 1960s to refer to a networking system he “imagined as an electronic commons open to all, ‘the main and essential medium of informational interaction for governments, institutions, corporations, and individuals.” 

23 May - Jeremy Taylor - Round Table Discussion - Science Stories this month

At the April meeting we will ask all members to commit to buying the next edition of The New Scientist  You have four weeks to consider which article to report on at this May meeting.  Each story will then be open to discussion which should allow everyone in the Group to take part and give a broad range of subjects.

(Note from Nick Binns: Derbyshire Libraries users can read magazines including New Scientist free of charge online (

27June - Dave Puxley - Discussion - "Little Green Men; Life on Earth & Other Planets"

What are the conditions necessary for life?  How do we know that something is alive or even define life?  New Earth-like planets are being discovered every month but is this too narrow a view of possible life forms?  Lots of questions but the answers are not as easy as they first seem!

25 July - Nick Binns - What Happens in a Heart Attack and what do you do about it?

What happens in a heart attack and what to do about it? Well would you know? What is CPR? Would you give a kiss of life? Where is the best place to have a heart attack? What really IS a heart attack?

22 August - Visit to Sheffield Industrial Museums (Kelham Island Museum and Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet)  

All day visit arriving at 10.30 am and leaving at 3.00 pm (provisional) - cost £11-50 including admission to both sites and guided tour at Kelham Island. 

Please emeil Dave Puxley if you would like to come. 

26 September - Penny Whitney - Drug Development

A brief look at initial research in finding and patenting a new molecule.  The Clinical Trial Process in establishing safety and efficacy of a new drug in humans.  The costs involved in taking a new drug to market.

24 October - In the Dark - Discussion - Black Holes, Worm Holes, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Absolute Zero, Anti-Matter. . . .

Come along and add any subjects that leave you "in the dark". Please pick two or three of the above and do a little home research beforehand. We will pool our failing grey cells to try to shed a little light in the darkness, with the aid of some video material. 

28 November - John Finch - DNA - The Thread That Makes Us

DNA testing is the latest big thing in ancestor research. We'll examine the science behind the claims, what it will and won't tell you, and who to spend your money with if you decide it's for you.

Plus film clips on DNA sequencing, etc.

December - No Meeting

Last updated on 6 November, 2017
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