106 members of 20 North West U3As met at the West Lancashire Investment Centre in Skelmersdale in March for a science day on “the contribution the North West has made to science and technology.”
Dr Peter Rowlands, a research fellow in the physics department at Liverpool University, has made a study of famous fellows of his university.
He talked about them and their work starting with Sir Oliver Lodge, whose work on electro-magnetic waves led to the invention of radio, and James Chadwick, who discovered the neutron, a theme continued to the present day as Liverpool remains a contributor to the detectors for the CERN large hadron collider.
Bob Roach of St Helens U3A, spoke of the life and work of Sir Joseph Priestley who discovered oxygen or “dephlogisticated air”, nitric oxide, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and nitrous oxide gas, as well as performing experiments which would lead to the discovery of photosynthesis.
Professor John Stanley, senior vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, is well known for specialised work in wrist and hand surgery at Wrightington Hospital in Wigan and for his design of replacement joints. He posed the question “Do we need science in surgery?”
Daniel Jubb spoke about his passion for speed and the projects he is creating to inspire young people to take up engineering and science as a career. As a small boy, Daniel’s Grandad, Sidney Guy, introduced him to rockets, the sort that go a long way up very quickly. A retired precision engineer, he so enthused the young Daniel that he is now involved in a major world land-speed attempt with his Bloodhound vehicle.
All the technology of this iconic project has been shared with schools, colleges and universities and the youthful entrepreneur shared his enthusiasm with his audience.
All in all, the event was very well received, and the speakers were complimented on their contributions – we all departed much wiser yet not much older!