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The Science & Technology Group

Organising committee:  Tanya Dempster, Paul McKay, Bill Devitt - science@ashbyu3a.co.uk -

This group is for both people who have a general interest in science as well as those whose careers have been in this area. We meet monthly with talks given mainly by members on a mixture of science/ engineering topics, some science news, information about famous scientists, good YouTube ideas and even the occasional practical activity.
During lockdown we combined with Burton u3a Science Group to share Zoom talks.

Visits will be arranged to sites of scientific interest.

We meet at Ashby Alliance Evangelical Church in the jitty between Tamworth Rd and Avenue Rd, Ashby, LE65 2PW usually on the 2nd Monday of the month at 2pm.

Future programme

Mon 13th Jun2:00 pmAshby Alliance Evangelical Church. Colin Woodland - Breathing at AltitudeColin's experiences as an RAF Squadron Leader working at the Institute of Aviation Medicine in Farnborough to make high altitude flying safe.
Mon 11th Jul2:00 pmAshby Alliance Evangelical Church. Tim Phillips (external speaker) - Scales of CreationTim fits together the aspects of the physical world that science has revealed to us, with simple imagery, and without using big numbers.
Mon 8th Aug2:00 pmSummer BreakNo meeting this month
Mon 12th Sep2:00 pmAshby Alliance Evangelical Church. TBC
Mon 10th Oct2:00 pmAshby Alliance Evangelical Church. Bob Onions - 40 years a Geologist
Mon 14th Nov2:00 pmAshby Alliance Evangelical Church. TBC
Mon 12th Dec2:00 pmAshby Alliance Evangelical Church. Christmas special TBC

Monday 11th April.

Crazy Interstellar Rockets by Dr Julian Onions

Dr Julian Onions is a researcher and lecturer in the Astronomy Department of the University of Nottingham so was well qualified to talk to us about how we might travel by rocket to distant planets and stars. To compare the performance of various rocket options, he explained the term specific impulse using some scary maths, but was just how long, in seconds, a rocket engine could sustain an acceleration equivalent to Earth's gravity. A full range of options were reviewed, starting with gunpowder-driven fireworks and the solid rocket fuel for Saturn 5, to design concepts using nuclear reactors, the pros and cons of each system were compared. One drawback that tends to get overlooked is the inability to switch off or control many of the more powerful rocket engines, making landing an extremely hazardous task. The most extreme option that put aside all practical considerations, was the possibility of distorting space-time in accordance with Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, 'Warp' drive. In simple terms, this option causes 'space-time' to move towards you, rather than you moving through space! We finished with a light-hearted quiz to name various fictional rockets and space stations and it was amazing how many of these we could correctly identify.

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