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Science Technology
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Details of the Next Meetings
Meetings start at 10:00 am - please arrive by 09:50
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Coronavirus - U3A Science & Technology Group
All U3A HALL Meetings
Cancelled until further notice
Due to Coronavirus
If/when the situation changes …
Further information will be posted here
From May 2020 we will be conducting our
monthly meetings online using Zoom Meeting Room software.
See HERE for our schedule and below for details.
Online Meetings will still be on the
Third Wednesday of the month, starting at 10:00 am.
Meetings Now Online
Please see below …

16th February 2022 - Gareth Parry

Porthcurno - Cornwall’s contribution to Global Communications

In the late Victorian era, when Cornish miners and engineers had to leave Cornwall to work overseas, a new industry emerged in a remote valley in West Cornwall.  1870 saw the first undersea cable brought ashore at the quiet cove of Porthcurno.  The cable could carry telegraph signals to Bombay in India providing the first means of communication from London to remote parts of the British Empire.

By 1872 Porthcurno was a key telegraph station for the newly formed Eastern Telegraph Company and quickly became the focus for the rapid development of a truly global industry.  

By the mid 1920s, around fifty years later, the 14 cables at Porthcurno carried 70% of all international telegraph signals to and from the British Isles.  Cornwall was home to the busiest communication station in the world.  Not only did it play a hugely important role in both world wars in defence of this country, but it provided training for engineers from all over the world who manned the cable stations at remote islands or landing points across the globe.  

Cornwall is still a hub of communications for today’s advanced optical fibre cables.  Cables still come ashore at Porthcurno, Sennen, Goonhilly and Bude, carrying telephone and internet traffic to all parts of the world.

The first cables pulled ashore in 1870

15th December 2021 - Nick Ward

Lighthouses - and the Future Role of Marine Aids to Navigation

The presentation describes the development of lighthouses from the 18th Century to modern times. The purpose and functions of lighthouses are discussed, as well as the practicalities of their operation and maintenance.

Developments in the past few decades have made it practical to operate these remote installations with renewable energy and highly efficient light sources, so that servicing and maintenance is minimal.

Satellite navigation and other developments in radio navigation and communications have changed the way in which traditional aids to navigation are used, but they still have a function.

The presentation discusses the role of buoys, advances in electronic navigation and the pros and cons of virtual aids to navigation.

19th January 2022 - Rebecca Mack

Launching into the sea of Intellectual Property
                 - the journey of ideas to reality

The presentation will explain the role of a Patent Attorney, different types of intellectual property rights, how they may be used to protect an idea and how the idea becomes a reality.

People’s innovations can be considered an insight into the future, bringing new technologies to the market, or making improvements to products and systems that may change our lives. However, although the idea may come quickly, the journey to making this a reality is often a long process.

Focusing on patent protection, the presentation will explain how difficult it can be to secure a granted patent and why there is often a lag between a concept becoming a reality. Examples of some inventions that are on this journey will be given.

Rebecca will also mention her involvement in her role as a Volunteer Lifeboat Crew member.

16th March 2022 - Nigel Webb

Arctic Flora

[Awaiting details]

20th April 2022 - Phil Judkins

Science, Theft & Treachery - Part 2

Last time Phil told us about the daring wartime British commando raid on Buneval in Northern France in order to steal a German radar for examination by experts in Dorset.   This time: Science and Treachery, the story of of spies and agents on the Russian Front.

During the 20th century, scientific advances applied to military use could win or lose wars, and so were the subject both of espionage and of direct assault.

Dr Judkins scrutinises a classic example of assault and treachery.

On the Eastern Front, Russia and Germany were locked in a titanic struggle whose scale dwarfs conflict in Western Europe – but what is the almost unknown story of German spying on Russia, and of the German spy codenamed ‘Klatt’, Germany’s primary source of information on Russia. Why was he of such interest to the British at Bletchley Park? Was Klatt in fact a Russian double agent? A true story to match the fiction of John le Carré, with a stomach-wrenching final twist!