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18th December 2019 - Richard Edmonds

The Great Bindon Landslide of 1839

The Great Bindon Landslide in the Undercliffs between Lyme Regis and Axmouth occurred during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 1839, creating Goat Island and the Chasm.

It is one of the most famous and celebrated landslides in the world, yet, to date there is no model or broad agreement on how it happened.

Now, new, free data from the Plymouth Coastal Observatory has allowed a new and highly detailed map to be made and, from that, model sections to be developed that might offer an explanation of how the landslide developed.

Despite the leaps in technology, accounts of the event, the earliest attempt to explain the slip and old images from the dawn of photography, have all played a part in creating the model which is still very much work in progress.

Richard Edmonds is a freelance geologist. Prior to that he worked with the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Team and ran the Heritage Centre at Charmouth. A keen fossil collector; his work on the landslide sort of happened by accident.

20th November 2019 - Richard Cottrell

John Snow - Pioneer in three fields of Medicine

John Snow (1813-1858) made significant contributions to physiology while still a medical student, and went on to become the founder of modern medical anaesthesia.

Perhaps his greatest achievement was to overthrow two millennia of medical orthodoxy and prove that water, not bad smells ('Miasma'), were the route of mass transmission of Cholera. Needless to say, he was vilified by the establishment until his death, when leading figures started to try to steal the credit for this discovery.

16th October 2019 - David Harris

Dmitri Mendeleev and the Periodic Table

One hundred and fifty years ago in 1869 a Russian chemist, Dmitri Mendeleev, was professor of chemistry at St Petersburg university. He published a textbook Principles of Chemistry which contained a section entitled ‘Attempt at a system of elements, based on their atomic weight and chemical affinity’.

With only 63 known elements, and no conception of atomic structure, it was no easy challenge to construct any system.

In this session we will explore how Dmitri managed to construct a table, what it looked like, and the significance to the development of chemistry, concluding with a look at the significance of ‘rare earths’ to modern society and the problems associated with their use.

Plus How Can Three Words Save Your Life?
John Hale will explain!