Details will be published on this page as they become available
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.