2013 Prestige Lecture

Monday 21st October

Prof Iain Stewart

50 shades of grey

Geologists are increasingly being encouraged to present their work to the wider public, and even to advocate more directly its policy dimensions. Yet how can we do that when, for most people, geology is about ‘stones’ and stones are ‘boring’?

This talk will explore how geoscientists can access the public and policy-makers in a myriad of ways, ditching ‘geo-facts’ for ‘geo-culture’ and switching from traditional communication methods to new alternative media.

6.30pm for 7.00pm start

Thinktank Theatre, Level 2

Millennium Point, Curzon St

FREE

 

Iain is Professor of Geosciences Communication at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science & Environment), Plymouth University.In addition to his academic publications, Iain has also regularly appeared on national television and radio, e.g. Volcano Live, BBC2, July 2012. You can read more about Iain on Plymouth University website or on Wikipedia. Keep up to date with Iain via his personal blog or follow him on his twitter account @Profiainstewart.

 

Prestige 2013

Second Volunteering Evening – Monday 3rd June 2013

To be held at Thinktank, Birmingham 17.30-19.00

(meet at the Giant Screen Cinema entrance/cafeteria)

A warm invitation to join the meeting is extended to:

  • All who attended the first volunteering evening at Gosta Green on 25th April
  • All who earlier expressed an interest in supporting the work of the Branch but who could not make the first meeting
  • The Branch Chairman, Secretary, and other Branch Committee Members
  • Anyone else who would like to contribute to the work of the Association.

The purpose of the meeting

The Branch Committee welcomed the contributions from the first meeting and would now like the volunteers to help develop a plan for two public events for the 2013-14 Branch programme. The essence of the meeting and the subsequent events are to help promote science, in the broadest sense, to the “community” at large. When finished the expectation is for the volunteers to present their plans to the Committee for inclusion in the overall Branch programme. The Branch Chairman, Secretary and other Committee members will be available for consultation through the planning stage.

At this stage each plan should be carefully thought through but with a concise summary. Each should address the following issues:

  • Nature and content of the event (including who will lead it). Why is this science important for the general public?
  • Target audience
  • How would you propose to promote the event?
  • Resources: finance, manpower, venue, equipment etc.
  • Risk assessment: what are the risks and how would you mitigate them?

Please come and join us on the 3rd June; further information can be obtained from the Branch Secretary, Anita Shervington at anitashervington@hotmail.com or from the Branch’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

The fact of the matter

26th March – An historic day for the physics of matter…

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of American physicist Carl Wieman. Wieman, along with fellow American physicist Eric Cornell, were the first to produce a true Bose-Einstein condensate, for which they won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics.

At the time, a Bose-Einsten condensate had never been produced, but the ability of this new state of matter to form had been predicted by Einstein way back in 1924. Einstein based this prediction on the calculations of Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose; Bose is also the namesake of the increasingly-popular class of particles, the bosons: particles which obey Bose-Einstein statistics.

Bose-Eisntein condensate is formed when separate atoms — Wieman and Cornell used rubidium atoms — are cooled to near absolute zero, causing the atoms to coalesce into a single quantum mechanical entity. Exciting stuff!

retrieve.cfm

This image shows the velocity-distribution data for the gas of rubidium atoms, which confirmed the discovery of the new phase of matter.

For a simple and easy to follow explanation of Bose-Einstein condensate follow this link.

For a more in-depth look at this matter (ahem), use this one.


This post was written by David Chapman, a committee member of the West Midlands Branch of the British Science Association. For more information on the Brach, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.