El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
This is a major disruption of the ocean/atmosphere system in the south Pacific Ocean which has devastating consequences for the weather in other parts of the world. Places that are normally arid may have floods and those that normally have high rainfall may experience drought. Freak weather conditions can occur in distant regions.
Continue reading El Niño – Vicki Billings
Although plants appear not to communicate by sound, they can communicate with plants and other organisms in many ways. Plants cannot run away, so In order to survive they are able to call for help, eavesdrop on neighbours, defend themselves and neighbours against herbivores and diseases, defend their territory, alert neighbours to drought conditions, recognise siblings and help each other out with nutrient transfer. Continue reading Can plants talk? – Angela Wall
Richard’s presentation on Special Relativity Part 2 began where Part 1 ended, looking at the experience of a person travelling at relativistic speeds. The visual effects are aberration of light from stars around a spacecraft, the Doppler shift and the so-called searchlight effect. The twin paradox of unequal ageing of travellers was briefly mentioned but this is properly in the domain of General Relativity. Continue reading The Special Theory of Relativity, Part 2 – Mass, Energy & Space / Time – Richard Jones
Prof Johnson had conducted a fundamental review of natural environmental services at the University of Liverpool in partnership with Merseyside County Council. He had held a lectureship at Liverpool, & had then been offered a chair at Imperial College, London. However, the Rio Tinto Company had endowed a personal chair for him at the University of Liverpool, following which he sometime later moved into the private sector as a consultant to the mining industry.
He had studied the estuaries & coastal waters, & particularly pollution of the Mersey Basin. High levels of toxic metals (Hg & Cu) had been found in the fish in these waters, with peak levels of Hg in ~ 1980 thru 2015. Discharge from local chemical industry was found to be the source of this pollution. There were also toxic organic pollutants (e.g. pesticides & PCBs) found in estuary fish. By comparison, the Dee estuary was much less polluted. Continue reading Is there life after industry? – Prof Michael Johnson
A couple of group members attended this interesting event. The presentations were:
- Prof. Ian Crawford (Birkbeck College) – “Where are the aliens?”
- Michael de Podesta (NPL) – “How do we know anything? And how can we know things better?”
- Catie Williams (UCL) – “Wild at heat but captive in gut: Exploring the effects of life in captivity on the gut microbiomes of re-released chimpanzees”
Bernard stressed that his talk would mainly cover the use of near-infrared (NIR), but also to some extent mid IR (MIR) & far IR (FIR); on the UV side, the talk would focus on Near UV (the UVA and UVB bands). Continue reading Science & application of photography in the infrared & ultraviolet – Bernard Foot
A couple of group members attended this interesting study day.
The speakers were Dr. Martin Hodson (Oxford Brookes University) and Dr Mary Miller (AgriculturalGenetics, Cambridge).
The talks given were:
- What is happening to our climate? (MH)
- The effects of temperature & rainfall on agriculture. (MM)
- The carbon dioxide fertility effect: friend or foe? (MH)
- Can genetic engineering help in food production? (MM)
Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was presented to the world in 1905. It had its origins in Scottish physicist J Clerk Maxwell’s work on the propagation of light. From experimental laws of electricity and magnetism he used mathematics to derive a formula for the speed of light which made no mention of what that speed might be relative to.
Continue reading The Special Theory of Relativity, Part 1 – Time and Distance – Richard Jones
We were treated to an excellent talk, “Biodiversity”, given by the environmental biologist, Dr Martin Hodson, a lecturer and researcher at both Oxford Brookes and Oxford Universities. After detailing the history of the study of biodiversity, Martin gave details of the current number of identified species (1.2M) and said that it was believed that 86% of species had not yet been identified. The number and distribution of plants and therefore other living species varied depending on the habitat, with regions enjoying warmer wetter climates, such as tropical rain-forests, supporting the greatest variety of species. 17 countries contain 75% of the world’s biodiversity with hotspots in the Sunda Islands, the Philippines and Madagascar, all areas which are undergoing substantial man-made environmental change. Continue reading Biodiversity – Dr Martin Hodson