Welcome to my world!

The reflections and comments of a resident in Southsea, Portsmouth, England.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Science is so much a part of our lives

As appeared in the Portsmouth View, October 2016

Looking at the programme of activities for the HG Wells Festival you can see how Portsmouth has given him much inspiration. The festival programme takes in everything from talks about Wells’ influence on popular culture and his passion for human rights to the latest scientific thinking on time travel and a creative writing and science fiction workshop.
Science is so much a part of our lives that we do not often realise. When you make a cup of tea and the dry leaves turn into a comforting brew in the cup, it is science in action. All that you have in our mobile phone is science. Science is all around us.

We do a lot at the university to encourage young people to study science. Sometimes it surprised me that we have to work so hard to do that. After all, science is really fascinating. Do we not wonder about how trees die down in the winter to come blooming in the spring? Or have we taken science for granted?

This month I urge you to engage your senses with the wonders of science. There are television programmes by David Attenborough and Professor Brian Cox we can all watch that talk about science. Portsmouth’s own resident, Professor Jim Al-khalili, is a professor of science engagement and he discusses scientists and their work on BBC Radio 4 The Life Scientific.

Discover more at the Portsmouth Cafe Scientifique monthly sessions. Held at Le Café Parisien, I organise these with volunteers from the British Science Association. Designed mainly to answer people's questions, this is the best place to start.

If you love a good argument, perhaps try the Skeptics in the Pub session. They are insightful for those with a bit more knowledge. This is also held monthly in Le Café Parisien.

Portsmouth’s graduate, Tim Peake, is currently the most famous science hero. He will be visiting the city next month to inspire school children. He is also giving a public talk at the Guildhall and if the tickets have not been snapped up, go and listen to him.

Of course, the university is home to many scientists. There are always events about science happening. Most of these are free, so there is no reason why you cannot take part.

Right now I’m planning a week long science programme for the British ScienceWeek in March 2017. There is so much fun in store!

Monday, 17 October 2016

Rare D-Day craft has found a home

Agreement has been reached on the final resting place of LCT 7074, the last Second World War Landing Craft (Tank) (LCT) in the UK, one of the last in the world, and a campaign veteran of the D-Day landings.
It has been announced that The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) is to work in partnership with Portsmouth City Council to locate the craft at the city’s D-Day Museum, an affiliate of The NMRN, in time for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 2019 when the transformed museum will be reopened.
The agreement is subject to funding but has been the long-held preferred option for the vessel. LCT 7074 was saved for the nation two years ago with the support of a £916,149 grant from the National Memorial Heritage Fund.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, Director General of The NMRN said: “It is the perfect place to display LCT 7074 and put it in the context of the D-Day story.
“Not only will it strengthen the D-Day Museum’s collection but it will be a powerful reminder of the important role this humble, but vital workhorse played in the success of D-Day. Also, importantly, her sheer size will amaze visitors since she was a 300 ton ocean-going vessel capable of carrying ten 30 ton armoured vehicles.”