11/2018: AGM & Talk: Quest for Beef Replacement (M. Springmann)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 15 November 2018 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: The Quest for the Best Beef Replacement

Livestock is a major driver of climate change, and red meat (including beef, lamb and pork) has recently been declared as likely carcinogenic by the cancer agency of the World Health Organisation. Against this backdrop, I evaluate a range of potential meat alternatives from nutritional, health, climate change, and affordability perspectives. The alternatives include traditional replacements based on legumes, nuts, tofu and wheat-based products, and also more recent products based on algae, jackfruit, fungus-based mycoprotein, and edible insects.

Speaker: Marco Springmann

Marco is a senior researcher in the Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention in the Nuffield Department of Population Health, and leads the Centre’s programme on environmental sustainability and public health. He is interested in the health, environmental, and economic dimensions of the global food systems. He often uses systems models to provide quantitative estimates on food-related questions. He is currently working on a multidisciplinary project focused on the analysis and management of animal products and their substitutes called “Livestock, Environment and People” (LEAP). (http://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/project/future-meat-and-dairy-fomad)

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10/2018: Deciphering the Past with Accelerators (J. Dopke)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 18 October 2018 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Deciphering the Past with Accelerators

In 1709, digging of a well near Mount Vesuvius brought up some old statues at large depth. This discovery led to major excavations happening around what was discovered to be the city of Herculaneum, covered during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. Particular interest fell onto a library discovered within the excavation site, holding hundreds of carbonised scrolls from the time of the volcanoes eruption. These well preserved artefacts may well hold secrets, we cannot otherwise know of, as few other libraries from the time are preserved to this day. 

Though much effort has gone into physical or “metaphysical” opening of these scrolls, to date there seems to be no viable method of making these objects accessible to scholars without destructive action. Within my presentation I will give insight into what has been done so far, and what is currently being looked at to make these objects readable through use of modern day physics and computing, as well as some of the unexpected challenges one faces when trying to make 2000 year old material readable.

Speaker : Jens Dopke

A physicist by trade I started studying at the University of Wuppertal, Germany in 2001. Given an interest in particle physics, I started early on development of electronics and systems providing for particle physics related measurements. This led on to me being considered an expert in design/installation/operation and after finishing my PhD on detector electronics development, I moved on to CERN, Geneva, to support operation and upgrade of the ATLAS Detector through the years of 2011-2014.

Currently I hold a staff position at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Chilton, working on future tracking detectors for the ATLAS experiment, as well as general technology R&D for future detector systems. On the side I invest time into my pet project, making ancient scrolls readable through use of modern day, non-destructive imaging.

In my spare time I like to teach maths at St. John’s College, Oxford, and demonstrate in undergraduate electronics labs. When all that is over, I tend to my relationship which usually involves a lot of hiking, favourably in the Scottish highlands, followed by a glass of single malt.

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09/2018: Chinese Medicine (K.H. Ang)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 20 September 2018 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Demystifying Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a history of more than 3000 years. The practice of this ancient art of healing is prominent in China, Japan, Korea, South East Asia and is also gaining popularity in the USA, UK and Europe. Much has been mentioned about validating Chinese Medical theories and practices using robust scientific approaches and clinical trials. It is vital to understand the philosophy of Chinese Medicine to enable better comprehension of its practices. In this talk, I aim to demystify Traditional Chinese Medicine, in the hope allowing us to see the science of this ancient wisdom and I will also illustrate the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine in modern medical practices and scientific pursuits.

Speaker: Koon Hwee Ang

Koon Hwee Ang is originally from Singapore. He graduated from a double degree program in Biomedical Sciences and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is a joint program between Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (China). During his internship in China, he became interested in the study of blood vessels and was later given the government-administered scholarship to pursue a DPhil in Medical Oncology at the University of Oxford, studying blood vessels in tumours. He is currently in his final year.

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08/2018: Geo Survey (B. Robbins)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 16 August 2018 from 19:00 for 19:30

King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Geophysical Survey Challenges in Adverse Weather Conditions

For more than five decades, geophysical surveys have been undertaken at sites across the world in diverse and challenging weather conditions. Objectives are typically to derive the Earth’s subsurface characteristics by measuring physical differences between rock types or physical discontinuities. Geophysics represents a class of non-invasive subsurface investigations, many of these technologies are traditionally used for hydrocarbon exploration. However, geophysical methods are also used in a variety of other engineering applications often at remote locations open to the elements such as construction sites for wind farms, power plants, airports and bridges.
With reference to a number of case studies Benedict will outline challenges presented by Mother Nature and site conditions by typical field operatives when collecting data and some of the considerations taken into account in overcoming them.

Speaker: Benedict Robbins

Benedict Robbins is a Project Engineer / Geophysicist in the Ground division based in Fugro’s Wallingford office focusing on non-intrusive onshore geophysical surveys. Benedict is a Geophysics BSc (Hons) graduate with MSc Carbon Capture and Storage, Edinburgh University. He has been one of the lead geophysicists for the Heathrow Airport Expansion site works currently being undertaken. Benedict has experience working in a diverse range of Fugro’s exciting site investigations across the UK and further afield.  Projects include:  High Speed Two Rail, Race Bank offshore Wind Farm, Sirius Minerals Mine, Anadarko’s LNG facility, (Mozambique) & Sinop Nuclear Power Plant, (Turkey).

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07/2018: Heart Plumbing (G. Douglas)

Place and Time: Abingdon, Thursday 19 July 2018 from 19:00 for 19:30

New Location: King Charles Room, King’s Head and Bell, (10 E St Helen St, Abingdon OX14 5EA)

TITLE: Plumbing problems – A heart story

In 1961 more than half of all deaths in the UK were due to diseases that affect the heart and circulation (cardiovascular disease). Improvement in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, such as lipid lowering therapies and new surgical interventions, have reduced this number by over three quarters. However, cardiovascular disease still accounts for more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK hence there is a pressing need to identify new treatments. Large population based studies comparing the DNA from healthy individuals with those who have cardiovascular disease have enabled us to identify new genes that have a role in this disease for the first time.  We are interested in new genes which have no known function as these genes have the potential to identify new ways to prevent or treat coronary artery disease. In my talk, I will walk you through the process we have used at the University of Oxford to identify candidate genes for cardiovascular disease from large genetic population studies and how we validated these findings using cell and animal models.

Speaker: Gillian Douglas

Gillian Douglas is a University Research Lecturer at the University of Oxford in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; she is also a Lecturer in Physiology and Pharmacology at Jesus College, Oxford. Coming from Glasgow, which has one of the highest incidences of cardiovascular disease in the country, Gillian has always had an interest in the mechanism behind this condition. She is currently working on understanding how two genes of previous unknown function affect the development of atherosclerosis (ie when arteries become clogged with fatty substances called plaque or atheroma).


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