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  • 01/2018: Space Engineering (M. Salter)

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

    Barn Room, Crown and Thistle (18 Bridge St, Abingdon OX14 3HS)

    TITLE: Space – The Ultimate Engineering Challenge

    Scientists have learnt a huge amount about the universe using scientific instruments on spacecraft – from constant observation of the Sun with satellites such as the Solar Dynamics Observatory, to pioneering journeys to distant objects like Comet 67P with Rosetta and the Philae lander.  But getting to these places is only part of the challenge.  Doing cutting-edge science in the harsh environment of space – millions of miles away from Earth with no human intervention – is no small task.  The talk gives an insight into some of the technologies that help us discover our universe, and the engineering challenges that must be overcome to make it happen.


    Mike Salter graduated from the University of Bristol and has spent the last 6 years working as an electronic design engineer at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory for STFC RAL Space.  Working alongside leading scientists and engineers, Mike has been responsible for the design and qualification of electronics for a range of spacecraft instrumentation including a low-noise UV spectrometer for the World Space Observatory and a visible-light camera currently installed on the International Space Station.  Most recently, Mike is now working to turn a novel method of gravitational sensing suitable for space flight, based on ultra-cold atom interferometry.

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  • 02/2018: Archeobotany (J. Meen)

    Place and Time: Thursday 15 Feb 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: Using Science to Reveal the Environments of the Past

    Archaeology is often perceived as taking place mostly out in muddy trenches, with no technology more sophisticated than a trowel. However, excavation is only the start in the journey to understand an archaeological site, and techniques with their roots in the scientific world play a vital role. Archaeobotany is the study of ancient plant remains. These may be grains of pollen, assemblages of seeds, or fragments of charcoal; all provide clues to what the environment was like in the past. Most interestingly for archaeologists, they can show us how people in the past were interacting with, modifying and exploiting the natural world. This talk will explore what archaeobotany is, how it is carried out and examine what it can be used to discover. In particular, the talk will look at how excavations in Abingdon have produced archaeobotanical data that can help piece together the environmental history of the town from prehistory to the present day.

    Speaker: Julia Meen

    Julia Meen has worked for Oxford Archaeology, a commercial archaeological unit, for over 10 years. As an archaeobotanist, she analyses the remains of plant tissues that have been preserved on archaeological sites, and uses this evidence to help interpret what the environment was like in the past. She has worked on sites across England and also in France, and her most recent projects have included studying waterlogged plant remains from the Oxford floodplain in advance of the new flood alleviation channel, and analysing kitchen remains from the Franciscan Friary uncovered during recent excavations on the site of the Westgate shopping centre. Julia studied for her BSc in Archaeology at the University of Reading before heading to Bristol University to undertake a Masters in Landscape Archaeology. In the past couple of years, she has returned to Reading to complete a part-time Masters by Research, as part of which she had the chance to explore her interest in how archaeobotanical remains can be used to identify brewing.



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