10/2021: Quantum Weirdness (M Weber)

Time and Date:
Abingdon, Thursday 21 October, 2021 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

This event will probably be delivered in person. Please check closer to the time. Anyone who was an active member of the society prior to the pandemic halting our in person talks, or who have joined this year, will have their membership honoured until January next year (2022). This means that for any members, this event is free! For guests, our original costs will be reinstated at £3 per person, free for under 18s. No booking required. See home page for COVID restrictions.

Title: Quantum Weirdness (TBC)

Speaker: Marius Weber

Marius Weber studied the Natural Science Tripos at Churchill College, Cambridge concentrating on Physics. He is now a PhD student at the university of Oxford at the Quantum Computing group of Professor Lucas. He is working on trapping single ions and manipulating them with lasers and microwaves to make a better (more reliable) quantum computer. He is also a non-stipendiary lecturer at Oriel College, Oxford.

09/2021: Malaria (C Williams)

Time and Date:
Abingdon, Thursday 16 September, 2021 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

This event will probably be delivered in person. Please check closer to the time. Anyone who was an active member of the society prior to the pandemic halting our in person talks, or who have joined this year, will have their membership honoured until January next year (2022). This means that for any members, this event is free! For guests, our original costs will be reinstated at £3 per person, free for under 18s. No booking required. See home page for COVID restrictions.

Title: The eternal struggle? The Battle Between our Immune System and the Malaria Parasite

Malaria is a devastating ancient disease which affected our pre-human ancestors and has been taking a terrible toll ever since. During this time, the parasites that cause malaria, have been constantly evolving to better evade our bodies defences and more recently to overcome our drug treatments. In this talk, Chris will talk about our long history with the parasite and will elaborate on the literal like and death struggle that goes on within our bodies, as our immune system tries to protect us. In addition, Chris will give an overall of efforts at the Jenner Institute to aid our immune systems and tip the battle in our favour.

Speaker: Chris Williams

Dr Chris Williams is an immunologist at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, where he works on clinical trials conducted to develop novel transmission blocking malaria vaccines, against the malaria parasites Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax. Prior to joining the Jenner Institute, he obtained his MSc at the University of Glasgow, before completing his PhD at the University of St Andrews, where he investigated potential drug targets in P. falciparum parasites. After which, he joined an Oxfordshire based Immunotherapy company, developing immune therapies against cancer.

08/2021: Math (V Neale)

Time and Date:
Abingdon, Thursday 19 August, 2021 from 19:00 for 19:30
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

This event will be delivered in person again. Anyone who was an active member of the society prior to the pandemic halting our in person talks, or who have joined this year, will have their membership honoured until January next year (2022). This means that for any members, this event is free! For guests, our original costs will be reinstated at £3 per person, free for under 18s. No booking required. See home page for COVID restrictions.

Title: Scarves, Symmetry, and Solving Equations

Through knitting, I’ve been exploring the symmetry patterns in scarves. How many different types of scarf pattern are there? And what does this have to do with (not) finding a formula to solve certain types of polynomial equation?Scarv

Speaker: Vicky Neale

Nicky Neale did her PhD in Cambridge about analytic number theory and additive combinatorics. She is now the Whitehead Lecturer at the Mathematical Institute and Balliol College at the University of Oxford. Part of her role is to be enthusiastic about mathematics with undergraduates, school students, and the wider public and she has a page about these activities. She has appeared on several BBC Radio 4 and TV programmes. Vicky enjoys mathematical craft of various types and has written two books, Why Study Mathematics? and Closing the Gap: the quest to understand prime numbers.

07/2021: Atomic Spy (F Close)

Time and Date:
Abingdon, Thursday 22 July, 2021 from 19:00 for 19:30 (change of date)
Abingdon United Football Club (Northcourt Rd, OX14 1PL, Abingdon)

This event will be delivered in person again. Anyone who was an active member of the society prior to the pandemic halting our in person talks, or who have joined this year, will have their membership honoured until January next year (2022). This means that for any members, this event is free! For guests, our original costs will be reinstated at £3 per person, free for under 18s. No booking required. See home page for COVID restrictions.

Trinity: A real life story of ATOM spies – How GCHQ exposed Klaus Fuchs, but the FBI stole the credit.

Trinity was the codename for the test explosion of the atomic bomb in New Mexico on 16 July 1945. Frank tells the story of the bomb’s metaphorical father – Oxford professor, Rudolf Peierls; Peierls’ intellectual son, the atomic spy and Abingdon resident Klaus Fuchs; and the ghosts of the security services in Britain, the USA and USSR. Frank has found new insights from MI5 files in the National Archives and documents of the FBI and KGB about Fuchs’ treachery. These reveal that in addition to telling the Soviet Union everything about the atomic bomb, Fuchs passed key information about the H bomb much earlier than previously realised. Frank has also discovered that Fuchs was not exposed by J Edgar Hoover’s FBI, as has been believed for decades, but by the cryptographers at GCHQ, He also solves a mystery of 70 years:  why did Fuchs’ colleague at Harwell, Bruno Pontecorvo, defect from his home in Letcombe Avenue to the USSR six months after Fuchs’ arrest?

Frank Close’s talk is based on two of his recent books: “Half Life – the divided life of Bruno Pontecorvo, physicist or spy?” and his latest, the highly acclaimed “Trinity – The treachery and pursuit of the most dangerous spy in history”, about atomic spy Klaus Fuchs.

Speaker: Frank Close, OBE

is Professor of Physics at Oxford University and a Fellow of Exeter College. He was formerly Vice President of the British Association for Advancement of Science, Head of the Theoretical Physics Division at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Head of Communications at CERN. He is the author of more than 200 research papers and two-time winner of the Association of British Science Writers award.