An exploration of the UK unpaid carer's world


Science Group                             delicate-glass-sculpture-of-deadly-virus more                           A hidden page

Draft Newsletter item 

Link to be eliminated.  Numbers are for reference and will be eliminated.

Update 23:25 on 14 Feb

A more consolidated version appears below.  Pasting it in A4 format gives two sheets.  I have much more work to do to even reduce it to one.  Hope Chris can advise how much space is available.


1
It's almost impossible to write one short sentence which describes  science, there being so many aspects of it.  Science is the foundation of modern life and yet we take it for granted.  We can make an early split. Hard science and soft science are colloquial terms used to compare scientific fields on the basis of exactitude, and objectivity. Roughly speaking, the natural sciences are considered "hard", whereas the social sciences are usually described as "soft".  Hit a test tube with a rod and it pings.  However, people don't fit into test tubes.

2
It's reasonable to conjecture that the popular understanding of science involves fact, theory and experiment in order to understand things like medicine, technology and the universe.  More people might take off when hearing the word universe than the other two!  So far, the group may assume that hard  more than soft  science will be the group's focus.  In that case, we can set out the playing field and propose topics etc which could be of interest.

3
Before considering other aspects of science, emphasis will be made on the group deciding its topics and how the meetings will operate.  It will not be a 'back to school' group.  Youngsters today receive a very different science, one that assumes that they have and use the Internet.  From this we ask if our members want to use it.

4
What is considered hard science?  Depends on who you ask, but in general the hard sciences are considered to be fields such as: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, Geology.  These are main headings and can be broken down.  For example, physics includes astrophysics.  Newton, Einstein and Stephen Hawkings might enter your head at this stage.  The first meeting will explore member interests.  You wonder,  "Oh, will I have to stand up and present a project etc?"  Not at all.  Some might, according to general agreement. 

5
Not far away is the Malvern U3A which offers a similar group.  It's lucky in that it has expert tuition.  The course  notes for each session are e-mailed to course members. It covers historical astronomy and the celestial sphere, star maps, the seasons and basic orbital theory. Then progresses to Newtonian gravitation. It covers the solar system and all the planets within and their basic structure and planetary physics. Then the evolution of the universe including the very start – the Big-Bang.  Edited version from here  Our group may include such an expert and we wait and see.  However,  the plan so far is to discuss what we want to do.  If it means outside speakers, we can take it from there.

6
Fed up with this galaxy?  Thought experiments are mental concepts or hypotheses, often resembling riddles, which are used by philosophers and scientists as ways of illuminating what are usually very dense ideas. Most often, they’re used in more abstract fields like philosophy and theoretical physics,  Thereforeit's quite obvious that the only way we can visit a distant galaxy for a fortnight is by thinking it through!  The group can decide who will be invited to explain what we can't work out for ourselves.  That visitor will light the galaxy-bound rocket blue touch-paper!  We'll return five years younger!

7a
Once again, it depends on member interest.  Groups could feed each other with investigation topics.  We could link with other groups from time to time according to their wishes.  Examples might include the fact the early science was tied into philosphy and that continues today.  Ancient History - Archimedes - yes, the man in the bath.  He was an early scientist.  There's plenty more like him.  Computer Skills - Liaison with the Science Group could include helping members  to find answers to their questions and vice versa.  Current Affairs -When science generally, astronomy and/or physics are in the news, there could be combined discussion.  Environmental Affairs - When physics and the environment come within the same breath, the two groups could combine to reduce hot air. 

7b
Geology & Landscape  -  Explore the  difference between astrophysics and astrogeology of planets etc.  Modern History - Perhaps a combined meeting and a dual presentation.  One to cover the broad scientific 
advances from 1900 to today, the other to cover, say, how the World Wars revealed specific scientific advancement. Art - To return to a previous sentence - "Therefore, it's quite obvious that the only way we can 
visit a distant galaxy for a fortnight is by thinking it through!"  On canvas!  Our grandchildren may be painting pictures of holidays on Venus or Mars.  We can be guided by the Art Group when we paint time-travel!

8
In January we learnt about artificial intelligence and John could be invited to explain algorithms. They employ a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer or modern phone.  From there, the sky's the limit, literally.  And that doesn't limit us to ideas such as relativity, spacetime (very difficult stuff) and black holes (our rocket pilot will be told to steer clear).  However, helping someone to understand their smart-phone invoice may be extraterrestial!

9
The emphasis is on group members deciding what will be discussed and who will be leader.  External speakers can follow according to need.  Visits can be decided.  Liaison with other groups can be decided.  Over to you!

Alan Harrison

(Retired Prof - "soft" scientist)

A returning member after long family illness.



Here is the article without para numbers.  Longer paragraphs.  Few space between.


It's almost impossible to write one short sentence which describes  science, there being so many aspects of it.  Science is the foundation of modern life and yet we take it for granted.  We can make an early split. Hard science and soft science are colloquial terms used to compare scientific fields on the basis of exactitude, and objectivity. Roughly speaking, the natural sciences are considered "hard", whereas the social sciences are usually described as "soft".  Hit a test tube with a rod and it pings.  However, people don't fit into test tubes.
It's reasonable to conjecture that the popular understanding of science involves fact, theory and experiment in order to understand things like medicine, technology and the universe.  More people might take off when hearing the word universe than the other two!  So far, the group may assume that hard  more than soft  science will be the group's focus.  In that case, we can set out the playing field and propose topics etc which could be of interest.
Before considering other aspects of science, emphasis will be made on the group deciding its topics and how the meetings will operate.  It will not be a 'back to school' group.  Youngsters today receive a very different science, one that assumes that they have and use the Internet.  From this we ask if our members want to use it.

What is considered hard science?  Depends on who you ask, but in general the hard sciences are considered to be fields such as: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Astronomy, Geology.  These are main headings and can be broken down.  For example, physics includes astrophysics.  Newton, Einstein and Stephen Hawkings might enter your head at this stage.  The first meeting will explore member interests.  You wonder,  "Oh, will I have to stand up and present a project etc?"  Not at all.  Some might, according to general agreement. 
Not far away is the Malvern U3A which offers a similar group.  It's lucky in that it has expert tuition.  The course  notes for each session are e-mailed to course members. It covers historical astronomy and the celestial sphere, star maps, the seasons and basic orbital theory. Then progresses to Newtonian gravitation. It covers the solar system and all the planets within and their basic structure and planetary physics. Then the evolution of the universe including the very start – the Big-Bang.  Edited version from here  Our group may include such an expert and we wait and see.  However,  the plan so far is to discuss what we want to do.  If it means outside speakers, we can take it from there.

Fed up with this galaxy?  Thought experiments are mental concepts or hypotheses, often resembling riddles, which are used by philosophers and scientists as ways of illuminating what are usually very dense ideas. Most often, they’re used in more abstract fields like philosophy and theoretical physics,  Thereforeit's quite obvious that the only way we can visit a distant galaxy for a fortnight is by thinking it through!  The group can decide who will be invited to explain what we can't work out for ourselves.  That visitor will light the galaxy-bound rocket blue touch-paper!  We'll return five years younger!

Once again, it depends on member interest.  Groups could feed each other with investigation topics.  We could link with other groups from time to time according to their wishes.  Examples might include the fact the early science was tied into philosphy and that continues today.  Ancient History - Archimedes - yes, the man in the bath.  He was an early scientist.  There's plenty more like him.  Computer Skills - Liaison with the Science Group could include helping members  to find answers to their questions and vice versa.  Current Affairs -When science generally, astronomy and/or physics are in the news, there could be combined discussion.  Environmental Affairs - When physics and the environment come within the same breath, the two groups could combine to reduce hot air. 
Geology & Landscape  -  Explore the  difference between astrophysics and astrogeology of planets etc.  Modern History - Perhaps a combined meeting and a dual presentation.  One to cover the broad scientific 
advances from 1900 to today, the other to cover, say, how the World Wars revealed specific scientific advancement. Art - To return to a previous sentence - "Therefore, it's quite obvious that the only way we can 
visit a distant galaxy for a fortnight is by thinking it through!"  On canvas!  Our grandchildren may be painting pictures of holidays on Venus or Mars.  We can be guided by the Art Group when we paint time-travel!

In January we learnt about artificial intelligence and John could be invited to explain algorithms. They employ a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer or modern phone.  From there, the sky's the limit, literally.  And that doesn't limit us to ideas such as relativity, spacetime (very difficult stuff) and black holes (our rocket pilot will be told to steer clear).  However, helping someone to understand their smart-phone invoice may be extraterrestial!

The emphasis is on group members deciding what will be discussed and who will be leader.  External speakers can follow according to need.  Visits can be decided.  Liaison with other groups can be decided.  Over to you!

Alan Harrison

(Retired Prof - "soft" scientist)

A returning member after long family illness.




The draft included text from two more pages, also in draft format.  They will be edited for use by the group according to interest.

more on this draft here

ditto + more topics for discussion here


Depending on what is planned once the AGM is over, I could give a ten-minute presentation and distribute an A4 sheet once vetted.  A precis could go in the newsletter for absentees.  source here

One advantage of doing this is it gives an opportunity to gauge interest in the type of science proposed here.  If low, the revised newsletter article will summarise what emerges.  Science in everyday life?