Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | PK Porthcurno | Paul Tyreman

Wednesday, 14th October 2020 at 5:30pm. Register your interest HERE.

Discussing the science and history associated with PK Porthcurno, formerly known as the Telegraph Museum.

About the talk

2020 was to be a year of great celebration at PK, being the 150th anniversary of the opening of the cable station, with many events planned at PK and the Minack and in Penzance. With Paul located in the Clore Learning Space at PK, we will begin with a brief look at significant events in these 150 years and a look at some of the basic science behind the Telegraph technology – perhaps with a demonstration without explanation to get everyone thinking.

Next we will find out how on Earth you go about finding a break in a cable that is hundreds of miles long and located on the sea bed. We will finish with a look at how the Internet is the same as the Telegraph the Victorians built – and the differences that allow the virtually instantaneous communication on which much of modern life relies.

There’s a lot more to Porthcurno beach than meets the eye.

About our speaker

Paul was a Science teacher in London and Cornwall for 26 years up to 2012. After a few years volunteering at PK Porthcurno (at the time simply called the Telegraph Museum), he became the Learning Facilitator in 2016, hosting school and other groups and running the monthly STEM Explorers sessions for 7 – 12 year olds – until Covid. He is currently working with his colleagues to see how these activities can be resumed.

Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | Seaweed Aquaculture in South West of England

Wednesday, 30th September 2020 at 5:30 pm. Register your interest HERE.

Dr. Carly Daniels and Dr. Katie Orchel will discuss the challenges facing seaweed aquaculture in the South West of England.

About the talk

Seaweed is a healthy, sustainable source of food with a large global market. The global seaweed industry is worth over $6 billion per annum (equivalent to approx. 12 million tonnes in volume), 85% of which is produced as food products for human consumption.

The algae cultivation industry is set for expansion in the UK, as the health and nutritional benefits of seaweed consumption become clear. Providing a sustainable source of protein, omega-3, iron, a range of vitamins and minerals and other key nutrients, seaweed is expected to play an important role in new diets, including the increased prominence of plant-based diets in reaction to new data on food-related carbon emissions.

Additionally, seaweed has many uses across different industries: the use of its bioactive compounds in cosmetics, nutraceuticals, bio-medicals and pharmaceuticals; as food additives and fertiliser in agriculture; and in the production of bioplastics, textiles and biofuels. These added uses and benefits make seaweed a prime candidate for sustainable product development.

Dr Carly Daniels (Department of Biosciences) and Dr Katie Orchel (Department of Geography) from the University of Exeter will discuss some of the technical and societal challenges that face development of the seaweed culture in the South West of England.

Cafe Sci

Virtual Café Sci | The Evolution of Sailing Dinghies | Reuben Thompson

Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 5:30pm. Register your interest HERE.

Reuben Thompson will be talking to us about how sailing dinghies have changed and evolved over the past few decades.

About the talk

What is a King George Jubilee Truss, and why was it banned for 15 years? How did a WW2 Bomber open sailing up to the masses? These are just part of the journey over the last 100 years as the sport of dinghy sailing has gone from a sedate pastime for wealthy gentlemen, to an exciting and accessible sport. How did we get here and where are we going next?

Whether you have a prior interest in sailing or not this talk aims to give an overview of the technological, material, and social developments that have influenced the evolution of sailing dinghies.

About our speaker: Reuben Thompson

I have had a lifelong interest in sailing and can usually be found somewhere near the water. After training at the Lyme Regis Boatbuilding Academy I worked for a number of years at Cockwells boatyard in Mylor, before completing an advanced apprenticeship in historic vessel restoration at the National Maritime Cornwall where I continue to work as their in house boatbuilder. In this capacity I care for the collection, keep the floating exhibits on the water and carry out restorations in the museums workshop gallery. Meanwhile I am studying towards a degree in naval architecture through Plymouth University.

Cafe Sci

Saving ESTER – the native Cornish oyster

A recording of this talk is now available on YouTube.

Chris Ranger will be talking to us about preserving native oyster populations in Cornwall.

About the talk

85-95% of the world’s native oyster population has been lost due to overfishing, pollution & disease. The Fal Fishery has possibly the last remaining naturally reproducing wild stocks.

But poor management and exploitation means it is heading in the same direction as all other U.K. fisheries. They all collapsed. 17 worldwide restoration projects are planned.

But sourcing native oysters is a major limiting factor.

In this talk, Chris Ranger (pictured below), explains how he has a back up plan with a micro hatchery, spatting pond nurseries and aquaculture research site, just in case.

Useful links

Fal Oyster Ltd. website | www.faloyster.co.uk

Fal Oyster Newsletter | http://eepurl.com/gR7V_T

Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC | www.falfisherycoopcic.co.uk

Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC Newsletter | http://eepurl.com/gEUdj5

Saving the Oyster crowdfunder | https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savingestertheoyster

Above: Oysters in a petri dish.

What is Café Sci?

A Café Sci typically consists of a short talk (around 20 minutes), followed by a Q&A /discussion which can last up to an hour. You are not obliged to stay for the full duration so if you’re pushed for time or just want to see the talk do please come along for the first half hour.

Cafe Sci

The Science Soap Box: Third Instalment

Wednesday, 26th August at 5:30pm. Register your interest HERE.

To end August, our break from regular talks, we are holding another Science Soapbox.

Join us for another discussion about the science that is important to you. This time, please let us know your topic of interest when registering through Eventbrite and we will circulate a list of topics before the event.

Introducing The Science Soap Box

What science-related story has caught your eye over the past year?

What seems to you really important?

This week, instead of Virtual Cafe Sci, we are opening up this space to all you, our audience, to have your say on any science-related item that you’ve found especially interesting, whether in the news, in the journals, or on the web.

You can tell us briefly, in the chat box, what you found; and why you think it matters; and we will then give you time on screen to make the case for why we should all be interested too.

After that, as with all our evenings, we will open the discussion to everyone else, to comment or ask questions – and so you may get the chance to expand and say more.

Cafe Sci

The Science Soap Box

Wednesday, 12th August at 5:30pm. Register your interest HERE.

Join us for another Science Soapbox where you can join the discussion about the science that is important to you.

Introducing The Science Soap Box

What science-related story has caught your eye over the past year?

What seems to you really important?

This week, instead of Virtual Cafe Sci, we are opening up this space to all you, our audience, to have your say on any science-related item that you’ve found especially interesting, whether in the news, in the journals, or on the web.

You can tell us briefly, in the chat box, what you found; and why you think it matters; and we will then give you time on screen to make the case for why we should all be interested too.

After that, as with all our evenings, we will open the discussion to everyone else, to comment or ask questions – and so you may get the chance to expand and say more.

Cafe Sci

When seabirds come to town

A recording of this talk will be available soon.

When seabirds come to town: How herring gulls make use of human behaviour.

About the talk

Herring gulls are becoming more common in urban areas, masking a national population decline but increasing the number of interactions this species has with humans. During encounters with humans, gulls must make risky decisions about when, where and on what to forage. Madeleine will discuss the behavioural cues gulls use from humans to inform their own behaviour, and how negative interactions between gulls and humans could be reduced.

About our speaker

Madeleine Goumas is a PhD student at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on the use of human cues by herring gulls living in urban areas.

Cafe Sci

Astrobiology: Investigating the habitability of martian salt crystals

A recording of this talk is available on YouTube HERE.

Astrobiology: Investigating the habitability of martian salt crystals. This will be a short talk followed by an in-depth Q&A and discussion.

About the talk

After repeated failed attempts in the 70s to find alien life at Mission Landing Sites, modern astrobiology attempts to narrow the search area by determining what exactly constitutes a habitable environment. In this talk, Dr Peter Morwool talks about the work carried out in his PhD investigating whether, and which, martian salt crystals might be capable of preserving life from an ancient, more habitable past.

About our speaker

Dr. Peter Morwool previously carried out a PhD in astrobiology at the Open University. He now works in the social evolution of biopesticides at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus.

Cafe Sci

‘The Grim Hell-Hounds Prowling’ – Myths and Realities of Cornish Wrecking

A recording of this talk is available on YouTube HERE.

In this Virtual Café Sci, Dr Cathryn Pearce will be addressing Cornish wrecking in the Long Eighteenth Century.

About the talk

‘…the grim hell-hounds prowling round the shore…’ – So poet and seaman William Falconer described the frightful crowds of wreckers plundered ships unfortunate to run aground on England’s coast in the eighteenth century. The malevolent reputation of wreckers was popularized and sustained through similar descriptions and rhetoric in Victorian novels, short stories and opera, and by sensationalised stories printed in local and national newspapers. Wreckers, too, are found in legends throughout Britain and Ireland. However, the stereotype became solely applied to Cornwall. But who were they, really?

In this presentation, Dr Cathryn Pearce, Senior Lecturer in Naval and Maritime History at the University of Portsmouth, will share her journey uncovering the reality behind the notorious wrecker. She may even mention that most notorious of charges, deliberate wrecking!

Cafe Sci

The Secrets of Ancient Trees

A recording of this talk is now available on YouTube.

Tim Kellet will talking to us about how a citizen science project revealed some of the secrets of the oldest trees in Cornwall.

About the talk

The values of ancient trees for biodiversity and culture. How a citizen science project reveals some of the secrets of the oldest trees in Cornwall.

The talk will show some of the special features of ancient and veteran trees and what they can reveal about our landscapes and culture. He will also talk about their protection and good management.

About our speaker

Tim Kellett is the chair of Cornwall regional group of the Ancient Tree Forum Ancient Tree Forum He is also the SW lead volunteer verifier for the Ancient Tree Inventory – Woodland Trust – a citizen science project run by the Woodland Trust.