Wednesday, 15 January 2020


9:15 Coffee available in Ellis Theatre Foyer
09:30 Welcome Memorial Hall
09:45 Climate Change – is it really real? Penny Tranter, Meteorological Office
Global ‘Climate Change' has created global concern. In this presentation we will look at: the causes, projected impacts, possible steps for mitigation and the need for greater understanding of climate change and greater global awareness of the issue.
10:45 Coffee Ellis Theatre Foyer
11:05 Fusion Power. Within our grasp? Robin Stafford Allen formerly Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
The world energy issue will be covered and then I will move on to showing what nuclear fusion is (power generation free from CO2 and nuclear waste) and how it is being researched using the machines in UK (JET) and the latest machine in France (ITER). I will endeavour to show the progress toward putting fusion generated electricity onto the grid within our lifetime
12:05 Buffet Lunch Adderley Room
13:30 The Circular Carbon Economy Professor Peter Edwards FRS, University of Oxford
Carbon will continue as a necessary component for our energy future – but – only with its continued use in a sustainable and circular manner. Our Carbon Economy must therefore become a closed loop, Circular Carbon Economy. The Circular Carbon Economy is the route to a world economy that is both restorative and regenerative
14:30 Societal Perceptions of Climate Change and Support for Low Carbon Lifestyles Dr Katharine Steentjes, University of Cardiff
The challenge set out by international agreements, to keep global warming to below 2°C, will require drastic changes to our lifestyles. This talk will examine current shifts in public perception and look at what motivates behaviour change. The aim being to understand psychological barriers and motivations to embrace low carbon lifestyles on both individual and a societal levels.
15 30 Closing Words; Tea Ellis Theatre Foyer
16:00 Departure
Penny Tranter
Penny Tranter is currently a Met Office Advisor working in Southwest England and is involved in providing professional meteorological and climate advice, primarily on severe weather, to emergency responders and planners. Penny has worked in the Met Office for over 35 years originally as a professional weather forecaster. Previous roles have included: national and international BBC weather presenter between 1992 and 2008, Meteorology Training Manager at the Met Office College 2008 to 2011 and a member of the successful official Met Office weather forecasting team for the sailing events in Weymouth during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Penny is a Chartered Meteorologist and a Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society. She enjoys sailing, powerboat instructing, swimming, walking, cinema, theatre, watching tennis, Bath and 6 Nations Rugby, and girlie weekends.
Climate Change – is it really real?
Global Climate Change is a major concern of the world today, and the foremost environmental problem of the 21st century. Climate is the weather averaged over a long period of time, usually 20 or 30 years; Climate Change refers to an increase in average global temperatures. Natural events and increasingly human activities are believed to be the source of the increase in average global temperatures, caused primarily by increases in “greenhouse” gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Human activities having caused most of the recent world warming by releasing such greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Although it is difficult to connect specific weather events to Climate Change, increases in global temperatures are predicted to cause broader changes, including glacial retreat, arctic shrinkage, worldwide sea level rise and changes to climates across the world. Climate Change is an emerging threat on a global scale, including to public health, agriculture, infrastructure, unsustainable communities, businesses and economies. Thus, global ‘Climate Change' has created global concern. In this presentation we will look at: the causes, projected impacts, possible steps for mitigation and the need for greater understanding of climate change and greater global awareness of the issue.

Robin Stafford Allen
Robin has a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, he also has an MSc in Bioengineering. He started professional life in the motor industry at Vauxhall/Bedford in Luton. Then worked for several years on the engineering of the first generation of MRI magnets and cryostats with Oxford Magnet Technology.
He joined Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE)in 1992, and worked in Cryogenics and in the Heating and Fuelling of plasmas. He spent a sabbatical six years as Director of Engineering for a small company on the Culham site designing and constructing a large 1-metre-bore special superconducting magnet for the AMS-2 experiment (a mass-spectrometer) which was launched on the penultimate Shuttle flight to the International Space Station. Until retirement four years ago he worked full time at CCFE on the mechanical engineering of the plasma-heating equipment for the ITER machine, and the British fusion research effort MAST machine.
He works part time for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and lectures part-time on Engineering at Oxford Brookes University.
Fusion Power. Within our grasp?
The world population is growing at an astounding rate, the standard of living is also rising, consequently the demand for energy is rising faster than the population growth rate. Currently the vast majority of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels. Reserves of these are finite; their contribution to Global Warming means we may face a serious food shortage, severe weather variations and loss of land mass if the climate changes radically.
Renewable energy sources provide only a few percent of the energy for the world and almost all renewable, with the exception of hydroelectric power, are “in addition” to power stations and not “ instead of” power stations and cannot be relied upon for “base-load” energy supply continuously.
Nuclear fission has contributed a significant amount to the base-load supply, but there are issues with this technology. Consequently Nuclear fusion, the process that powers the sun where hydrogen is transmuted to helium releasing energy in the process, is being examined.
Professor Peter Edwards FRS
Peter Edwards is professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Oxford University and a core member of Oxford Energy ( and a Fellow of St Catherine's College. He is the recipient of the Corday-Morgan Medal (1985), the Tilden Lectureship (1993–94) and Liversidge Award (1999) of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was awarded the 2003 Hughes Medal of the Royal Society for his distinguished work as a solid state chemist. In the spring of 2012 he was elected International Member of the American Philosophical Society; one of only four people from the UK in that year to be awarded this honour across all subjects and disciplines. He was elected as a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014.
The Circular Carbon Economy
The United Nations Environment Programme finds that global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels will reach 41 gigatonnes by 2040 – well above the 19 gigatonnes needed to keep global warming below 2°C. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions will only be solved by strong international collaborations with big fossil-fuel users and producers, notably China, the USA, India, and the Middle East. In this talk, I will outline our vision that carbon will continue as a necessary component for our energy future – but – only with its continued use in a sustainable and circular manner. Our Carbon Economy must therefore become a closed loop, Circular Carbon Economy
Major components to the Circular Carbon Economy will centre on :
  1. Transforming the greenhouse gas emitters; carbon dioxide and methane into valuable products;
  2. Stripping hydrogen from natural hydrocarbon fuels to produce carbon-free, “Green Hydrogen
  3. Converting carbon dioxide directly from flue gas emissions of power stations to fuels, high-value chemicals and electricity;
  4. Converting nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water to safe and sustainable energy stores;
  5. Deconstructing plastic waste to its constituent building blocks.
The Circular Carbon Economy presents the biggest opportunity for academia, industry, business and governments to make a positive impact on our planet. It is also the route to a world economy that is both restorative and regenerative.
Dr Katharine Steentjes
Katharine Steentjes is a Social Psychologist and currently works for the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations
at Cardiff University. She has worked on several international research projects examining public perceptions of environmental risks (such as climate change), policy strategies, energy solutions and psychological factors underlying these views. Katharine’s particular research interest concerns social normative processes surrounding climate change, how norms are communicated interpersonally and how society (might) shift towards more sustainable lifestyles. Having a focus on communicating research findings to wider audiences, Katharine has been involved in public engagement events, recommendation reports, launch events and policy briefings.
Societal perceptions of climate change and support for low carbon lifestyles
This talk will provide insights into public understandings of climate change and support for related solutions. The challenge set out by international agreements to keep global warming to below 2°C, will require drastic changes to our lifestyles. Recent public perception data shows that public concern about climate change has increased and the issues has gained prominence in the public discourse.
This talk will outline theories and empirical evidence around these current shifts in public perception and will also look at motivators of behaviour change. Thereby, we will aim to understand psychological barriers as well as motivators to embrace low carbon lifestyles on an individual level and on a societal level.
Joining Arrangements
Marlborough College is located on the A4 on the Western edge of Marlborough (postcode SN8 1PA). Parking (at no charge) is available on the Water Meadows pitch (see attached map) which is accessible through the gate (no 4) adjacent to the Memorial Hall and will be marked by a U3A ‘flag’.
Refreshments and Lunch
Coffee is available from 09:15 in the Ellis Theatre Foyer (No. 31 on the map) The formal events will begin at 09:30 in the Memorial Hall (No. 50)
Morning coffee break is from 10:45 to 11:05 again in the Ellis Theatre Foyer
Lunch will be from 12:05 to 1:30. Regrettably the space for buffet lunch at the College is limited to 110 people because of space restrictions (the College will be in full operation on May 5th) and places will be distributed on a first come – first served basis. You may opt not take the lunch in which case the fee is reduced by £5 and if all places for lunch are filled and you cannot be accommodated the £5 reduction will be applied too. (Marlborough College is generously subsidising all refreshments) Marlborough Town Centre is two minutes’ walk from the College and there are numerous places available for lunch from light (Food Gallery; Polly’s) to substantial (Rick Stein; Dan’s at the Crown). Please note that eating and drinking in the Memorial Hall is not allowed and attendees are requested not to wander about the College apart from between the Memorial Hall and the Ellis theatre.
After the last session and some closing words, tea and cake will be available in the Ellis Theatre Foyer from 3:30.
Please complete and return the accompanying Registration Form if you wish to attend the meeting.

U3A name and membership number
Phone or mobile number
Lunch Option
No Lunch Option (£5 fee reduction)
Dietary requirements (if any)
Mobility requirements (if any)
Payment (Bank transfer preferred)
Select one
Bank Transfer
Details Below
Details Below
Fee; £20.00 per person (U3A members only), fee includes attendance, car parking, coffee/tea and lunch. Subtract £5 if not taking Marlborough College provided lunch
Deadline for receipt of payment and booking forms is 17th April 2020.
Bank transfer to ‘U3A in Kennet’ Sort Code, 30-92-63 Account No. 42720960. Please use SID ‘your surname’ as the payment reference and email your registration form to
Cheque payment to ‘U3A in Kennet’ and send it along with your registration form to
Treasurer, U3A in Kennet
Westview Cottage
Lockeridge, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 4EQ

Friday, 10 January 2020

Plastics. Curse or Boon? 24 Feb

The Science and Technology Group have the privilege of welcoming back Averil for another talk after the famously successful talk she gave us on 25th November about Electric Cars.
This time she will discourse on the vexed and topical subject of Plastics.
She writes
‘What's the link between disposable nappies and flat screen TVs, between hair gel and saving the environment. 
This lecture looks at the often surprising things that Plastics can do and questions whether plastics are as bad as they are painted in the media’
Do we know what to do with all the plastic in our lives? Can we remove microplastics from the environment? Why are plastics not ALL recyclable?
This talk may be able to answer some of these questions.
It is worth looking at this link to see how remarkable our Speaker is and all the tasks she performs

So come to this talk on 24th February 2020 at 10am. 

Cost just £1.50.

Monday, 30 December 2019

The Definitive Guide to Internet Privacy & Online Security

The Definitive Guide to Internet Privacy & Online Security is another helpful web site that I urge you to read.

This guide offers lots of helpful information such as:

  • An excellent introduction to online privacy, including facts and information about who is tracking your personal data, and useful tips such as the 8 key steps you can take to keep your mobile and tablet devices safe when you’re using them online.
  • Extensive information for protecting yourself against phishing scams and fake sites, as well as advice about the threat of malware, viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware and many more potential hazards.
  • Useful advice on social media safety and security for everyone, including important steps parents should take to keep children safe when using social media and the internet.
  • Other practical and useful tips and resources to help keep your online privacy and personal data safe online.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft & Fraud

I have added a link to a very useful web site guide.

The guide covers key topics such as:

  • Information on the most common ways people’s identities and personal information are targeted and stolen online, including key warning signs that you might be a victim of fraud (e.g. loss of services on your utilities or unexplained payments coming out of your account).
  • Eye-opening stats about identity fraud: Did you know that in 2018 alone there have been 82,608 cases of fraud as a result of card details being cloned? That 95% of fraudsters directly pretend to be their victims? and that under-21s and over-60s are those most commonly targeted age groups for online fraud?
  • How to prevent identity theft: The top advice here includes safeguarding techniques like regularly changing your password, using two-factor authentication and avoiding public wi-fi among other useful resources.
  • The guide also looks at the impact of identity theft on mental health. Some startling figures reveal 60% of people feel extreme anxiety after being a victim, while 42% feared for the safety of their family members.
The link can also be readily found via

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Christmas at Stourhead 2019

Why not visit Stourhead between now and 30th December
Click HERE for all the details.
FAQs can be seen HERE
There is a charge to enter but FREE car parking.

  • What are the prices for Christmas at Stourhead?
  • All ticket prices apply to National Trust members and non-members.

  • Adult - ADVANCE £18.00 - ON THE DAY £20.00

  • Child (3-16 years) - ADVANCE £12.00 - ON THE DAY £14.00

  • Family* - ADVANCE £56.00 - ON THE DAY £64.00

  • *Family ticket: 2 adults and 2 children (aged 3-16). Children under 3 and carers go free.

  • All orders are subject to a single transaction charge. For tickets booked via SEE Tickets: £2.00 per transaction for print at home tickets and £2.50 for tickets sent by first class post.