Monday, 18 January 2016

Thought Provoking Lectures at the Open University

Year 11 and 12 Webber students were treated to 4 interesting and thought provoking lectures at the Open University on Monday 16th December 2015.


The first talk described the work of and OU scientist who had spent time studying the temperature of water near the ice shelves on Greenland. The effects of rising sea levels and the mixture of warm water speeds up the melting of the ice sheet. This was a really topical talk because of the flooding experienced in the UK recently as storm Desmond passed over.

Biology was up next and Dr Ellie Dommett gave a really good talk on Neuropharmacology. This is the study of drugs on the nervous system which proved to be useful revision for GCSE Biology Unit 1.

Geologist Simon Kelly gave the third lecture. He has studied large meteorite impacts and wanted to convince us that they are interesting and more than just a hole in the ground. He has studied the Boltysh crater in Ukraine that formed around 66 million years ago, it is 24 km in diameter. Patternist Succession in the crater have been confirmed by looking at pollen fossils. There is enough evidence to understand climate change in the world.

The final talk was from a volcanologist who studied a crater in Nicaragua. Her talk about the magma degassing process was useful as she talked about the process of being driven by concentration gradients in the gases. There is evidence and consequences of degassing crisis points. The gases coming off can damage the local area so farming (e.g. coffee growing) may be affected. The gases can devastate the plant life. When sulphur dioxide levels increase this increases the levels of acid rain which in turn contaminates drinking water pollutes water and damages the local flora.