DETAILED PROGRAMME OF EVENTS 2018-2019
All Talks and Meetings will commence at 2.30 pm and be held in the Chichester Room, Field Place, Worthing; unless another venue or time is indicated.
Visitors are welcome to attend all meetings; there is a charge for non members of £5 which includes tea/coffee and biscuits, members and spouses pay £2. To become a member see Membership under About Us.
Coffee mornings take place at 10.30am on the 3rd and last Thursdays of the month. Click here for full details…
|AGM and Talk||We plough the Fields and Clatter…
Sally will give us a layman’s account of steam ploughing engines as a hobby. She mentioned in conversation with a workmate an interest in steam traction engines. Through that conversation she was invited to join the crew of a 20 ton ploughing engine. This led to a husband, the acquisition of a Fowler ploughing engine in need of a complete rebuild, and experience of steam ploughing under competition and demonstration conditions.
This is a personal account of the hard work and rewards of the steam hobby and the magnificent ploughing engines that fed the country in the First World War, their working, and the people who maintain those few which escaped the cutting torch.
|Tues 25th September||Visit||Our visit to the Electricity National Control Centre has now been confirmed for 25th September. There is a maximum of 20 places available; a number signed up to following the announcement in the last Newsletter (before the date had been confirmed) but there are still some places available. The programme for the visit is as follows:
11:00 – 11:15 Reception and coffee.
11:15 – 11:45 Presentation 1 and Q&A
11:45 – 12:15 Presentation 2 and Q&A
12:15 – 12:30 Coffee break
12:30 – 13:00 Viewing Gallery
13:00 – 13:30 Refreshment
Please note that the ENCC is outside Wokingham and is best reached by car. Once we know who will be coming, Perry will share contact details so people can arrange to share cars.
Contact Perry Eastaugh: 01903 788858, email firstname.lastname@example.org before Saturday 8th September.
|Talk||Artificial Intelligence and the Two Singularities.
Calum Chace, author of The Economic Singularity and Surviving AI.
This talk is about the possibility that the first machine with human-level cognition may be created within a few decades. If and when that happens, it will be closely followed by the arrival of the world’s first super-intelligence, and humans will become the second smartest species on the planet. Some years or decades before then, intelligent machines may render most humans unemployable.
Calum Chace thinks these two developments are so radical that they both deserve to be called “singularities”, a term borrowed from maths to denote maximum transformation. They are, respectively, the technological singularity and the economic singularity.
The consequences of human-level artificial intelligence (artificial general intelligence or AGI) would be astonishing. The consequences of technological unemployment, if it happens, will also be profound. Both these developments could have wonderful consequences for us – or terrible ones. And the outcome is largely up to us.
|The Pavilion Field Place|
|Tues 13th November||Talk||Cooch Memorial Lecture: Nuclear Fusion – Within our Grasp?
Robin Stafford Allen FIMechE
We are facing a growing problem with energy for the world population, which is growing at an astounding rate and, as the standard of living is also rising, the demand for energy is rising faster than the population growth rate. The vast majority of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuel. This cannot continue indefinitely as oil reserves are finite and Global Warming means we may face a serious food shortage if the climate changes radically.
Renewables are providing only a few percent of the energy for the world and almost all renewables, with the exception of hydroelectric dams, are “in addition” to power stations and not “instead of” power stations and so 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, and so researchers are examining using Nuclear Fusion, the process that keeps the sun hot, as hydrogen is transmuted into helium, releasing energy in the process.
The talk will cover this world energy issue and then move on to showing what Nuclear Fusion is, and how it is being researched using the machines in UK (JET) and the latest machine in France (ITER). Robin will endeavour to show the progress toward putting Fusion generated electricity onto the grid, hopefully within our lifetime.
|Weds 5th December||Lunch||R.C.E.A. Christmas Lunch at Windsor Hotel, Worthing||Worthing|
|Talk||Getting ships there
The presentation will cover the changing faces of navigation and positioning systems for seagoing ships and the dominant influence of electronics and computers, and will touch on the future possibilities for greener propulsion power trains.
|Talk||British tanks in the First World War: an engineering and combat success but a procurement failure?
Lt Col (rtd) Geoffrey Vesey Holt MBE
The first tank, Mother, first moved in January 1916 and was a remarkable engineering achievement. Her children and grandchildren, the Mark IV and V respectively, enabled the return of surprise and success to the British Army at the Battles of Cambrai (November 1917) and Amiens (August 1918). The later battle inflicted a decisive defeat of the German.
The successful development of the first tank is due to a combination of leadership and engineering skills. Winston Churchill played a key role as did three engineers: d’Eyncourt, the Director of Naval Construction, Tritton and Wilson. However by the end of the war the British Army had almost run out of tanks due to a failure to maintain production.
|Talk||The History of Westland Aircraft Ltd
The history of Westland Aircraft covers the 70 years from its inception by ‘ironmongers’ Ernest and Percival Petter in 1915, though its fixed wing design and production period ending around 1948, and finally its far sighted decision to initiate helicopter production. It concludes with the infamous ‘Westland Affair’ of 1986 which has led to major changes in ownership. The talk will also include some of Bill’s own reminisces from 25 years with the company.
|Talk||The Loss of MH370 – what do we know; what can we learn?
Ian Gilbert, Avionics Consultant
On 08 March 2014, a scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, operated by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and designated flight MH370, went missing soon after a routine handover from the Malaysian Air Traffic Control to Viet Nam Air Traffic Control. The aircraft operating the flight was a Boeing 777-200 ER, registered as 9M-MRO. On board the aircraft were 12 crew and 227 passengers. Despite an extensive air and sea search, the location of the aircraft and occupants remains unknown. However, some debris has been recovered consistent with having drifted over nearly two years from the area in which impact is thought to have occurred.
The disappearance of Flight 370 has been dubbed one of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time. Since the time of the disappearance various scenarios have been proposed to explain the loss. Possible theories proposed include hijacking, crew involvement, and suspicion of the airplane’s cargo manifest; many unofficial theories have also been proposed by the media – most of which are fanciful.
The Malaysian Ministry of Transport’s final report from July 2018 was inconclusive, but highlighted Malaysian air traffic controllers’ failures to attempt to communicate with the aircraft shortly after its disappearance. In the absence of a definitive cause of the disappearance, safety recommendations and regulations of the air transport industry have been changed to prevent a repetition of the circumstances associated with the loss.
For many, the question remains: ‘how could an advanced passenger aircraft simply disappear in an era of instant, world- wide communications’?
This talk will try to explain the facts of what we know about the disappearance of MH370, as of today, and try to interpret those facts to give an indication of what might have happened to MH370. Inevitably, the audience may leave with more questions than answers.
|Weds April||Lunch||Spring Lunch