Our November meeting, which was well attended, was held as usual at the Driftwood Spars Hotel St Agnes. Members were delighted that John Baldock, who is recovering well from his operation, was able to join us.
The talk was on 'The Solar System' this followed on from Octobers talk on Ancient Astronomy.
We saw how the arguments over the Earth and Sun centred models of the Solar System were finally resolved in the 17th century by Kepler and Galileo. Newton in the late 17th and early 18th century using his work on gravity was then able to provide a mathematical model for the Solar system that is still used today.
After an explanation of how the Solar System was formed, we had brief description of each of the planets.
A question and answer session followed.
The December meeting will be on Monday 10th December at 2pm. Members and potential members are welcome to join us for lunch, coffee, drinks etc at the Driftwod Spars beforehand.
The talk is titled 'Optics'. We will learn how Astronomers used scientific advances in the understanding of the nature of light to study the stars. We will also see some spectalular images taken by modern telescopes.
Bob Williams 01326 219334

John Baldock
(, 01872 554241)


Please note that the time and day of the meetings for 2018 has been changed to 10:45 on the second Thursday of month at the Victoria Inn, Threemilestone Coffee is available from 10.00 am.

Last month Arthur Willis gave an excellent personal view of the history of nuclear power in the UK reflecting on his 45 years working in the industry. The early development work that took place at Harwell and Windscale was for the production of plutonium. The UK established the world’s first civil nuclear programme, using a Magnox reactor at Calder Hall, Windscale in 1956. The following year the UK’s worst nuclear accident occurred at Windscale (renamed Sellafield in 1981) when a pile caught fire releasing the radioisotope Iodine -131 into the locality.
Arthur explained how each type of nuclear reactor worked and how the technology improved efficiency and power generation at each phase, from Magnox in 1960s, then AGR in 1970s and finally PWR in 1990s. Privatisation and break up of the CEGB brought to an end further UK development and resulted in French(80% state owned) and German companies now providing most of our electricity while our government was left paying for the expensive plant decommissioning and fuel reprocessing programme. A resurgence of our nuclear future with building plants such as at Hinkley Point C (PWR), Oldbury and Wylfa (ABWRs) is now in the hands of foreign companies. However, Rolls Royce are looking into developing small modular reactors(SMR) based on their experience of building reactors for our nuclear submarine fleet. Many issues remain including waste management, security of supply, cost, investment and ownership.
Much more detail can be found on the World Nuclear Association website (
On 8th November Roy Fisher talked about the ‘Health Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency’. here is the presentation:
There is an epidemic of chronic disease in our society that requires high levels of medication. As the content of magnesium in our food crops has declined since WWII and the availability and intake of refined and processed food low in magnesium has increased, the majority of the population are now at risk of magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is an essential cofactor for the functioning of over 300 enzymes in human metabolism. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are now common conditions that increase magnesium loss by the kidneys.  Also some of the commonly prescribed groups of drugs add to this renal loss. Unfortunately measuring blood magnesium is an unreliable test to identify mild magnesium deficiency as most of our body magnesium is locked up in bone and muscle.
Having a subclinical magnesium deficiency increases the risk of numerous types of heart disease, which is mainly going unrecognised by doctors.  According to the authors of 2018 review paper in the BMJ this condition should be considered a public health crisis that needs to be addressed. Measures to improve our dietary intake of magnesium and when we need to take magnesium supplements will be discussed.
There will not be a science meeting in December.

Finally I’m pleased to announce that Phil Carson has kindly agreed to help run the science group meetings.
Roy Fisher                  

For all activities, please check our Google Calendar to confirm dates, times and locations

Pat Harrod & Wendy MorrisGroups coordinator