Didcot First

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Talks start at 7.30pm on the third Tuesday of every month at Cornerstone, Didcot.

There is no need to book - just turn up! However, please be aware - should visitor numbers exceed the capacity of the venue, some people may be denied entry, therefore, do come early to get a good seat!

Each month we have a different speaker, and would welcome your ideas for topics or speakers.  The events are aimed at an audience aged 16+.

Whilst the event is free, we do ask for a voluntary donation to cover the cost of hiring the sound amplification that is required now our numbers have grown.  Donations will not be regulated - we're well aware that some will be able to pay, some will wish to overpay at some meetings and ignore the pot at others, and some may find it difficult to contribute in this way. 

Didcot First has been organising the Didcot Café Scientifique since 2010.  It is important to us because we have some really ground breaking and earth shattering science happening all around us: at Harwell, Rutherford, Culham, Milton Park, etc. and we want to help connect local people (scientists and complete novices) with what is happening in these places.

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  • Cafe Scientifique-The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission

    Cafe Scientifique-The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission

    19th December 2017

    Gaia is an ambitious mission by the European Space Agency to make a three-dimensional map of our Galaxy, the Milky Way. Gaia is measuring the positions and motions of over a billion stars with unprecedented (and almost unbelievable) accuracy, to the extent that it is necessary to account for the bending of light by the planets in the solar system in order get usable answers. Measurements from Gaia are so accurate that they give accurate distances to stars in nearby galaxies, something that has never been possible before. Data from Gaia are revolutionising astronomy as they allow us to understand the composition, formation and evolution of the Galaxy in exquisite detail. Dr Peter Allan is a space scientist and astronomer working at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). He did a PhD at Manchester University on the subject of black hole models of quasars and subsequently held research positions in astronomy at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and at Kitt Peak National...

  • Cafe Scientifique-Through the Looking Glass – micro adventures with materials

    Cafe Scientifique-Through the Looking Glass – micro adventures with materials

    21st November 2017

    Dr Alison Crossley is a senior research fellow in Oxford University, Department of Materials. Alison gained her first degree in Chemistry at Liverpool University and subsequently a Ph.D. in surface science under the supervision of Professor Sir David King. Alison then worked at Harwell for...

  • Cafe Scientifique-Understanding Patents

    Cafe Scientifique-Understanding Patents

    24th October 2017

    This talk will discuss a number of aspects of the patent system, for example seeking to explain why patent attorneys will transform a scientific paper into something written in a completely different language. Michael Butler graduated with a degree in materials science and then qualified as...

  • Cafe Scientifique: Why confidence in measurement is so important

    Cafe Scientifique: Why confidence in measurement is so important

    19th September 2017

     Our everyday life is peppered with measurements and we usually trust them without thinking. The petrol pump; our bathroom, kitchen and supermarket scales; tape measures; barometers; and thermometers that confirm a heatwave or provide an indication of health. These are, however, just the...

  • Cafe Scientifique-The evolution of radioactive waste management in the UK

    Cafe Scientifique-The evolution of radioactive waste management in the UK

    18th July 2017

    Radioactive waste has been generated from commercial nuclear reactors since the opening of Calder Hall in 1956. This talk will present a pictorial journey through the evolution of waste management practices in the UK to the present day including sea dumping, surface storage and the quest for a...

  • Cafe Scientifique-Origami and Its Engineering Applications

    Cafe Scientifique-Origami and Its Engineering Applications

    20th June 2017

    A Talk by Professor Zong Yhou, Department of Engineering Science, Oxford University. In recent decades origami folding, a traditional art form of paper folding, has been of increasing interest to engineers. It has been found that the formation of origami structures and the shape change capability...

  • Café Scientifique - Radiotherapy-cutting edge or out of date?

    Café Scientifique - Radiotherapy-cutting edge or out of date?

    16th May 2017

    A talk by Dr Martin Christlieb, Department of Oncology, University of Oxford. Radiotherapy has been in use for over 100 years, yet it is still a workhorse of cancer medicine. How does it work? Why is it still in use? And will we still be using it in 20 years? During May's Cafe Sci we will...

  • Café Scientifique - What the Frac...?!

    Café Scientifique - What the Frac...?!

    18th April 2017

    Café Scientifique - 'What the Frac...?!' a talk by Alun Griffin, a Petroleum Engineer Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a hot topic, especially with Government approval of Cuadrilla's plans for fracking at a site in Lancashire last October.  But what exactly does fracking involve?  ...

  • Café Scientifique - Felt tip fairies and grease monkeys - the curse of professional stereotyping

    Café Scientifique - Felt tip fairies and grease monkeys - the curse of professional stereotyping

    21st March 2017

    Café Scientifique - Felt tip fairies and grease monkeys - the curse of professional stereotyping. by Mike Ayre from Crucible Design at University Technology College (UTC) Oxfordshire Didcot First and UTC Oxfordshire are once again joining forces to arrange an exciting Café Scientifique talk at...

  • Café Scientifique - It is Rocket Science!

    Café Scientifique - It is Rocket Science!

    21st February 2017

    Café Scientifique - 'It is Rocket Science! A look at the challenges and technologies of satellites and space'We are delighted to announce that Mike Lawton, CEO of Oxford Space Systems is coming to talk at our next Café Scientifique. On earth, many engineering tasks are relatively straightforward...

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