There is a great deal of activity at the moment in the Club and it is easy to loose sight of some of the up and coming events.
First we have the AGM on Wednesday 10th May accompanied by a talk by Will Harley on "The European Train Control System. This is followed by a "Tea Dance" in June and a visit to the Honda Institute in July. Details of these have been circulated to members.
John Green who has been overseeing all the successful events in this season is also with the Nailsea & Local District History Society and members may be interested in the talk occasioned by the Brunel 200 events and detailed in the advertisement below.
Angus Buchanan is the author of "Brunel - The life and Times of Isambard Kingdom Brunel" and an acknowledged expert on Brunel. He is Emeritus Professor in the History of Technology in the University of Bath.
Contributions from members are essential otherwise there is no material to edit. There is a very definite limit to my creative abilities. I am open to suggestions as to items to include. Reports on visits and on talks should provide the bread and butter items. Individual articles on subjects of prospective interest to members will also be most welcome. Between 3 and 1000 words, with or without pictures or photos please!
This is a call for papers and contributions for the next edition of the Newsletter. Do share your interesting experiences past and present with other club members. Your views may not correspond with the views of the Club Committee and we shall say so - but that is not a reason why they can not be published.Contact details are as follows:
Marcus Palmén 4 Knightcott Road,Abbots Leigh,Bristol BS8 3SB telephone 01275-372905
The Brunel 200 activities are in full swing and John Coneybeare our chairman, has taken delivery of the first two commemorative plaques that will be used to establish an Engineer's Walk in Bristol in a few weeks time during the Brunel 200 Celebrations. The walk will run from The Centre (St Augustines Reach) via 'W' shed and the Imax Cinema Building to Explore@Bristol the "hands on" science museum. Over a period of several years it is intended to celebrate the achievements of about 20 great engineers and scientists with local connections by erecting similar plaques. Biographies of Patterson and Russell are already available on the web site www.engineerswalk.co.uk.
Just in case the legends are illegible, one reads,
Naval Architect and Shipbuilder WILLIAM PATTERSON 1795 - 1869
ss Great Britain - first transatlantic liner 1838
ss Great Britain - biggest ship in the world 1843
sv Demerara - biggest sailing ship 1851
And the other reads,
Chief Engineer - Bristol Aeroplane Company SIR ARCHIBALD RUSSELL 1904 - 1995
Brabazon 1949, Britannia 1952,
The world's only supersonic airliner Concorde 1969
" Roman and Georgian Bath "
Talk by Bryan Amesbury
8 February 2006
I seldom if ever ask questions of the speaker at the end of his talk, not because I lack the questions but because I prefer to research them myself thro' books or now the Internet. Speakers like Bryan are capable of opening up completely new vistas for further knowledge.
This was Bryan Amesbury's second talk to us - I still cannot now walk through St.Johns Arch in Bristol without seeing the scratch marks on the walls and visualising Bryan's explanation of these on his first visit to us - The importation of goods into the walled city on sledges which scraped against against the side walls. So my expectations were high and justifiably so. The following screed is a summary of what I picked up from the talk and consequent researches
Bladud, son of Ludhudibras the 8th King of Britons, spent eleven years at Athens and returned home a leper. Because of his illness he was confined but escaped in disguise from his father’s court and came to a place called Swainswick where he was employed as a swineherd. In cold weather he saw his pigs wallowing in a mire. He found that the mud was warm and the pigs enjoyed the heat. Noticing that the pigs which bathed in the mire were free of scurf and scabs, and reasoning that he might benefit in the same way, he too bathed in the waters and was duly cured of leprosy. He revealed his identity to his master and returned to has father’s court where he was recognised and restored to his inheritance. He succeeded to the throne on his father’s death, whereupon he founded the City of Bath around the hot springs and built the baths so that others might benefit as he had done. He learnt to fly with feathered wings and but fell on the Temple of Apollo at New Troy and broke his neck having ruled for 20 years. His son was King Lear of Shakespearean fame.
Roman Aquae Sulis
Within 30 to 40 years after the Roman invasion in AD43 the springs were controlled and walled in, Mediterranean style stone buildings rose out of the former morass, using the beautiful honey-coloured stone from the surrounding hills, and lead from the Mendip mines for pipes and the reservoir and to make the Great Bath. They built temples and theatres and palaces and villas.
The city became the Holiday Camp for the legions and the roman administrators. Here they could relax from the power politics and every day stresses of the Roman Empire displayed so admirably by the 30 beheaded corpses excavated recently in York and shown in a "Timewatch" program.
It all lasted for some 400 prosperous years. Then, with the dissolution of the Empire and foreign invasions, it sank back into the mud, lying now some 10 to 15 feet below the present city, and in the fullness of time other cities were built over it. The remains of the Roman Baths, dedicated to the goddess Sul Minerva, are unsurpassed in this country. The Romans amalgamated Minerva with the local Briton goddess, Sul, and it is from Sul that Aquae Sulis took its name.
A Norman doctor turned churchman, John de Villula, bought the ruined city of Bath in 1088 for 500 pounds of silver. Instituted as the Bishop of Bath, Villula started building a great new cathedral on the burned Saxon abbey's ruins. With typical Norman ambition, the huge 100m-long cathedral was to be one of the largest in Europe. The present abbey occupies only its nave. Villula also extended the monastery, whose collegiate school was widely renowned for its scholarship. But most important was his interest in the therapeutic quality of Bath's hot springs. He ordered the baths to be refitted and built several treatment centres in the city. The wool trade and cloth-making maintained Bath's wealth. Although badly hit by the plague, Bath continued to prosper and the old city walls were rebuilt. Yet Villula's enormous cathedral was near ruined by neglect. Not until the 1499 was a new rebuilding started to a smaller scale as the last great medieval church built in this country. The Victorians have added false flying buttresses to the original perpendicular style of the church.
The great 16th century traveller John Leland was inspired by Bath's Roman ruins but not at all impressed by the hot water which 'rikketh like a sething potte', apparently. The waters fed four baths to cater for the many afflicted who came to Bath for their cures. King's Bath, built above the Great Bath of Roman times served the gentry once the cathedral and monastery were ruined. The Cross Bath on the other hand was foul. Contemporary accounts recoil in horror at the thought of diseased men and women bathing naked together while onlookers jeered and threw animals into the bath.
The baths themselves began to lose their glory; many complained that only the sick now came to enjoy the waters. The streets themselves were far from elegant. According to Bath's famous architect John Wood: 'Soil of all sorts, and even carrion, were cast and laid in the streets, and the pigs turned out by day to feed and rout among it; butchers killed and dressed their cattle at their own doors; people washed every kind of thing they had to make clean at the common conduits in the open streets ....'
Bath's population multiplied itself by well over ten times during the course of the 18th century. From a still small classic medieval city of just 2,000 souls, with its market place and many mangers and defensive walls, Bath was transformed into a fashionable metropolis of nearly 30,000 citizens in just 100 years.
Queen Anne's visit to Bath in 1702 provided the seed for the change. Amongst others Beau Nash, best described at this time as a gambler, saw his chance to make a fortune and set about transforming Bath into the kind of fashionable resort in which his gambling skills would thrive. Within just three years he had raised a considerable sum of money for the repair of Bath's woeful roads. Beau Nash and his great new city of pleasure and social elegance grew side by side. As Nash's influence increased, so Bath with its splendid new public buildings, orchestras and balls, began to rival London as the place to be seen and be seen in. Nash facilitated the Entertainment and Life of the new City but the infrastructure was provided by its Architect John Wood
John Wood the elder, born 1704 in Yorkshire, had a strong, almost mystical vision for Bath's future. On December 10, 1728, the foundations were dug for his impressive Queen Square and he went on to develop the simple magnificence of what are now known as the North and South Parades. With the city centre within easy walking distance, and yet another Assembly Room design by Wood in 1739, the development of the old Abbey Orchard catered for everything the visitor should need. His final masterpiece was the Circus, once again built on Barton Fields outside the medieval city walls after being rejected by the corporation. He demonstrated how a row of town houses could be dignified, almost palatial, by the use of uniform facades and rhythmic proportions. His classical principles of square unerring symmetry were followed throughout the Georgian city.His son, John Wood the Younger (1728-82), designed the Royal Crescent and the Assembly Rooms, and completed the building work on the Circus after his fathers death in 1754.
I hope this review does some justice to Bryan Amesbury's presentation.
This excellent little book was compiled by members of our sister club the Retired Chartered Engineers’ Club, Exeter to commemorate their twentieth anniversary.
The chapters record the lives and accomplishments of individuals who lived in and around Devon. There are some heavyweights of science and engineering in the book including Oliver Heaviside (physicist and electrical engineer), Thomas Newcomen (atmospheric steam engine), Charles Babbage (computer pioneer), and Frank Whittle (jet engine). Many other biographies are included of both familiar and less familiar names.
The writers, who are members of RCEC, recognise the enduring effect of these people on today’s world and hope others will be inspired to embark on engineering careers and become engineering pioneers of the future.
At our meeting on 12 April there were orders for 14 copies and these have been passed on to RCEC. If you would like a copy – the book is a paperback priced very modestly at £5 – please send me a note and I will place a further order after the AGM on 10 May. I will bring a copy to the AGM so that more members will be able to inspect the book.
CT A revolution in Medical Imaging
Talk by Kim Owen – GE Medical
8 March 2006
There was a good attendance of about 60 including a number of guests and prospective members to hear this talk. Kim’s job is providing clinical and technical information on the range of GE Healthcare CT scanners to Hospital Consultants, Managers and Radiographers throughout the South West and the Midlands.
Godfrey Hounsfield invented Computerised Tomography in 1970. He built a machine with an X-ray tube that fired X-rays through a subject to a detector on the opposite side. The x-rays differentiated between various body tissues that the detector converted into a picture of lighter or darker areas. The x-rays were concentrated in a beam and the whole device rotated about the subject making it possible to compute a picture of a thin slice of the subject. Using a bull’s brain, the prototype could produce a picture in this way in an hour.
By 1972 the EMI company were producing a commercial machine with a narrow beam that could produce a picture in seconds. GE took over the business and they introduced slip ring technology in 1989. This permitted continuous omni-directional rotation so that images could be produced of many slices. Beams were made narrower (to less than a millimetre), rotational speeds increased, matrices of detectors were introduced, and colour pictures computed. Soon it became possible to scan the volume of a whole body in 10 seconds producing several hundred images of slices. Using greater computational power and refined software the multiple images of slices can be converted into a single three dimensional picture.
Scanning can be used to,
Detect abnormalities either in individual patients or mass screening
Establish rates of deterioration by scanning at intervals
Investigate internal damage eg bone fractures
Work out procedures for surgery eg heart surgery
Monitor the responses to treatment eg tumour shrinkage
CT is now commonly used for investigations of the liver, lungs, intestines, pancreas, kidneys, blood vessels, brains etc. Many procedures that were considered very advanced just a few years ago, for example barium meal for colons, and catheterisation for heart investigations, are being replaced. The greatest impact is in cardiac conditions that are now a major killer in the UK and growing. CT scanners are now available in every accident and emergency department and advanced machines are available to nearly half of cardiac consultants.
Kim covered a lot of ground in a very short time demonstrating considerable presentational skills and a vast knowledge of scanner engineering and clinical procedures. She patiently answered the many questions that were put to her. A major concern amongst the audience was the dosage of radiation being given to patients, particularly by repeated scanning. Kim explained that the dosage given by any scan could be pre-calculated. Dosage could be reduced on repeat scanning by accepting lower resolution images. Manufacturers were putting great effort into reducing the amount of radiation that patients were subjected to.
John Gale thanked Kim for her excellent talk. Having enjoyed the benefits of investigations by these machines, he now had a appreciation of just how good they are!
The initial setup in this puzzle is from the "Guardian" and is classified "hard". Clicking on "RESET" sets all the squares to blank and any puzzle from any source can then be installed. By clicking "FIX" the new puzzle values are turned red and after abortive attempts can be returned to by clicking "REFIX"