All posts by Simon Perry

About Simon Perry

After cross-training as a journalist 10+ years ago, Simon has been living and breathing news ever since. He would love to see more of the beautiful Island he lives on, but spends far too much time relaying the news of the Isle of Wight to the Islanders.

Dr Sarah Duddigan talk about Soils

Dr. Sarah Duddigan, a Research Fellow in the Geography and Environmental Department at Reading University gave a talk on about ‘ Soils’.

She covered the subject of soils pointing int out that “It’s not just dirt”, but in fact vital to the success of humanity, reminding the audience that it is a “non-renewable source”.

The current problems of soil degradation that tend to be masked by the emphasis on climate change – in a connected point, highlighted that soil stores three times more carbon that trees. Sarah told the audience that Soil Health is another looming problem for the planet.

The talk cover much more ground than that, going from the basics of what soil is made up from (a balance between Clay, Sand and Silt), the Tea Bag Index that she was involved with, the impact of urbanisation on soil and emerging threats to soil.

(We are awaiting slides from Sarah, but as some people weren’t able to make it to Cafe Sci this week, we’re releasing the audio while we await them.)

Dr. Sarah Duddigan’s spoken presentation

Dr. Sarah Duddigan’s audience Q&A

Robin Wilson

Dr Robin Wilson – Monitoring the environment from space

Dr Robin Wilson, a freelance academic and data scientist with a PhD in satellite imaging and complex systems simulation presented his extremely interesting talk, “Monitoring the environment from space.

Hundreds of satellites orbit the Earth every day, collecting data that is used for monitoring almost all aspects of the environment. This talk introduced the world of satellite imaging, beyond the ‘pretty pictures’ to the scientific data behind them, and showed how the data can be applied to monitor plant growth, air pollution and more, giving local, Isle of Wight examples.

Dr Robin’s spoken presentation

Dr Robin’s slides

Q&A with the audience

Postponed: Dr Dominic Papineau – The first micro organisms to be found on earth

Update: Meeting postponed until 2020. More details to follow.


Dr Dominic Papineau, who is in the Nanotechnology Department at University College London, will be talking about the first micro organisms to be found on earth.

He led an International team of scientists who have discovered in Canada and Greenland the first trace elements of micro organisms that push the date for life on earth back further than three billion years ago.

They suggest that life started in the volcanoes (black smokers) under the ocean using iron for energy.

Where and when
The Regency Suite is above the Conservative Club in Shanklin in Palmerston Road just off the High Street.

The nearest car parks are in Landguard Road and Orchardleigh Road, both only two or three minutes walk to the Conservative Club. Parking is free after 6pm.

As we have to pay a rent for the facilities, we have to ask for a donation of at least £3 on the door to make sure we cover all our expenses. i.e. the rent, cost of speakers’ travel expenses and a meal, plus overnight accommodation if needed.