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.

Jenny Brown: New technologies to measure coastal hazards (Virtual meeting)

Grab a drink and maybe some nibbles to join us for our first virtual IOW Cafe Scientifique presentation, between 7pm and 8.15 pm on Monday 18th May.

Click the zoom link at 7pm and join by browser. You don’t need an account.

New technologies to measure coastal hazards
Jenny Brown (National Oceanography Centre) will be presenting on “New technologies to measure coastal hazards”.

Defending the coast from flooding is a challenging job, especially with the uncertainty of climate change and rising sea level. To improve how our coastal defence schemes are designed, we need to be able to observe the sea as it crashes against sea walls.

A new prototype instrument to measure the volume and speed of waves as they spray, shoot and slop over a sea wall has been engineered at the National Oceanography Centre in collaboration with HR Wallingford.

The specialist information from this system and computer modelling has allowed Jenny and her team to understand hazardous wave events at a local study site near Liverpool to improve flood forecasting.

To find out more, take a look at the 4 min research clip or watch the short clips collected during field deployments in winter 2018/201.

How the talk will work
The format for the evening will be as follows:

  • Five minutes to run through online controls
  • 15 minutes presentation
  • Ten minutes discussion
  • 15 minutes presentation
  • 15-30 minutes discussion.

To ensure everyone can connect, please follow the instructions below to help those with limited home bandwidth:

  • When joining, mute microphone and turn off camera.
  • Jenny will screen sharing her presentation.
  • If you have a question or comment, use the chat facility (look for the speech bubble icon) or unmute your microphone so she can see who’s waiting in the discussion sessions.
  • Please remember to mute microphones again once you have spoken.

Join the talk
See you 7pm on the 18th May. Click the zoom link at 7pm and join by browser.

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.