Some of our recent notable and prominent speakers
This page gives a synopsis of some talks at our club meetings including one by Mal Schofield a Cam Conservator pictured.
Our lunchtime and evening meetings normally have an interesting talk by a guest invited by our speaker finder. These typically last around 20 minutes followed by questions and a short summary of many of the talks is given below.
We also have quarterly guest evenings with a speaker and there is then time for a longer presentation and also discussion. See our Quarterly Guest Evenings Page for details and summaries of some recent talks.
The titles of our talks are listed below. Please click each title to open a PDF copy of the summary of each talk.
Business and Charity: There is more than one way to skin a cat
The Churchill Archives - Linking Past, Present and Future
Keep Calm and Carry On?
The Lives of Elephants
Cranfield MBA to Cambridge Silicon Radio
Cuckoo - Cheat by Nature
Designing Tomorrow for Engineers
Standing up for the Rural Community - A Force for Good
My Job - Maria Xuereb
My Job - James Taylor
How to Draw a Biscuit
Mill Road - Past and Present
The Future of Cambridgeshire's Past
Over Half a Century of Building
Fifty Years of Nursing
Does Materialism equal Happiness?
The Changing Natiure of the Cambridge News
Conserving the Cam
Going to Bed with a Good Trollope
You Win Some, You Lose Some
Service in India and use of CAD
Hearing Dogs for the Deaf
Dualism in Religion and Philosophy
The Current Junior Doctor's Situation
The Cairo Genizah
A New Life of Charles II
Fact or Fiction
How Feminism made the West Rich
Polgamy in American History
The Resugence of Fitzbillies
Conflict Resolution for the Young: Rotary Peace Initiative
A Quaker Education
Jo Chan: My Job
Paul Henry: My Job
Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf
Faith, Risk and Trust in Maximum Security Prisons
Nazis at The Leys School
The Garden House Riot
Experiences of RYLA
Sharing the Prize
Material Science and Tissue Repair
Touch: The Holy Grail of Consumerism
Venice and the Islamic World
A Life in Concrete
Sex and the EU
The Victorian Painter GF Watts
Please scroll down to see, first a list of titles and then summaries of previous talks.
Blood Tests for Cancer
Movement in Mind
North West Cambridge Development
Cambridge Literary Festival
Music for the Raspberry Pi computer
The first meeting of the Rotary Club of Cambridge in 2015 was unusual in that our scheduled speaker was unable to attend. President Philip James had to call on members to fill the gap. This was no problem as Rotarians are accustomed to providing a helping hand.
Rotarian John Mott of the Salvation Army told us about the work of the Army over Christmas. Lunch for 72 solitary people was provided on Christmas Day. Children who had a parent in prison, were given a present, and 25 meals were given to residents of Winston House. The Salvation Army Band, a sound that means Christmas to many, entertained shoppers.
In short a very busy and hardworking, but satisfying period made possible by the efforts of many people who helped by providing transport and time.
John was very pleased by the contribution made to the Army by the success of The Christmas Tree Festival organised by Rotary. The festival made almost £1000 that was used to aid the Cambridge Churches Homeless project. In addition to the cash, the Salvation Army and the Churches shared food parcels that had been donated to the festival by workers employed by Costains.
On the international scene, Jean Miller of the Rotary Club of Helderberg Sunrise, Stellenbosch South Africa gave us an update on the progress of a literacy project aimed at children whose only language is a local version of Zulu. Education in South Africa is not free and is mainly conducted in English. The object of this project is to provde a means of enabling children to become literate. Their spoken tongue has no books so the difficulty is to enable children to bridge the gulf between spoken and written.
The aim is to provide basic illustrated primers in both languages in identical form, thus providing a link between the two. Our Club has made a commitment to provide financial assistance in conjunction with the Helderberg Club. Jean and her husband Robert Fenn who have a home in Cambridge as well as South Africa are closely monitoring this project.
Robert is a member of our Club and as such was happy to promote the many attractions of South Africa. He was at pains to point out that the country is huge and that public transport is rare. He loves the country but careful planning is essential and plenty time needs to be allowed to obtain maximum benefit from a visit.
After entertaining and thought provoking presentations, the meeting concluded with the usual toast.
'Rotary and Peace the World Over'.
Blood Tests for Cancer
At our meeting on the 9th December, The Rotary Club of Cambridge welcomed Dr Dana Tsui a Post Doctorate Research Fellow at Cancer Research U.K. Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge. Dr Tsui, who is from Hong Kong, gave us a fascinating and in depth talk on the progress that has been made in cancer diagnosis by way of blood samples.
The Li Ka Shing Centre, where she works, is in the Addenbrookes Hospital complex, which includes the Regional Cancer Centre. It is able to draw on the expertise of the Cambridge scientific community and the medical knowledge contained in the Hospital departments. In short, Cambridge is uniquely placed to lead the progress in Cancer Research.
One lesson learned is that every patient is different, and that there is no one fits all treatment. Cancer is invasive, complex, and adapts to treatment
The question is, how do we find the group that is specific to the individual?
What is wrong with their DNA? The genetic make up of the patient has to be investigated.
Dana gave many examples where blood tests can reveal cancer DNA in an otherwise normal sample. The amount of cancer DNA in any given sample varies with cancer type. Bladder cancer gives a high reading, brain cancer a much lower reading.
The advantage of a blood sample is that it provides a non-invasive way of making a diagnosis. The taking of a biopsy is sometimes difficult and can lead to problems. As some men have discovered, treatment for prostate cancer by way of surgery or radiotherapy has proved unsatisfactory and has lead to damage to otherwise healthy tissue.
The task of researchers is to find a way of finding drugs that can accurately attack the rogue DNA with the correct dosage and solve the problem without collateral damage.
Dr Tsui left her audience with renewed hope that progress towards a solution to all forms of cancer is being made, but much more research is needed in order to match the treatment to the patient.
We can be confident that here in Cambridge, we are able to draw on expertise and finance from throughout the world, to achieve our aim.
Movement in Mind
On Tuesday 2nd December the Rotary Club of Cambridge was entertained by two speakers. After a frugal lunch, in aid of Rotary Charities and a short business meeting, Prof Nicola Clayton and Mark Baldwin gave us an insight into a book that they are jointly producing.
Both are well qualified in their fields of work. Nicola Clayton F.R.S. F.S.B. is a Fellow of Clare College, and Professor of Comparative Cognition at Cambridge University. Mark Baldwin is a choreographer and Artistic Director for Rambert Dance.
Their presentation took the form of a conversation between the two of them facing the audience. A format that was a welcome change from the usual presentations using a screen and projector. This gave the feeling of much better involvement between the speakers and their audience.
Nicola’s research into communication between birds, and her love of dance, has lead her into collaboration with Mark, whose expertise in the world of ballet has enabled them to improve the communication of subtle messages by physical means.
An example is how Mark as a choreographer has studied courtship dances of birds, in order to train dancers to mimic birds with their movements, and so send a stronger message.
Nicola is looking for ways of working with the artistic world in order to interest the general public in the world of scientific research. She conclusively proved to us that birds are definitely not bird brained, they are simply different. They are excellent mimics and have good communication skills. Other animals have learned to take notice of bird alarm signals and take appropriate action.
Their presentation showed us all that collaboration between art and science can extend knowledge to areas that otherwise would not be touched.
Their joint venture on Movement in Mind will show mutual respect for each field of knowledge and no doubt will emphasise the need to reach out to audiences that have been untouched before now.
Their success in reaching out to us was well illustrated by the number of questions generated and the interest shown.
North West Cambridge Development
The Rotary Club of Cambridge was pleased to welcome Professor Jeremy Sanders F.R.S, C.B.E. Vice Chairman of the syndicate governing this project to its meeting on the 11th November. Professor Sanders is also Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, responsible for strategy in the fields of human resources, environment, and relationships with the local community.
Cambridge is attracting more growth than almost anywhere else in the country and as such is critically short of accommodation for students, postgraduates and people needed to service the running of the city.
There are great hopes that this site and the City Deal proposed by the government will help. As the university already owned the land, its location, bounded by Huntingdon Road, Madingley Road and the M11, was ideal for development. The City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council have been involved at every stage.
The total area of the site is 150 hectares and will provide accommodation for postgraduates, key university workers and houses for sale on the open market. Other needs such as research facilities, a supermarket, health centre and accommodation for senior living will also be met. At the heart of the scheme is a primary school to meet the needs of children from the ages 4 to 11.
Environmental concerns are built into the whole of the development, encompassing open spaces, the recycling of rainwater, and a group-heating scheme.
Great care has been taken to ensure that the best architects and designers have been consulted and the needs of all concerned have been taken into consideration.
In the short time available, Professor Sanders was able to paint a picture of a scheme that was human in scale, and was aimed at making a vital contribution to the needs of both the city and university. It was expected that it should help solve some of the problems caused by the success of the whole area in attracting business and population.
Cambridge Literary Festival
Cathy Moore, Director of the Cambridge Literary Festival talked to the Club on 4 November about “The Literary Festival Landscape” and the Cambridge Festival in particular. It had first appeared in 2003 when it was called “The Cambridge WordFest”. The name was changed later to bring it into line with the 350 other festivals across the country, and to make it easier to attract authors , their publishers, and sponsors. There are now two Cambridge festivals per annum, one in spring and the other in the autumn.
Cathy explained that she had grown up in a working class Liverpool home where books and the printed word were highly valued. After a career in bookselling she had taken the brave step to launch the Cambridge festival which had gone from strength to strength since 2003. Many of the 350 or so other festivals specialised in particular areas such as poetry, crime, history, or children`s books, but Cambridge attracted a wide range of authors from many genres.
The financial arrangements of all the festivals varied. Cambridge`s income came 50% from ticket sales but other festivals relied on sponsors, selling merchandise, and catering Publishers recognised the marketing potential for their authors and often helped with expenses, and long queues at signing tables were commonplace. The Cambridge Festival is sponsored by the New Statesman helping with publicity and securing authors rather than with cash. Some authors are paid – CLF routinely offered 100 to help with expenses - but not all authors took them. The late Tony Benn for example had been happy to come for a mug of tea and a second class rail ticket!
Dr Rupert Featherstone, director of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, was our speaker on Tuesday 14th October, when he gave a fascinating talk to the Rotary Club of Cambridge.
The Institute specialises in the conservation of easel paintings. Dr Featherstone obtained an M.A. in Art History and Natural Sciences at Magdalene College Cambridge and as such became a specialist in the art world.
Doubts had been expressed about the authenticity of two paintings in the royal collection, stored away at Hampton Court, ‘The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew’ and a ‘Boy Paring Fruit’. Both these paintings had been attributed to Caravaggio, an Italian artist active in the late 16th, early 17th centuries.
Old paintings are often overlaid with varnish, glue and old attempts at restoration. The task is to prove that the paintings are not copies and can be attributed to the artist.
Old Paintings are difficult to read, work on the canvas is required. The original pictures were painted circa 1605 and it was necessary to prove that the canvas, paint etc. were consistent with the time.
Caravaggio did certain specific things, he did not make preliminary drawings but used markers and incisions to indicate the position of items such as ears, and amendments were done as he went along. Subsequent X rays revealed that changes had been made during the original painting. Artists have particular preferences for ground cover, and it was proved by taking X rays and cross sections of the paint, that these were genuine Caravaggio works.
A particular clue to authenticity was the discovery of a cipher on the back of a canvas indicating that it belonged to Charles 1.
Another indication of the importance of a painting is that it has been copied.
This certainly happened to Caravaggio, one copy being by Bernardo Strozzi.
Copies are often more perfect than the original, especially with an artist like Caravaggio who painted quickly and altered and over painted detail as soon as it was possible to do so. These alterations are not evident in copies.
In short, Dr Featherstone opened our eyes to the world of conservation and the work of the Hamilton Kerr Institute based in Whittlesford.
Music for the Raspberry Pi computer
Dr Sam Aaron of the Cambridge University computer laboratory spoke to the Club on 23 September about the Raspberry Pi computer and some software he had developed for it. His talk had been billed as being about a very cheap computer that was designed to interest children in computers and computer programming in particular.
Sam started by pointing out that we were falling behind other countries because our educational system taught how to use computers with Microsoft and other office type products but not how to program. This he thought was a mistake as the future will depend on computers – the starting point for communication, art and music – and our ability to program them. However, the good news is that a new computing curriculum for schools has been introduced that shows much promise for the future.
Dr Aaron explained that so far as music was concerned western musical notation had come into being about the same time as the printing press, and whilst it could cope with concurrency, timing and pitch, timbre was more difficult. However given the requisite coding, timbre could be represented as well and reproduced on computers. He demonstrated this most impressively using the Sonic Pi software that he had developed. This was designed to run on both the Raspberry Pi and Mac computers and is a free download.
The Raspberry Pi is is amazingly cheap. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has sold some 3.5 million computers at approximately 25 each. With an RP computer and the Sonic Pi software, youngsters from an early age could compose their own music in any style they liked, take pictures and convert them into musical sounds, and also melt chocolate bars! All super exciting stuff.
It was, in short, a very interesting talk, delivered with infectious enthusiasm and panache. Raspberry Pi computers can be bought via the internet, so join the queue!
Please scroll down to see the summary of each talk in turn.
The Landscape of Women in Science: the Athena Swan Project
The Use of Animals in Medical Research
The Gaia Satellite
The Future of Venice
Data Mining for Discoveries in Biology
The Pursuit of a Career in Foreign Affairs
Insights into Christian Prejudices and reactions to prehistoric pagan icons
What has the EU done for you?
Nanotechnology - how and why small is better
Protecting seniors from fraud
The Makings of a Miracle ? in 16th Century Granada
The War on Polio
Expansion of the Arthur Rank Hospice
The World of Bricks
An American Abroad
GM Crops? Food & Agriculture are too important to be left behind the Red Flag
Music at King's College
The Beatles are the Key
New Year Message from a leading Sikh practitioner
An alternative to IVF
Public Relations a Historical view
Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm
The Landscape of Women in Science: the Athena Swan Project
The Rotary Club of Cambridge welcomed Professor Fiona Karet to our meeting at the University Arms on Tuesday 2nd September. The subject of her talk to us was ‘The Landscape for Women in Science’.
As academic lead at the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge, Fiona was well qualified to tell us about the challenges that faced women in their careers, and that Athena Swan was an important vehicle for redressing the balance between men and women.
Athena Swan is a national scheme that recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Medicine.
In a talk supported by statistics, Fiona told us that in STEMM disciplines as well as normal business careers, at the age of 20, only 5% of men and women occupied senior posts. At 45, the figures were 23% men and 11% women.
This was a significant imbalance and illustrated the challenges facing women in the development of their careers. It was also a great waste of talent and resources
The Scientific Women’s Academic Network. has set up its stall to redress this imbalance. Some causes are obvious, other less so. Biology, child and elderly care responsibilities together with public and personal attitudes being easily recognised but others such as inflexible training and lack of personal support and mentoring, less so. Another much less obvious need is to set up selection boards and panels that are gender balanced
At the School of Clinical Medicine comprising 12 departments and 6 institutes, Professor Karet has ensured that they all have their own Equality Champions, in order to drive the project forward.
Project essentials are, good leaders, senior staff support, networking and good communications, and of course resources.
On this last point, grants are available subject to certain criteria being met. Athena Swan also has a series of medals that recognise the progress made in setting up good standards and structures. Fiona was pleased to be able to tell us that her team had achieved a coveted Silver Medal recently. This illustrates the opportunities and help available to women who study at Cambridge.
Our own mixed membership were all impressed by the level of awareness and progress made in the field of gender balance, and were pleased to be able to talk to Professor Karet informally after her presentation.
The Use of Animals in Medical Research
This is a topic that can raise deep emotions, so it was with a degree of apprehension and curiousity, that Rotarians gathered on the 12th August to hear Andrew Gray, Marketing and Communications Director, of Huntingdon Life Sciences.
Giving us a view of the research process, Andrew indicated that its aims were to save animal and human life, treat diseases and to improve the quality of life.
The use of animals is demanded by governments worldwide and is morally acceptable to most people. The best possible research would use people but animals give us the next best viable alternative. Living models are required to study interaction between systems and anticipate responses in humans.
At a cellular level, animals are virtually identical to people.
United Kingdom legislation requires the use of animals in research and no less than five statutes govern this research, giving this country the strongest safeguards. Animal tests are only allowed if there is no other choice. This results in only 10% of all research being conducted on animals.
All this care in proving the viability of a product means that the average time to produce a new medicine is ten years at a cost of $1000 million.
In particular Huntingdon Life Science looks at the following outcomes: -
How is the drug absorbed? How long does it last in the body? How is it excreted? Is it toxic? What is the best way of administering it? Dosage? Safety and side effects? Most importantly, does it work?
In particular Andrew stressed that no animals are used in this country to test household products or cosmetics, and of those animals actually used, rats mice and fish account for 91%.
In response to questions, Andrew confirmed that if current methods of testing had been used in the 1960s, the problems with Thalidomide would have been
This answer along with other answers and facts given by Andrew, left his audience more than satisfied that their concerns had been met.
The Gaia Satellite
Dr Anna Hourihane from the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy, talking on 22nd July, 2014, told us extraordinary tales about the Gaia Satellite. Aiming to look for Binaries & Brown Dwarfs and killer asteroids, was this science fiction? No, it is just another example of fact being stranger than fiction.
The European Space Agency launched this satellite in December 2013. Taking a month to arrive at its location in the Milky Way, it would map and catalogue some one billion stars in the galaxy. This seems to be, but a small fraction (1%) of the total number of stars in the Milky Way. It would take some five and more years gathering this information, which it was hoped would explain more of the structure and history of the galaxy and our solar system, identify the chemistry of stars, look closely at the bands round Jupiter, and perhaps find extra-solar planets. It contains the largest camera in space and can photograph the equivalent of a pound coin on the moon. It might revolutionize our ideas of the universe, including testing Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
Dr Hourihane took us through the aims, and manufacture of this satellite, to which the UK had made a major contribution, with Germany and Italy. We saw diagrams of the satellite and pictures of its launch. Truly we were transported to the heavens !
The Future of Venice?
Deborah Howard, Professor Emerita of Architectural History talked to the Club on Tuesday 15 July about the future of Venice. Venice is threatened by tides and floods and pollution to a greater degree than ever before.
Prof. Howard described when and how the city had been founded on a number of easily defended marshy islands of soft mud using wooden piles. The buildings of brick and Istrian stone using lime mortar had survived the centuries relying on the tides to keep the waterways clean, but occasional flooding had always taken place. Now however it was more frequent and serious thanks to global climate change.
The other serious threat was pollution. This was due to a number of factors: industry, pigeons and above all, tourism. The Volpe industrial complex on the mainland opposite Venice had been a problem since it`s development in the 1920`s but was now less serious than it had been. Pigeon numbers were also being tackled, but tourism was at unsustainable levels. 17% of total reuse was created by tourists who outnumbered venetian residents on a daily basis. Residents numbered 58,000, having fallen from an earlier high of 120,000. Some 15 tour ships visit the city`s waterways every week disgorging vast numbers of people causing damage and spoiling views.
Prof Howard pinpointed what needed to be done. This included building conservation, building more houses and providing more jobs, damming the Lido to control exceptional tides, and trying to limit tourist numbers by encouraging cultural rather than mass tourism.
Deborah`s talk was lively, entertainingly educational, and although not too optimistic delivered with great warmth and vivacity about the future of a city she clearly loved.
Data Mining for Discoveries in Biology
This was the subject of a talk given to a well-attended meeting of the Rotary Club of Cambridge at the start of the new Rotary Year on the 1st July.
We were privileged to have Dr Sarah Teichmann as our guest speaker. Sarah graduated from Trinity College in 1996 with a degree in the Natural Science Tripos / Biochemistry.
Realising that computer technology was developing rapidly, she studied for, and obtained a PhD in Computational Genomics, exploring protein families and their domain organisation.
Now working with a group of fellow researchers at the Sanger Institute, she is at present involved in analysing huge amounts of data on genomes, genomes being a set of instructions for making a cell.
By means of computer graphics, Dr Teichmann illustrated the connections between Genes, D.N.A. and R.N.A. in producing the proteins used by cells.
As biological data is organised, researchers are trying to find patterns in behaviour, especially as behaviour can be switched on and off.
Although these interactions are extremely complex, Sarah endeavoured to illustrate the effort involved in producing answers to the behaviour of cell populations and their dynamics in the immune system.
In the time available, she certainly succeeded in sharing with her audience, the immense benefits that can be obtained from using not only the biological techniques of interpreting the data, and implementing the knowledge gained, but also the debt that researchers owe to the engineers in providing the tools to obtain the data in the first place.
The Pursuit of a Career in Foreign Affairs
This was the subject of a talk to the Rotary Club of Cambridge, by USAF Captain Dr. Vin Gupta, who is the recipient of a Rotary Global Grant for the purpose of researching the effects of disease in an international setting.
Dr Gupta is qualified in Critical Care medicine in a battlefield scenario, his initial training being in the city of Seattle.
As a serving officer in the United States Air Force, he has taken advantage of a Rotary Grant to pursue a further degree in International Relations at Sidney Sussex College, so benefiting from the experiences of others outside a military setting.
He has found that in most countries, politicians who are in charge of the purse strings have little knowledge of the practical aspects of the policies that they pursue. His studies have revealed that there are many missed opportunities to detect health problems early by screening for diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
The delivery of health care is obviously a political issue as the challenges presented to politicians are many and varied and may well be of a more immediate concern.
His own concern is “How does an M.D. communicate with government?”
His hope is that a degree from Cambridge coupled with the results of his research in the Middle East, South Asia and Afghanistan, will help in this task.
His final thesis will be based on ideas, taking into account the effects of humanitarian intervention in the Cold War, and the experiences gained from past initiatives in the pursuit of Universal Health Care.
In a stimulating Question and Answer session some of the difficulties that he will face in the achievement of his goal of bridging the gap between the medical aims and the political realities, were revealed.
Nevertheless it is good to know that a military man is using a Rotary Scholarship in the hope of providing a solution to some of the many problems facing the world today.
Insights into Christian prejudices and reactions to prehistoric pagan icons
Fascinating insights into the prejudices and reactions to prehistoric icons, and monuments by Professor Alex Walsham, Fellow of Trinity College, and Professor in the Chair of Modern History
Also author of “The Reformation of the Landscape: Religion, Identity and Memory in Early Modern Britain”
– speaking at Rotary Club of Cambridge, 10 June 2014
Christian reactions to pagan artefacts have changed.
For the first 300 years Christians looked out on a hostile persecuting pagan world; their children sold into slavery, their churches seized, their precious scrolls burnt, their property stolen. In the 350s there was a reckoning. Suddenly it was the Church who were on top. But were they tolerant? No. Tolerance of other religions was not a Christian strength in those days, or . . . today ?
Fast forward to 1645 England, with an Parliamentary army camped near Stonehenge. ‘Destroy it !’ was the cry of the Puritans, . . . not actually proven, but Professor Alex Walsham showed that this would have definitely been in tune with the times. False Gods and idolatry were wrong [2nd and 3rd of the Ten Commandments], so prehistoric monuments failed on both counts.
1645 Revolutionary England was exciting. The Puritans were following God’s will. We were within a whisker of the Prophet Daniel’s prophecy, when the clouds would part, and the books of judgement laid open for Judgement Day, with the Son of Man descending to rule his Earthly Kingdom.
Not everyone agreed.
Professor Alex pointed out backsliding among the rich, who were filling their homes with statues of naked Greek Gods. But surely this pagan behaviour, was precisely how Popish Rome had gone bad? Also, the normal folk seemed hopelessly vulnerable to magic and mysticism, attributing curative powers to prehistoric stones, rings, rocking stones etc.
What was to be done ? Well smashing church stained glass, beheading carved angels from church pews, and desecrating holy shrines, was a start. Smashing rich people’s Greek statues [or copies] was another, and destroying prehistoric stone rings was a third, along with banning maypole dancing.
Has this always been so?
Professor Alex said No. She showed that the fears were the same, but the solutions differed. A photograph of a church built in the middle of a stone ring, thus claiming it’s powers as Christian; or crosses chiselled onto pagan burial mounds; or attributing God’s warnings, such as the team of footballers petrified into stone, for playing on the Sabbath ! While in York the Devil’s arrows, warned people that evil was afoot.
Another approach was to keep the smashed remnants in view, as a warning.
Then the unexpected; King Charles II’s restoration in 1660, was seen by the Puritans as an inexplicable check in God’s plans. But times had changed, and secular practices now returned, including a renewed interest in Prehistory. Was Stonehenge pagan? Was it linked to the Druids ? Were the Druids possibly a sort of protestant right-minded people who hadn’t had the good fortune of knowing Jesus ? Or perhaps linked to the Romans, or, at least, to the Phoenicians. Such were the speculations, that 18th C thinkers added. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s medieval spin of King Arthur and Merlin at Stonehenge, had been only marginally more unlikely.
So what did happen at Stonehenge ? Clearly prehistory is largely an unmapped territory. But one thing is for certain. Professor Alex Walsham’s speculations will be immeasurably better than ours ! And a reminder, that iconoclastic vandalism once swept this fair land.
What has the EU done for you?
This was the question posed by Professor Catherine Barnard to our Club on Tuesday 20th May, only two days before the elections to the European Parliament.
Professor Barnard is Professor of European Law at Cambridge University so was eminently qualified to help us answer the question
In an entertaining talk, given with a light touch and humour, Catherine endeavoured to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings that colour our views.
On the credit side, she illustrated some of the changes that have occurred since W.W.2, namely peace in Europe, free trade, joint research, common environmental standards, all coupled with agreed protocols on products and communications.
Cheap air travel is now available to places all over Europe, something that was out of the question not too long ago.
Against that, there is the impression that Brussels Rules O.K. The imposition of austerity measures in countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece has caused much distress and the fact that we are not part of the Euro has helped us to avoid any such measures.
Professor Barnard explained that directives from Brussels are the result of negotiation and agreement between representatives of member states before they are issued. Some of these only apply to large distributors and manufacturers, explaining that scares about straight bananas and the imposition of kilos on market traders were exaggerations.
Free movement of labour is a cause of stress in countries other than ours, illustrated by a French poster showing a Polish plumber. Obviously there are advantages and disadvantages to this policy.
A pet hate is the complication and penetration of European law. As a lawyer herself, Catherine agreed that this often led to difficulties in interpretation.
In conclusion, her talk was very informative, but it was left to the individual and their personal experiences, to form a view on the benefits and pitfalls of membership.
- how and why smaller is better
A fascinating overview of Nanotechnology given by Professor Judith Driscoll, Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, and the Department of Material Sciences and Metallurgy of Cambridge University– speaking at Lunch, to the Rotary Club of Cambridge,13 May 2014
So small that the width of a human hair is 1,000s of times thicker.
So what possible use can these tiny, and expensive things have? What relevance ?
Identical thoughts were aired when Faraday was researching into electricity. Yet electricity has transformed our World. Nanotechnology may well achieve the same, and within our lifetime.
Professor Judith explained that molecules at the scale of nanoscience, behave differently, viz polarisation, magnetism, electrons etc. Back in the 1850s Faraday had already found that miniscule particles of gold in solution, can cause light to be reflected at different frequencies. Today Microchip designers know that only at micro design levels, can high speed processing be achieved.
So what is a nanometre ?
If we can imagine scaling up from 1mm to 1 Kilometre, [1Km = 1,000,000 mm]
then a nano is in the other direction, ie; 1mm = 1,000,000 nanos.
A pin head 2,000,000
Human hair 120,000 diametre
Blood cell 8,000
DNA helix 2 diametre
Silicon atoms 0.1 spacing between atoms
Also an eye for detail, now means a lot more ! The professor showed us three examples of jet turbine blades, initially of normal metallic crystals, then aligned, then made of a single unified crystal. At working temperatures of 1,000 degrees C, these microscopic differences achieve considerable jumps in strength, durability, and temperature tolerance.
But never mind mere metals, the Professor described sheets of carbon only one atom thick, yet with tensile strengths x300 that of steel. Is this ‘Graphene’ straight out of Science Fiction ? or more accurately out of recent research ! Judith described it’s extraordinary properties, from diamond toughness, to excellent conductor to possibly replacing silicon in semiconductors. She described, and showed us, nano-tubes [2 nm across] and nano-wires [50 nm across] capable of making hybrid solar cells, fuel cells, LEDs etc.
She talked of superconductors, [used in MRI scanners]. The latest superconductors [YBCO], can work at the temperature of liquid Nitrogen, but with the qualitative technologies of nano-science they will soon achieve higher temperature tolerances, with potential applications across the entire electronic world.
But of course, there are hurdles. Sheets of Graphene one atom thick, require precision. Building nano-structures require innovative techniques. The path from research to products on the shelves, requires extraordinary engineering skills, know-how, and genius. [ Indeed, Judith’s friend Connie Wang from California, was also at this lunch and had interesting insights on this.]
In medicine nano-solutions are already being made, from carbon nano-balls capable of blocking nutrients to target tumours, to magnetic nano-fixers, designed to anchor onto specific cancer cells, and then attract magnetised chemo particles to them [polymeric nano particles].
Professor Judith emphasised that, within this nano-scale world, cellular and molecular processes, achieve extraordinary mechanical and machine like processes. Thus the idea of linking engineering know-how to the biochemical mechanisms of life itself, grow ever closer . . . with a scope and a potential that is way beyond our ability to imagine.
But it is was exhilarating to have Professor Driscoll giving us a glimpse of what soon will be.
Many thanks for such a fascinating talk.
Protecting Seniors from Fraud
This was the subject of the talk given to the Rotary Club of Cambridge at our meeting on May 6th. As franchise owner for Home Instead Cambridge, Mike Francis, our speaker and fellow Rotarian, has extensive experience in the care of the elderly as his company specialises in helping seniors to stay safely at home.
Anyone can be the target of criminals; especially older people as they are often lonely, financially stable, in poor health, and sometimes have declining cognitive function. They are also an increasing segment of society. 9.1 billion is lost to fraud and seniors lost 1.5 billion of this.
Mike put great emphasis on the need for people to protect their own information, especially personal details, pin numbers and passwords. Official correspondence containing addresses should be shredded as this can be used for identity fraud..
On the Internet, common scams are Microsoft imitators, fake charities and sites pretending to be official such as the Inland Revenue. The message is that information is valuable and is often used for criminal purposes.
Bank information is especially valuable and pin numbers should never be given anyone. Criminals will often pretend to be a bank phoning to report a problem. If this happens, do not reply to questions or return the call. Fake lotteries are also common and will ask for money to release the winnings.
Apart from the financial damage inflicted, the psychological damage is considerable as even highly intelligent people can be caught out. As a result confidence is destroyed and the shame of having been conned leads to the victim becoming withdrawn and not letting anyone know of their misfortune.
Fortunately help is available for those who wish to check on the validity of callers. Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 and Cambridgeshire Police Dial 101 can be used to report suspicious activities.
The Telephone Preference Service helps filter unwelcome sales calls.
Above all remember if something seems TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, it probably is.
The Cambridge News often reports on such fraudulent activity. Do not become a victim.
The Makings of a Miracle ? in 16th Century Granada
A fascinating account of the Lead Books of Granada by Dr Elizabeth Drayson of Murray Edwards College and Senior Lecturer at Peterhouse – speaking at Dinner, Rotary Club of Cambridge, at the University Arms Hotel Cambridge, 29 April 2014.
We are all too aware of the fears and persecuting certainties of our own 20th Century, but Dr Elizabeth Drayson of Murray Edwards College, and senior lecturer at Peterhouse, painted a chillingly similar story, from three hundred years ago, and located in Southern Spain.
The same crisis, different threats. In the 16th Century Spain was on the Western Front of a fragmented European wide war, against the great Muslim Ottoman Empire [by 1683 the Eastern Front had fallen back as far as Vienna].
In Spain, important victories were gained, but what followed was shameful.
After the surrender of Granada , Spain was a unified country. On paper, there had been formal assurances for minority rights, customs, language, clothes, and religion. But those promises were withdrawn.
In 1492 the Jews were expelled. The Marranos [Christian Jews] had already been decimated by the Spanish Inquisition. Now these same techniques of legal theft and accusatory heresy, were used against the Muslims [forcibly expelled or converted from 1502], and Moriscos [Christian Muslims].
Nowhere worse, than in Grenada. The Kingdom of Granada had been the last Muslim-ruled independent kingdoms in Spain. In 1499 it’s people rebelled, and were ferociously crushed. In 1568 to 1571, Granada rose up again, and again were brutalised; forced conversions being just one of their miseries.
Then the beginnings of a possible miracle;
in 1588, an item of lead was unearthed, along with some cloth, a fragment of bone and a scrap of parchment covered in Greek and Arabic script. A further strip of lead was unearthed with archaic Roman writings; and ashes possibly attributed to St Telesphorus 7th Bishop of Rome.
1595 and famine stalked the land, yet mystical forces were stirring in the hills above Granada. The first of the Lead Books were discovered; five flat disks, written in Arabic, and with Latin notes inside. Was this St Telesphorous [7th Pope of Rome] reaching out across the centuries ? The script was on Catholic doctrine, concerning the Virgin Mary, St Peter, and St James.
A second book of lead discs was found, then more, but now attributed to Saint Cecilio, a 1st Century Bishop of Granada.
In all, there were twenty two of these miraculous discoveries, all possibly pointing to a holy entente between Christian and Arabic ways.
Was this a call for tolerance ? Were the early Saints casting their blessings on these troubled waters? The writings were in Arabic so two ‘Morisco’ scholars were called in to interpret. And it was their translations that implied the common ground.
Might the certainties of Christian persecutors be swayed by the word of God?
From 1599 to 1601 another revolt rose up in Alpujarras [around Granada]. A time of grinding persecution; of plague, death, and National bankrupcy. Morisco children were rounded up by priests, and re-indoctrinated. Then their parents, 300,000 adults, expelled from Spain [1609-1614].
Historically, this was not an age of tolerance nor of compromise, yet, at this very time in Holland, a Protestant revolt against Spain [1566 – 1609] had won a truce, from which those Christian qualities grew.
Meanwhile the Lead Books lived on. They inspired an Abbey to be built, and then, a Papal investigation to begin.
In the year 2000, the Pope gave back to Granada these books, with their extraordinary story still shrouded in theory, faith, and doubt.
A conspiracy ?
An inspired attempt to steer Christian opinion ?
Or a message that reached out through time itself.
The mystery continues, and we have Dr Elizabeth Drayson to thank for taking us on such an extraordinary journey.
The War on Polio
Our Club was fortunate on the 22nd April to learn about the history of the treatment of Poliomyelitis, from an expert. The subject has been close to the hearts of Rotarians since 1985, Rotary International having been involved since then, in a programme of vaccination with the objective of eliminating Polio altogether.
Dr Stephen Mawdsley studied American history for his PhD at Cambridge.
A fellow of Clare College he focused on the social history of the United States in the 20th Century with particular interest in medicine and public health.
In this respect, although not being a medical doctor, he was well qualified to take us through the developments in the treatment of Polio.
In the first half of the century, polio was a frightening disease that struck indiscriminately, sometimes causing paralysis and even death. The threat of the disease shaped cultural norms and its treatment and nature was the subject of much debate in medical circles.
In the 1950s, American data was studied and suggested that common antigen injections could cause viral infection on the site of the injection. Some Health Authorities instigated risk aversion measures recommending that injections for child health risks should be suspended in times of a Polio epidemic.
The need for an anti Polio vaccine to prevent such epidemics was therefore imperative. Fortunately such a vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk and was licensed for use in1955. This enabled vaccination against Polio to take place before any other injections.
In 1962, an oral vaccine developed by Albert Sabin, became available. This enabled large-scale vaccination programmes to be a possibility, so reducing the risk of provoking the onset of Polio.
The dream of eradicating Polio was now a reality. Since then, worldwide vaccination programmes have succeeded in 195 countries being totally Polio free, leaving the disease endemic in only 3.
Early vaccination is vital and has provided herd immunity, resulting in the incidence of Polio globally, being reduced by 99%.
Rotary International, coupled with the Bill Gates Foundation and other local and national health agencies now need to endeavour to make 100% a reality.
Our Club is indebted to Dr Mawdsley for giving us such a wealth of information, thus encouraging us to make the final push.
Expansion of the Arthur Rank Hospice
At our lunch on 15 April, Dr Lynn Morgan (on the left in the photograph) brought us up to date with plans.
Arthur Rank is the only hospice for adults in Cambridgeshire, and although there is a significant ‘at home’ service for the terminally ill, the 30 year--old hospice itself is cramped and out of date. There is a need for expansion and refurbishment. Dr Morgan, Chief Executive, explained to the Rotary Club of Cambridge that plans were afoot to relocate to Shelford Bottom, opposite the Gogs Golf Club, and rebuild: expanding from 12 to 24 specialist beds, and including on site day therapies, counselling services, and units for education and research into palliative care. The cost would be some 10 million and it was hoped to start building in the Autumn with completion in Spring 2016.
The Charity continued to need substantial funding and her Public Relations Officer, Natasha Auburn , expressed their gratitude to the Rotary Club for its continued support, both financial and personal, of the main fund-raising event, Bridge the Gap. The Charity also runs a number of charity shops and other fund-raising events, with some 300 volunteer helpers. Volunteers in the hospice itself give the trained nurses time to be with the patients in greater need of support.
The hospice has a high reputation for its work, which may well have to increase to meet extra need with the ‘baby-boom’ generation reaching old age. Club members recognised why they should continue to provide support !
The World of Bricks
At our Charity Lunch on the 8th April, our own member and retired architect, Francis Hookham, treated us all to an insight into the world of bricks and their use.
Simple you might say! But you would be wrong, and much to our surprise, there is far more to bricks and bricklaying than you might think. For instance, the cost of a four bed roomed detached house can vary by as much as twenty thousand pounds depending upon the type of brick used for the external brick skin depending on the quality of brick and skill of the bricklayer.
Bricks were used before Biblical times and although the method of making them has changed from being hand made in small batches to mechanically made in large quantities of standard sizes, and in a wide range of colours and textures.
These were amply illustrated by Francis who showed us the difference between Flemish and English bond and the differences in pre industrial period locally made bricks, for example bricks made from clay from around Cambridge are yellowish, whereas those made of clay from in the Suffolk area are red.
Most bricks are of standard size nowadays but in the north of the country many buildings are built with bricks which are considerably larger, coursing 4 per 15”, rather than 12” elsewhere. Contrary to common belief this is not because ‘brickies up north’ were stronger, rather it was because C18 taxation and greater investment in mechanical production resulted in the north of the country not changing back to what is now standard as quickly as further south.
Engineering bricks with water resistant properties are often used for wall tops and lower courses of brick. Window heads which were formed of specially made bricks - ‘voussoirs’ illustrate the almost lost skill of the brick maker and the bricklayer. Now bricks slips are mechanically sawn and glued to prefabricated lintols/arches to achieve the same appearance. Similarly special angles are cut and glued.
In short there are many tricks of the trade. Francis showed us many of these, adding to our knowledge of the points to look for in deciding the quality of any property that takes our interest.
Cambridge is a wonderful city for the student of architecture and we were all encouraged to open our eyes to spot the finer points that our own expert showed us.
An American Abroad
Rotarian Scholar Chris Clark gave a fascinating talk on his travels, his work, and his home State of Missouri –lunch, Rotary Club of Cambridge, 18 March 2014
What could an American possibly know about poverty ?
Answer; a considerable amount
Chris’s home, Springfield and his home State Missouri are famous for many things; the St Louis Arch, the Cardinals Baseball team, Mark Twain,T S Elliot, Mega-Churches, hunting deer, Cashew Chicken fried in oyster sauce, to name just a few.
But it also has poverty.
Stepping down from the beautiful parks and mountains of the Ozark’s plateau, there is considerable poverty in the South of the State [ 50% of Springfield’s students, 20% of Springfield’s residents].
Poverty? Defined in economic terms as having less than $11,000 for one occupant, $15K for two, $19K for three, $23 for four, $27K for five. This local challenge fired Chris to study poverty, first at University [Tulane College] in New Orleans, with it’s own history of Hurricane Katrina [August 2005] and the enormous Government / Private funding and hands on help that followed.
But not just studying. New Orleans, is steeped in music, delicious food [boiled craw fish], and stunning architecture dating back to the French and Spanish, and not least the Haitians, fleeing from slavery, and building their iconic Creole shacks.
Chris then went on to Spain, Granada, becoming fluent in Spanish, then to Bolivia, La Paz, for his Honours thesis in comparing the banking methods of Micro Finance in Bangladesh with the more traditional methods of the Banco FIE.
In both, he noted, that the banks found women to be more reliable in managing their loans.
On to Chile where he studied the Bank Igualdad Fondo Esperanza, and identified structural barriers to borrowing [Bankruptcy laws are draconian, and a credit rating that black lists many entrepreneurs]. He spoke of the smog that lies over Santiago, but also of weekend hiking in stunning hills, and skiing, in a country that stretches from the cold of the South Pole, to the heat of the equatorial Atacama desert.
His MPhil was development studies in defining poverty, and how it evolves.
Is poverty just about money? or does it include lack of education, opportunity, jobs, vision.
Chris mentioned the Capability approach, the Neo-Liberal view, and Utilitarian measures, with their range of economic and human centric methods. He also dipped in on the priorities of the poor themselves.
This interest has brought him to St John’s College Cambridge, where he continues to investigate poverty projects, and the impact of Non-profit organisations. He has journeyed from the slave State of Missouri, to the Slave Abolitionist’s college of St Johns.
Surely, Wilberforce must be proud to have such an impressive and interesting and motivated student in his old college.
GM Crops? Food & Agriculture are too important to be left behind the Red Flag
Professor Sir David Baulcomb FRS, professor of Botany at Cambridge University suggested to the Rotary Club of Cambridge that governments had been right in the beginning to be cautious about Genetically Modified crops when research was in its infancy (and compared this with the red flag that was required in front of motor cars while they were new-fangled and suspicious).
However, after over 30 years of research, and 20 years of production in the United States without a single lawsuit, it was time to remove the restrictive regulations and expensive licensing process imposed by the EU. Currently GM crops were not allowed to be sold for human consumption – indeed Rumania had had to abandon its production of soya when it joined the EU, and had to start importing what it once produced for itself.
Although improved distribution and the reduction of waste were useful approaches towards feeding an increasingly hungry world, the development of GM crops had an even more valuable part to play. GM crops could target disease resistance and significantly reduce the need for pesticides, improve weed control and fertiliser uptake, assist with drought resistance and delay putrefaction, thus reducing the cost of food production and increasing the yield. Crops could also be given new roles in contributing to human health.
The substantial opposition to GM was unwarranted. Other regions – the United States, Africa, China - were forging ahead, and crops such as cotton and soya beans were almost entirely GM. Europe is in danger of being left behind. Genetic Modification, where one or two specific genes were changed, might be considered safer than ordinary hybridisation, where the combination of two sets of genes could produce quite random results. He is one of the main authors of a report on GM crops by the UK's Council for Science and Technology which was published the same week he talked to us.
Professor Baulcomb made a powerful case and expressed hope that sense would soon prevail.
Music at King's College
Our meeting on the 4th March saw Stephen Cleobury C.B.E. give an illuminating talk to The Rotary Cub of Cambridge, about his life as Director of Music at King’s in the last 30 years.
He emphasised that he considered it an enormous privilege and challenge to lead and direct such a team of musicians as exists at King’s.
Despite being founded in the reign of Henry VI the main role of the choir is still to sing at services in the Chapel. Stephen considers his duty is to maintain the traditions of English choral music whilst ensuring that it keeps pace with modern requirements.
This does not happen without daily graft. Constant practice is essential. The young boys in the choir are sharp and soon notice if their leader is not on song. Regular training takes place from 8.15 to 9.00 A.M.
The choir has sung in Westminster Abbey on great state occasions and has assignments abroad, this year singing at Sydney Opera House. Their repertoire is obviously stretched by these visits, which are tightly controlled.
The requirement to sing the daily offices and psalms in the King’s Chapel is still a core activity and helps maintain the discipline of the choir.
The past 30 years have brought about many changes in the life of the Director of Music. Not the least of them are the developments in the field of technology. The days of a few phone calls and the odd letter or two, are long past. The need to keep pace with emails is a constant challenge and could seriously interfere with the need to devote enough time to the main job, which is music.
The care of the choristers and the vetting of their mentors also presents a challenge.
Changes in recording techniques have also resulted in King’s having to develop its own recording company.
Despite all these distractions, the Festival of Nine Carols and Lessons is still broadcast throughout the world by steam radio and can bring tears to the eyes of exiles.
Stephen’s message is that tradition should be nourished by new growth.
Long may it continue.
As an illustration of the wide ranging interests and talents of Stephen Cleobury, members of the public can see him perform as guest conductor at a Charity Brass Concert for Rotary on Sunday 27th April at 7.30 PM at West Roads Concert Hall.
Jo Mills, Director of Planning and New Communities for South Cambridgeshire District Council – lunch, Rotary Club of Cambridge, 11 February 2014
Predicting the future ?
Take for instance the driverless car. What will it’s impact be on private ownership, on the number of cars that each family wishes to own, or insure, or park ?
Or take the guided bus? How many people who live on this excellent bus route, could ever have prophesied it’s success ?
Looking into the future is just one of the skills expected of a Planning officer, and in particular the Director of Planning and New Communities for South Cambridgeshire District Council. Jo Mills gave a fascinating insight into the story of Northstowe, soon to be built between Oakington and Longstanton.
Jo pointed out that Cambridgeshire is unusual in it’s sparsity of towns. She counted 103 villages surrounding Cambridge, and now, Northstowe, which will be it’s nearest and newest Market Town.
A smooth ride? . . .
Jo was speaking with the confidence of two decades of accumulated know how. The project was first aired in the 1990s, and battle commenced. Starting with the basic priorities of the 4Cs; Community, Connected, Climate Change, and Character, there ensued detailed liaisons with the Highways agency, and the Environmental Agency.
2003 Structural Plan
2007 Area Action Plan
2009 Outline Planning permission for 9,500 houses over 20 years
Or a roller coaster ? . . .
First came the credit crunch of 2007/8 with the promoters dropping out for 18 months
Then in 2010 the Government cancelled plans for A14 improvements.
Both were essential.
Was this a full stop ? or a pause ? Who could say, but in that time various pluses began to accumulate.
First was the guided bus which from 2011, proved an immediate success, and whose route lay right through Northstowe.
Second; lessons were being learnt from the Cambourn School and Infrastructure timetable. These lessons were then grafted back into the Northstowe plan. Eg the schools are designed to enhance integration with the local villages, and are located nearer the center. The shop clusters have shifted out so as to maximise passing trade, eg one is next to the Park’n Ride at Longstanton.
2012 and another change of gear, with developers back on board,
and permission for the first 1,500 houses.
Collaboration and partnership agreements agreed in principle
A Joint Team of Planners, Urban designers, Education, and Transport all in place.
And finally commitment to upgrade the A14 !
So can Jo Mills, Director of Planning and New Communities really predict the future ?
Only time will tell, but her fascinating talk, gave a clear message of the possible, grafted onto something much more exciting.
A riveting tale that has begun, and has every chance of a happy ending.
The Beatles are the Key
On 21 January 2014 Multiple entrepreneur, and superb speaker Mike Southon, gave the Rotary Club of Cambridge, a high octane roar through the Beatles story, their albums, and their successes, teasing out lessons for us all.
In 1962 Brian Epstein was running the records section in his Dad’s shop in Liverpool, when he came across a band. It was Brian’s initiative that proved an important catalyst to the Beatles story.
He offered to get them a record contract; how ? by using his Dad’s record shop to wangle appointments. But no-one was interested; he persevered, being rejected by all the London record companies; a band with talent, but no contract.
He put them into suits, got them to be more punctual.
Our speaker Mike Southon skilfully showed the entrepreneurial steps that helped the Beatles;
The idea; They had talent; what they did, they did well.
The foil; The Extrovert Paul worked brilliantly with Introvert John Lennon
The mentor; Epstein had a feel of where they might be going, and how
The guts; that enabled them in one day, [11 Feb 1963] to cut their first album.
Success, triggered competition, from the likes of Dave Clark Five, Herman’s Hermits, the Rolling Stones, and The Monkees, but ability will out, and the Beatles swept on, with only The Beach boys managing to come close.
Was Epstein important for their success? The proof came when, tragically, he overdosed on 27 August 1967. The band’s easy confidence slipped into discord. Their attempts to create their own label [Apple] led to friction. A glint of arrogance, and the end was nigh.
The Beatles succeeded but . . .
Mike Southon left us with a clear insight that although money is important, that wealth can also be measured in goodwill, and friendship, and in children who do not take the hedonistic ‘Paris Hilton’ route. He felt that George Harrison was the most polite and thoughtful. He noted that the original drummer Pete Best was, perhaps, treated shoddily.
But at the finish he returned to their magical combination of talents, and the words; ‘The love that you take, is equal to the love that you make’
So what is wealth? Stripped of money, wealth includes the opportunity to do good, and to have the means to see some of that through.
Many thanks to Mike Southon for an inspirational journey into the music story of the Beatles.
New Year Message from a leadiing Sikh practitioner
Dr Jagit Singh Srai, a leading Sikh practitioner and trustee of the Cambridge Gurdwara, 150 Arbury Road, began the 2014 New Year for us at a well-attended meeting on 7 Jan.
A Gurdwara is a meeting point and centre of worship for all Sikhs. In addition these temples are a source of food and shelter. All Sikhs are disciples and as such are in communication with their god without the need for an intermediary.
In delivering his message, Dr Srai emphasised that he is not an official of his church and is simply a representative. The Sikh faith has no hierarchy; any member can lead a service if qualified. Everyone sits on the floor during a service.
Dr Srai lead us through the history of the Sikhs, explaining that he himself was born in Wolverhampton, supported Wolverhampton Wanderers and enjoyed cricket. His profession is chemical engineering and is a member of Cambridge University Department of Engineering.
Sikhs began to arrive in this country in 1900 and since then have established communities in many parts of the world. The origins of their faith, language and traditions are set in the Punjab. The major Sikh centre, The Golden Temple, is in Amritsar in North West India, close to the border with Pakistan.
It was clear from Dr Srai’s talk that the Sikh faith respects other established religions believing that they all have influence on each other, and that they all have legitimacy in recognising a God.
There is belief in the equality of Man and that Truth will live forever.
The talk was well received, as it is clear that Rotary International and Sikhs are of one mind on many aims and topics.
An alternative to IVF
On 12th November 2013, Dr. Shamus Husheer gave a mixed audience of Rotarians, an insight into the use of computers and engineering when considering medical solutions.
After considerable success in his studies in his native New Zealand, Shamus was offered the opportunity to study for his Doctorate in Nuclear and Structural Chemistry here in Cambridge. His PhD coupled with his existing background in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry led to success in the Cambridge University Business Plan Competition and the foundation, along with 5 other graduates, of Cambridgeshire Temperature Concepts Ltd.
As C.E.O. Shamus and his team are responsible for the development of a device that measures temperature extremely accurately and have successfully raised funds from private sources that has enabled them to produce it at reasonable cost.
Shamus is himself the result of I.V.F. and was inspired to look at alternatives by the experience of his parents. The result is called Duofertility and consists of a tiny thermometer that can be attached underarm to the skin. It takes multiple readings that are transmitted to a monitor. These readings can then pin point the tiny temperature rise at the time of ovulation. All data is analysed by bio medical scientists who can subsequently advise their clients.
Dr. Husheer was at pains to point out that his is no miracle cure. It simply helps desperate couples to conceive by natural means. Expert counselling is in place to ensure that false hopes are not raised in couples who have physical reasons for their problems, in which case the product would not be recommended.
It is interesting to know that pure research by young graduates, who had many opportunities to continue their studies at world ranking universities, chose instead to risk their futures in founding a company here in Cambridge that adds to the understanding of the human body.
Public Relations a Historical view
By Dr Scott Anthony from Cambridge University History Faculty speaking to The Rotary Club of Cambridge 22 October 2013
In WWI, Propaganda got a bad name under the Germans.
Then in America, in the 1920s it was rehabilitated as a force of potential good, ‘We are governed,’ Edward Bernays wrote,’ our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of’.
In the 1930s, the Soviet Communists showed a distinctly sinister slant on Information manipulation.
However, in England, PR, took another route, thanks to a visionary Sir Stephen Tallents.
Dr Scott Anthony, at our rotary lunch, gave a fascinating sweep through this English story, showing how Tallents used art and design to engender a holistic sense of progress and National pride to his work. From the Empire Marketing Board in 1926, Tallents moved in 1933, to the GPO Post Office bringing inspirational colleagues to design posters, buildings, and even furniture. This was not just communications, but art, science, and design brought together. Not just advertising, but a sense of purpose, of direction.
In the thirties Capitalism was laid low, and the Government run Post Office was seen as a possible model institution for the future. The GPO Post Office, stood as a rock of stability. It ran the BBC. It’s telephones joined the whole country together, and it was Tallents who promoted it’s image of science and progress. But more; apart from the need to attract sales, there was a tangible corporate pride in their work, a managerial idealism. Everything that Tallents touched was improved; even the GPO internal magazine suddenly filled with photographs, and became a best seller.
This aura of informed purpose was then put to good use in WWII. The Ministry of Information had all of Tallents’s team working for them, producing endless iconic posters, and films. There was a belief that we, the public, could be guided through good, reassuring communications, designed by experts, scientists, and bureaucrats. PR was seen as a new public space, an editorial authority, a continuity that could make sense of the scatological soundbites, newsreels, and newspapers.
How differently Public Relations is viewed today.
Our thanks to Dr Scott Anthony for a fascinating and inspiring talk.
Tony Raven, Chief Executive of Cambridge Enterprise, the University’s commercialisation arm, likened the University’s own route to market to “encouraging a rain forest: it’s complex, and unpredictable, but limitlessly exciting.”
Dr Raven showed the deep roots that academic entrepreneurs have in Cambridge, from Charles Darwin’s grandson, who founded a science based business in 1881 (Cambridge Instruments), which in turn spun off PYE in 1896.
Today, Cambridge Enterprise works with academics from a wide range of disciplines; Dr Raven showed a psychology/religious programme aimed at calming extremism in teenagers; so successful that it is being franchised out across Europe. He also described a new company, XO1, which is developing a unique anti-coagulant that could prevent heart attacks and strokes without causing bleeding.
Cambridge has gravitas.
With 89 Nobel Prizes under its belt, and an innovation cluster that employs 53,000 skilled employees (one in five Cambridge graduates are drawn into this fiery jungle of expertise and enthusiasm). “We have an extremely good record of finding further funds,” he said, pointing out the 1 billion that has been raised by companies in its portfolio. “Our investors also provide expert feedback, and 80% of our start-ups are still running past year three.”
Cambridge Enterprise is the business interface of Cambridge University. It has a clear vision of how to turn great ideas into business success. It has the rock of Cambridge University behind it, and Dr Raven as its able captain.