Planet Earth: A User’s Guide

The 2020 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures featured three eminent scientists from different fields presenting a unique ‘user’s guide’ to Planet Earth. Their programmes unravelled astonishing global systems and remarkable natural wonders that combine to keep life on Earth alive. And they explored how human activity has become an overwhelming geological force – disrupting the finely tuned systems that… Read More »

Maths Week – 9th to14th November

With increasingly gloomy weather and restrictions on venturing out, why not give your brain some exercise instead of your feet! The national u3a website has always had some great resources, and now has a new winter learning programme with links to some intriguing activities. Among the many online events are three Zoom sessions for anyone with an interest… Read More »

Inspirational table tennis player

Ibrahim Hamato lost both his arms as the result of an accident when he was 10. He plays table tennis better than most people! Last Updated – Friday, May 8, 2020

Science & Technology Quiz No 2

Here’s another short quiz, 10 more questions – again, don’t google the answers – at least not until you’ve tried the quiz! Do let us know how you get on by email to Loading… Last Updated – Monday, April 27, 2020

Science & Technology Quiz No 1

To get you started, here’s a short quiz, just 10 questions – why not try it without googling the answers?! Let us know how you get on, whether you enjoyed it, whether you want more of them. You can email Loading…   Last Updated – Monday, April 27, 2020

Dyes and Pigments

Wednesday 4th March 2020 Ever wondered how clothes, furnishings, home decorations, cars etc. get their colour?  Our own Marguerita McBride gave us a wide ranging talk, with illustrations from history about dyes and pigments, and more recent details of their chemistry, how they are used and how they get their colour. Last Updated – Monday, March 16, 2020

Gems in the Dunes

Wednesday 5th February 2020 Fiona Sunners is the project manager of “Gems in the Dunes“,  a Heritage Lottery funded project focused on protecting the plants and animals of the Sefton Sand  Dunes, an important habitat for rare amphibians and reptile species. Fiona talked about the efforts to preserve the natural habitats of this local environment for the rare… Read More »

Recent works

Here are some photos taken by Bill Soens of recent works by members of the Painting Group. (Bill also produced a YouTube video of some of these works – watch it here) Last Updated – Friday, January 31, 2020

November 26th 2019 – mid-break meeting

Prior to starting on our exploration of medieval cathedrals of the South and South-east of England in January 2020, there will be a mid-break meeting at the Scout Hut at the usual time of 14.00 on Tuesday 26th November. This will give the opportunity for a brief preview of the 2020 programme, including the nationally historically important Canterbury… Read More »

Second Chance

Pat Morton, who was recently featured in the local Champion newspaper, is a member of several U3A groups including Poetry, Italian and Film Appreciation. She has now turned her hand to writing, and her first published novel is titled, “Second Chance”. When I retired from teaching I needed to do something creative. I joined the U3A then started… Read More »

Open Farm Sunday – 9th June

The Science Group meeting in March heard from Helen Greaves about the restoration of some local marl pits, including those at Molyneux Kale Farm, Halsall. If you are interested, the farm is participating in Open Farm Sunday again on 9th June. Click for further details. Last Updated – Monday, June 10, 2019

Novel Digital Healthcare

On Wednesday 5th June, the Science Group welcomes the return of the NHS North West Innovation Agency to demonstrate a range of new digital healthcare products. For further details see the Science Group page. Last Updated – Friday, June 7, 2019

What is Science and How do we Use it?

Wednesday 3rd April 2019 – What is Science and How do we Use it? In April our own Professor Bill Hale discussed the topic of “what is science” based on his work with government and academic research councils and involvement with many research laboratories.  With a wide range of examples, and a number of the more amusing aspects… Read More »

Coping in adversity

The U3A catering corps, marshalled by Lily Bunner, certainly know how to keep the troops fed and watered! Here they are providing the same fantastic Horizons service as usual, but in the unfamiliar Ministry Centre, while the Scout building works were in progress. Last Updated – Saturday, May 4, 2019

Independent Living Aids

Introduction For fifteen years we have promoted a programme ‘Sustaining Wellbeing in Later Life’. The question does arise, however, “what is the point of all the extra years if they are characterised by decline and dependence?” Most of the older people I know, like myself, would like to live long, live well, die quickly and have no need… Read More »

Robot Constructor’s Challenge

We have had an approach from Barry James, the leader of Cannock Chase U3A Science & Technology group in the West Midlands region. He is proposing a Robot Constructor’s Challenge, open to any U3A team who would like to construct a moving robot type device; he says that this would be interesting to technology or construction groups who… Read More »

2018 Christmas Lunch

Some photos taken by Geoff Roberts and Bill & Sue Watkinson at the lunch on 14th December 2018, organised by the Social Subcommittee: Last Updated – Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Summer Social – August 2018

This year’s Summer Social held on 31 August was a sell out evening with great entertainment provided by local guitarist/singer Ken Waters. We quickly forgot our SUMMERTIME BLUES as he had us singing along and dancing to lots of our favourites tunes! The whole evening was superbly arranged by Val and her subcommittee. Last Updated – Tuesday, November 13, 2018

15th Birthday Celebrations – Showcasing Our Groups – October 2018

Despite the very poor weather, we had a great 15th Birthday Celebration. Although we couldn’t go ahead with the Ladies Footie Penalty Shoot Out (too wet!), the following groups displayed their wonderful wares – textiles, painting, local history, and digital photography, and we even had the chance to try out mahjong and some chess puzzles. It is amazing… Read More »

English Medieval Cathedrals – 2018 series

English Medieval Cathedrals, from the Wash to the River Severn Speakers: Peter Goodrich, Peter Gateley and Peter Hatfield 23rd January Norwich Cathedral talk. Norwich Cathedral timeline 27th March Ely Cathedral talk. Ely Cathedral timeline 24th April Peterborough Cathedral talk. Peterborough Cathedral Timeline 1st May Visit to Manchester Cathedral and other historic buildings. Details 22nd May Gloucester Cathedral talk. Gloucester Cathedral Timeline 26th June… Read More »

June visit to Penrhyn Castle

We had a splendid day at Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust venue in Bangor with gardens, a nature walk, a railway museum and a stylish interior. After the castle visit, we stopped off for a 2-course meal on the return journey, which was appreciated by everyone. Photographs by Bill Fitzpatrick. Last Updated – Thursday, August 23, 2018

Christmas party masks

The French Conversation Tuesday group prepared for the Festive Season with some fancy face decorations! Last Updated – Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Cleaning up of the Mersey Basin

Wednesday 1st November – The Cleaning up of the Mersey Basin, 1980 – 2005 – David Moore This span of time covers the period from when the Mersey was regarded as one of the most polluted rivers in Europe with virtually no aquatic life to when there are now over 40 different species of breeding fish resident in… Read More »

“Special Earth” – the Scientific case

Wednesday 4th October – “Special Earth” – the Scientific case – Edmund Moynihan Edmund prepared a version of this talk for Southport Astronomical Society, so we were delighted to receive a preview. His Special Earth presentation covered: The Solar System Recent discoveries about exo-planets, etc The history of astro-biology Mars as a case study The special characteristics of… Read More »

Colin Wright, juggler and mathematician – video

Dr Colin Wright was the speaker on 7th September 2017. He gave a fascinating talk and demonstration of juggling and some of the maths behind the art. Here are the links to the YouTube videos of his talk: Colin Wright, juggler and mathematician – part 1 (30 minutes) Colin Wright, juggler and mathematician – part 2 (30 minutes)… Read More »

The Digital Revolution – Southport 2030 and Industry 4

Wednesday 6th September – “The Digital Revolution” – Dave Sutton Dave Sutton is a major contributor to an initiative called “Southport 2030” aimed at helping Southport and Sefton prepare for the future as it is likely to be in 2030. This is the date when the “4th Industrial Revolution” is likely to be widely acknowledged by its effects… Read More »

Colin Wright – juggler and mathematician

7 September, 10.15 in Christ Church: Make a note of a very special and interesting speaker.  Colin Wright is an academic who has studied the art and mathematics of juggling.  He will explain and demonstrate his skills in Christ Church at our first Speaker meeting of the autumn season.  Be there to marvel and enjoy! Colin’s talk is… Read More »

Martin Mere Wetlands Centre

Wednesday 7th June 2017 – Martin Mere Wetlands Centre – Eileen Seabright We were privileged to have one of our members, Eileen Seabright, a volunteer educational adviser at Martin Mere, come along to tell us about some of the history of the Mere, and the work of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust that goes on there. The wetlands… Read More »

Connected Health Cities

Wednesday 3rd May 2017 – Connected Health Cities – Debbie Parkinson (Debbie Parkinson is the Patient and Public Involvement Lead for the Innovation Agency North West Coast) The Connected Health Cities pilot project in this area is being delivered by the Innovation Agency North West Coast, which is the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) for the area. It… Read More »

The Genetics of Cancer

Wednesday 5th April 2017 – The Genetics of Cancer – Ann Parker Ann was a leading contributor to the “Understanding Tomorrow’s World” discussion group led by Jack Brettle last year, and particularly the Genome topic and the genetic mechanisms involved in the development of cancer. Ann’s talk highlighted some of the research and developments in cancer therapies arising from… Read More »

50 Shades of Grey

Wednesday 1st March 2017 – 50 Shades of Grey: The Fascinating World of Radiology – Professor Gill Baynes Gill Baynes of Lancaster U3A gave a fascinating talk about the difficulties of interpreting medical x-rays and problems in deciding treatments based on medical scans and diagnostics. Interspersed with scans of all types, this was a humorous overview of the various… Read More »

Britain’s Industrial Decline

Wednesday 1st February 2017 – Britain’s Industrial Decline – Edmund Moynihan Edmund, like many U3A members, had worked for some failed major British companies e.g. in textiles and polymers. Drawing on his experience with these companies, and his interest in historical developments in science and engineering, Edmund espoused his view of what actually happened and why. His talk… Read More »

Act Your Age – 10, 11, 12th November 2016

This was a first for the group and a Comedy Farce in classic Brian Rix style, set in a large house in a remote village: a clinic that offers sanctuary, rest and relaxation therapy to celebs, but has seen better days with just two celebrities. Meanwhile in the same village there is an old folks home. Absolute chaos then… Read More »

Christmas Cheer

Wednesday, 7th December 2016 – Christmas Cheer 2016 The Science Group finished off a very successful and enjoyable year with mulled wine, mince pies, Christmas cake and stollen, and some lighthearted Science thrown in for good luck! After a warming glass of Patsy’s extra special mulled wine, Marguerita got the afternoon off to a convivial start with a “Piecing the Puzzle”… Read More »

The Physics behind Global Warming

Wednesday, 2nd November 2016 – The Physics behind Global Warming – John Bradshaw Dr. John Bradshaw is a Chartered Physicist, a Member of the Institute of Physics and a Member of Mawdesley U3A.  His talk concentrated on the Physics behind Global Warming, rather than the social and political implications.  Using his background as a physicist at Pilkington’s, he explained some of the… Read More »

The 100,000 Genomes Project

Thursday, 6th October 2016 – Special Monthly Talk at 10.30 am in Christ Church Vivienne Parry (journalist and former Tomorrow’s World TV presenter) is Head of Engagement at Genomics England and a seasoned presenter. The project will sequence 100,000 genomes from around 70,000 people. Participants are NHS patients with a rare disease, plus their families, and patients with… Read More »

The Greening of Birkdale Beach

Wednesday, 5th October 2016 – The Greening of Birkdale Beach – Phil Smith Phil is an expert on the ecology of the Sefton Coast, and has previously given us a beautifully illustrated talk about dragonflies. He was due to give a talk about the protected Natterjack Toad, until his computer “had a meltdown” as he put it. Instead, Phil gave… Read More »

Chemistry, Colour, Paper and Cloth

Wednesday, 7th September 2016 – Chemistry, Colour, Paper and Cloth – Marguerita McBride Our colourful world is amazing and yet it took lots of experimentation through hundreds of years to develop techniques for colouring paper, cloth and, more recently, to have coloured plastics, even coloured bubbles.  Modern techniques and materials have allowed for an explosion of colour. Dyes,… Read More »

Road Racing Bikes

Wednesday, 6th July 2016 – The Development of the Road Racing Bike since 1945 – Bill Soens Bill really does know a lot about how bikes have changed over the years, being not only a keen rider but having run his own bike shop called Eddie Soens, of Boaler St, Liverpool, where he hand built over 800 bikes over… Read More »

Chemistry is Magic – a 6-week course for beginners

This is a repeat of the very successful course run in autumn 2012. Chemistry is Magic is from 09:45 to 11:45am at the Scout & Guide HQ on Wednesdays as follows: April 13th/20th/ 27th / May 4th/ 11th/18th 2016. If you missed out on Chemistry at school, but would like to know more, this course is for you.  The course… Read More »

Defying Dementia

Wednesday, 1st June 2016 – Defying Dementia: from Compound to Clinic – Dr Penny Foulds Dr Foulds, an Honorary Researcher at Lancaster University, gave a most interesting and useful talk about their efforts to develop a new treatment for dementia. Last Updated – Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Previous Art Tours

  January 2015 Tour to London: January 2014 Tour to Edinburgh: The tour based in Edinburgh, stayed at the Hilton Grosvenor on a half board basis. The programme included a special access visit to Sir Walter Scott’s Gothic fantasy country home Abbotsford, the January exhibition of Turner watercolours at the National Gallery, Holyrood Palace, the Queen’s Gallery, the… Read More »

Chemistry is Magic

The repeat of the successful “Chemistry is Magic” course began with ten enthusiastic “later life learners” finding out about the wonderful world of chemistry. From the creation of the elements when stars explode to the make-up of every day materials, this course introduced complete beginners to the fundamentals of chemistry. Last Updated – Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lunacy about the Moon

Wednesday, 4th May 2016 – Lunacy about the Moon – Edmund Moynihan “Ex Luna Scientia” (“Knowledge from the Moon”): this motto from Apollo 13 summarises Edmund’s presentation, in which he examined what we know scientifically about the Moon, and some of the crazy ideas about our only natural satellite. Besides the basic science of the Moon, Edmund talked about The work… Read More »

Internet of Things

Wednesday, 6th April 2016 – the Internet of Things (IoT) – by Alan Nolan We had hoped to have a speaker from another local U3A to talk about the “Internet of Things” but he had to withdraw. We then hoped to have someone involved in the burgeoning IoT movement in Liverpool to come and speak but didn’t manage to get him either. In the… Read More »


Wednesday, 2 March 2016 – Radioactivity (or how to love the atom) – by Jack Brettle Jack gave a highly informative and entertaining talk about Radioactivity. He explained just what radiation is, the different types of radiation, and where it comes from.  We encounter it in many forms not only in reactors and bombs, but also in medical instruments such… Read More »

Online Today – helping people with sight loss

“Online Today”   was an Awareness Session being hosted by our U3A on Tuesday, 22 March with help from RNIB and Action for Blind People. Technology can make life easier if you have hearing or sight problems, but knowing where to start isn’t always easy. This session, led by Andrew Coleman, Assistive Technology Support Officer with Action for Blind People, took… Read More »

The Mersey Chemical Industry

Wednesday, 3 February 2016 – The Development of the Mersey Chemical Industry – Paul Davies One of our own members, Paul was a senior manager in the Health and Safety Executive. Since retiring he has taken a great interest in the Chemical Industry on Merseyside. He illustrated his talk with nuggets of information that only a keen researcher would… Read More »

Science in Art

Wednesday, 6 January 2016 – Science in Art – Patsy Colvin Although Science and Art seem to be diametrically opposed, with the advent of new techniques science can be used to study paintings and gain insight into the methods used in the past by artists. These techniques can also be used to detect forgeries or show that suspect paintings… Read More »

Keyboard advice from Dee

The U3A is very much about sharing knowledge among members, and what better example than in the Digital Keyboard Music group. Last Updated – Wednesday, December 16, 2015


FutureLearn is an offshoot of The Open University providing online courses in a wide range of subjects, many of a scientific nature. The aim is to connect learners from all over the globe with high quality educators, and with each other. Courses are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit… Read More »

Mobile phones and sunbeds

  Wednesday, 4 November 2015 – Mobile Phones and Sunbeds Are you worried by what you see written in the press about the danger of radiation from mobile phones, or mobile phone masts? Are you less worried about the possible dangers from sunbeds? Those who attended the talk by Professor Peter Cole will have been reassured about one of these, and… Read More »

Space Weather and the Earth’s Magnetic Shield

Wednesday, 7th October 2015 – Space Weather and the Earth’s Magnetic Shield – Prof. John Shaw The Earth’s magnetic field shields the Earth from the solar wind and high energy particles that are released from the sun during solar storms. Is the magnetic shield constant or does it change, can it collapse completely? What do we know about the behaviour… Read More »

August 2015 Ride

Twelve hardy souls enjoyed a route led by John Radcliffe under rather grey skies: train from Ormskirk to Sandhills, the Leeds-Liverpool canal through Rimrose Valley to Litherland, Little Crosby and Formby, then back to Ormskirk. See map below. Starting the ride at Sandhills Station, we went towards Liverpool for about 1 km, then made our way to the… Read More »

Himalayan Medicine

Wednesday, 2nd September 2015 – Himalayan Medicine – Dr John Winter John Winter is the author of “Aiming High, Overland to the Himalayas” Aiming High – Overland to the Himalayasand a local member. He travelled to Everest, Annapurna and Indrasan in the nineteen seventies as a newly qualified medic to help with the treatment of climbers suffering from altitude sickness.… Read More »

Predators in Liverpool Bay

Wednesday, 1st July 2015 – Predators in Liverpool Bay – Mathew Clough Mathew Clough is Director of the Liverpool Bay Marine Life Trust, and came along to tell us about the seals, cetaceans and sharks on our own doorstep. Liverpool Bay is often forgotten in regard to its marine life and there is an image of it being polluted. Hard… Read More »