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Past Events


Past Events

Click on the required heading to reveal link(s) available for that event.

28 February 2024     Creating Energy Efficient Houses

Creating Energy Efficient Houses, by Grant Henshaw.
This was a physical lecture, joint with the Institute of Physics, held in the Lindop Building, College Lane Campus, UoH, Hatfield, AL10 9AB.

About this event:
Energy savings figures: scientific fact or made-up nonsense? We will hear from Grant Henshaw on the way that energy savings measures are quantified in a unique set of labs at the University of Salford. The Energy House facilities allow scientists to recreate climates from across the globe, including temperatures from -20 to +40 degrees Celsius, with rain, wind, solar gain and even snow. So, join us to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Grant Henshaw is a researcher in Building Physics, assisting in the day-to-day running of experiments at the Salford Energy House test facility, consisting of both academic and commercial testing of building fabric and heating system performance as well as novel measurement techniques. His main focus is investigating energy performance and heat transfer in buildings through in-situ measurement to monitor and improve energy efficiency and sustainability both in laboratory and in the field.

After the lecture Grant kindly provided a link to view this same topic given one month earlier by Prof. Richard Fitton.

Click here to view a video of Prof. Richard Fitton's presentation.

31 January 2024        LIDAR & a Lost 13th Century Holy Well

Speakers: Paul Tate, Old Linslade Holy Well Project Director, Head of Archaeology, LBDAHS;
 and Andy McGrandle, Geophysicist, Director, Big Anomaly Ltd.

About this event:
Once a star religious attraction drawing pilgrims from far and wide, Old Linslade’s popular medieval Holy Well on the Beds/Bucks border was forced to close in 1299 by the Bishop of Lincoln, angered by the local vicar’s rash claims of the water’s miraculous medicinal properties (and the income it was generating!).  Lost for the next 700 years, and thought to have been buried under the Grand Union Canal, local community archaeologists recently embarked on a three-year excavation to rediscover its precise location.  After lots of human effort, and the help of insights and analysis from LIDAR and geophysics resistivity technologies, the team have now successfully identified the original site of the sacred spring itself, uncovered a later 18th century cottage built shortly before the canal's construction, revealed a host of 13th and 14th century finds showing extensive medieval activity across the canal-side meadow, and discovered much earlier evidence of habitation stretching back to Romano-British and even Mesolithic occupation over 8,000 years ago.

                 Paul Tate                  Andy McGrandle



29 November 2023   The Birth Of A Distillery.

The talk was given by Mary Vincent of Willow Tree Distillery.
(Venue: Eaton Electric Ltd, Great Marlings, Luton LU2 8DL).


About this event:

Willow Tree Distilling Company is a successful enterprise based locally in Bedfordshire, and its director is Mary Vincent.  The starting point for the company stems from the time Mary spent in Detroit as an adventurous twenty-something.  Her love of travel and adventure took her to the United States for 5 years where the American dream and entrepreneurial spirit rubbed off on her and sowed the seed of creating her own product and operating her own sustainable and socially responsible business.Willow Tree gin was originally distilled in small batches on Mary’s family farm, before moving to new premises in Thorncote Green, Sandy, Bedfordshire.

Mary’s talk included:

  • How the distillery came to be
  • Developing her recipe, the production process and her USP
  • The challenges in getting the brand awareness out there locally
  • The wins
  • Future growth of the distillery

The presentation was followed by an opportunity for informal discussion and conversation over a buffet supper.  A donation of £2 per person was requested as a contribution to costs.
Members, non-members and guests are most welcome.



Bacteria: Plants’ little helpers,  by Susan Mosquito, postdoctoral researcher at Rothamsted Research.

Click VIDEO to view.

About this event:
Like animals, plants are complex organisms that live alongside microbes from the soil, air or water.  These microbes associated with plants form the “plant microbiota” which includes several thousands of species of bacteria and fungi.  The bacteria associated with plants can be beneficial for the plant development. Bacteria can help the plant to get nutrients, promote plant growth, resist stressful environmental conditions and to fight against diseases.  One use of these bacteria is as biofertilizers.  These are plant fertilizers containing microbes, which can be applied in farming crops.

          Dr. Susan Mosquito



Operations Technology Evolution,  by Ian Verhappen, of Willowglen Systems.    (Microsoft Teams)

Click VIDEO to view.

Also, a PDF file of the presentation pages may be downloaded by clicking on THIS line.
(The file will open in a new page)

About this event:
The automation sector like any other microprocessor-based technology continues to evolve capabilities at exponential rates, however, its adoption in the operations technology (OT) domain lags significantly.

In the latter 1990’s it was fieldbus-based communications driving change, then it was packet-based ethernet networks, and now IoT and its industrial cousin IIoT.  All of which have gained traction in the automation space, but to a lesser degree in the process industries.
This presentation will in addition to discussing the different generations of control systems for context examine some of the drivers for change and reasons why the adoption of each generation of technology lags in the OT domain and process industries in particular.

Ian Verhappen, of Willowglen Systems


26 April 2023      Bowel Cancer

Bowel Cancer - a tale of mutants and robots.  by Rory Harvey of Bedford Hospital.

About this event:
The talk discusses the genetic basis of bowel cancer, how we prevent it, and how we treat it

Click video to view.

Robot peeling a grape
Robot replacing and suturing the skin on a grape
Da Vinci robot capability

The talk was preceded by a short InstMC Herts AGM, starting at 7:00pm.


29 Mar 2023      Public Miniature Railways

Early Public Miniature Railways in Britain 1901 – 1918, by Peter Scott of Minor Railways.

Click video to view.

About this event:
Miniature Railways have been part of our railway scene since the turn of the last century.  Long neglected by most enthusiasts, they have provided a train trip for countless thousands of happy passengers.  
Long after steam disappeared from the main line in Great Britain, miniature railways continued to have live steam locomotives hauling their trains.



22 Feb 2023      Gravitational Wave Astronomy

Listening to Einstein’s Universe: the dawn, and exciting future, of gravitational-wave astronomy, by Professor Martin Hendry.
This is a joint in-person lecture at the University of Hertfordshire with the Institute of Physics Herts (IoP).
The lecture commences 7:00pm, duration 1 hour.
Held in the Lindop Building, College Lane Campus, UoH, Hatfield, AL10 9AB.

Link to the IoP website for the poster

No recording was made on this occasion, however, you can find a similar version of Professor Martin Hendry's presentation here, presented as the David Elder Lecture:-
    Click video to view - NOTE: Starting at 24 minutes, 30 seconds in.


25 Jan 2023      Heat Pumps

Air and Ground-Source Heat Pumps – All you ever wanted to know, by Bean Beanland of Heat Pump Federation.

Click video to view.

About this event:
Do you have questions about heat pumps and their role in decarbonising homes?  We need to understand more about them, including how they work, what they look like and where we can put them.  And then there's the cost...
Join us when we'll hear from a founding member of the Heat Pump Federation, Bean Beanland.  He'll give us a really good grounding in the subject - all you need to know - followed by a Q&A with attendees.

More about Bean:
Bean has an Honours Degree in Physics from Imperial College, is an Associate of the Royal College of Science, and is a founding member of the Heat Pump Federation (HPF).  He has 14 years of experience in energy and carbon mitigation and conceptual technology selection, procurement and the installation of mechanical services and renewable technologies.  Over this time, Bean has overseen the technology positioning, specification and delivery of a great many heat pump systems, many of which supply heat and potable hot water to Listed and period buildings, and to schools, rural estates and commercial buildings. Bean is a highly active participant in the industry supporting the development of heat pump technology, installer training and standards, and government policy.  He is responsible for the lobbying activities of the Heat Pump Federation and membership growth.


30 Nov 2022      Hydrogen

Hydrogen: The What, Where, When, How?, by Dr Peter Clough of Cranfield University.

Click video to view.

About this event:
Net zero / 1.5 °C / 2 °C / avoiding climate breakdown / lots of other nice ideas.  All of these exist as feasible ideas on paper, but the ability to achieve them is nothing short of a radical revolution", says Peter, Lecturer in Energy Engineering at the Centre for Climate & Environmental Protection and who works on hydrogen and decarbonisation technologies.  He will explain why hydrogen has to play a part in our future story to meet these objectives, however that story is not yet written, so there are opportunities for its role to change.  Within this talk Peter  will summarise 1) some of the key technologies involved, 2) the key benefits of hydrogen and reasons to be cheerful, 3) the key challenges of hydrogen and reasons to be critical, and 4) how he thinks the story to net zero will be written.


26 Oct 2022      IIoT

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Connectivity Considerations, by Ian Verhappen of Willowglen Systems.

Click video to view.

About this event:
The potential of IIoT will result in an exponential number of devices and data points which must be collected, managed and used to provide the value promise.  SCADA systems have been connecting widely distributed data points and performing this function for decades, but are constrained by several limitations including:

  • Bandwidth / number of data points
  • Security
  • Configuration and device management

 This presentation will share how SCADA systems are evolving to meet these needs while also providing expanded capabilities.


28 sept 2022      LIDAR

LIDAR – the new illuminating the past - Part 2 the interesting bits, by Andy McGrandle.

Click video to view.

About this event:
In April 2017 Andy gave a talk to the Institute of Measurement and Control which was entitled “LIDAR  - the new illuminating the past” and since then he has given the same talk to over 11 different organisations. Realising that some of these organisations might prefer some Lidar examples focussed on their areas of interest rather than his in north Bucks, he asked, in advance of giving the talk, if they had some key areas of interest over which he could check the availability of Lidar data and work up some examples if the data existed.  What resulted from this were dozens of Lidar images showing Bronze Age burial mounds, Iron Age hillforts, Roman roads, a Saxon fort on the Thames, a medieval holy well and even an 18th Century rifle range.  This second talk will show all of these examples, and more, to illustrate how many relics from the past are still preserved in the detailed mapping of the landscape and how Lidar data is being used by a variety of archaeological and historical organisations in the northern Home Counties.


20 April 2022      Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (APL)

Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (APL) – the Replacement for 4-20mA/HART Instrumentation?

Presented by Roger Highton of Eaton MTL.

Click video to view.