The Northumbria Club met for its annual guest night on March 7 at the Army and Navy Club in London, hosted by club member Alex Hira. Ian Graham was in the chair.
After dinner the chairman welcomed the club’s guest of honour and speaker, Professor Peter Styles, Emeritus Professor of geophysics at Keele University.
Prof Styles began by outlining his own Northumbrian origins in Broomhill and Amble, where his grandfather was a miner.
He went to the Duke’s School and, having won the Headmaster’s Prize for outstanding academic achievement, went to study physics at Wadham College, Oxford.
A doctorate in geophysics from Newcastle University followed, then teaching jobs at Swansea and Liverpool universities, before becoming Professor at Keele.
The theme of Prof Styles’ talk was climate change and energy.
He spoke of the reality of climate change and put a 14-year timeframe on certain changes becoming irreversible.
He also spoke about sources of energy and the consequences of continuing to use certain sources, particularly gas, which we have come to take for granted. He advocated that ‘fracking’ might well be a way forward, and pointed out that if the countries of Western Europe continue to import so much energy, they must accept some of the ethical dilemmas that are thrown up as to the sources of that energy.
Prof Styles was always erudite and engaging, but was also challenging and at times provocative.
It was a most stimulating evening, with lively discussions between the professor and club members.
At the end of his talk a vote of thanks was given by club member Ian Cooper and Prof Styles was presented with a club tie by Victoria Cooper.
The next meeting of the Northumbria Club will be the AGM, which is to be held in the National Liberal Club on June 13, at 6.30pm.
Full details of this meeting, along with further information on the Northumbria Club, may be found on our website at www.northumbriaclub.com