"The University of the Third Age (U3A) movement is a unique and exciting organisation which provides, through its U3As, life-enhancing and life-changing opportunities. Retired and semi-retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward: the sheer joy of discovery!"My Grandma used to love her U3A meetings, and so when I heard someone from the materials group was going to speak at one, I just had to invite myself to join him!
This led to Ben de Laune and I arriving at the front door of a house in Birmingham last Thursday with our demo kits strapped to the back of our bikes and a laptop with some presentations loaded, unsure of what to expect.
We were welcomed by our host, Monica, and started setting up ready to present. As requested, we had brought printed handouts, although Ben was starting to worry he might have printed the font a bit too small...
The meeting was 2 hours long, and we presented one at a time with a tea (and biscuit) break with discussion in the middle. Ben presented first on his work, and then I followed. There were 7 in the audience, ranging from people with no scientific background, to a former chemist! Despite this, everyone engaged with our presentations and asked some questions that proved they'd been listening. Very different from academic conferences, when you have to ignore the snoring from the back!
We had a great time, and it seemed as though everyone else did too - here is our feedback from Monica:
The Birmingham U3A group are looking for speakers, so if you're interested get in touch and I'll put you in contact: it's a great experience!"Thank you very much for coming to our meeting on Thursday. As I hope you could tell from our interactions, we thoroughly enjoyed your presentations and thought your research projects very interesting. You were both adept at getting down to our (mixed) level. We would like to keep you on file so that we can track what you are doing.Thanks again, best wishes and cheers"