South Coast Spring Meeting

23rd April 2022

As the regulations relating to meetings during the Coronavirus pandemic had been rescinded it seemed safe to advertise this meeting more widely as an open meeting and notices were sent to a couple of local groups (Purbeck U3A and Dorset Geologist Group).  Posters were also put up in the village to invite local family groups to drop in.  Microscopists from the QMC, the PMS and a couple of other local folk set up their displays and there were some visitors.  Two families with small children and some half dozen others came in during the morning.  They were also to try the small stereomicroscope and simple monocular microscope set up specifically for use by children.

Foraminifera seemed to be the most popular topic for the microscopists with Brian Darnton showing some along with his other microfossil mounts, Jeremy Poole displayed some stunning SEM images on a large TV screen and Adrian Brokenshire displayed his superb sets of mounted fossils and microfossils.  As usual Brian had some interesting home-made kit. This time he was using a Cree LED torch as a light source.


The semiconductor chip providing the illumination for these torches is around 5mm square, more similar to a filament source than the small LED point illuminators, and it has a focusable front lens.  He has re-engineered one, replacing the batteries with a mains power source which enabled him to adjust the intensity.  Grenham Ireland showed live specimens, marine fauna from Poole Harbour, providing lots of identification details including a species he had not been able to characterise.  He showed photographs describing it as a ‘Rattlesnake’ polycheate worm.  Joan Bingley displayed a splendid instrument, a Leitz binocular prism magnifier, a version of a stereomicroscope made for evaluating photographs taken from reconnaissance aircraft during the First World War.  She also had a modern stereomicroscope explaining the mechanism of stinging nettles.  Pam Hamer displayed the Club’s leaflets including the latest ones which have not yet been printed in any quantity.  She showed her method to polish a stone surface to show fossils in the local stones.  She also demonstrated a simple conversion to allow her older Vickers polarising microscope to be used with an external LED light for examining interesting geological particles.  We were also joined by Debbie Burfitt who lives locally and wanted to display some very interesting mountants used for examining diatoms during her PhD some years ago in collaboration with John Carter.  She also has some old journal copies which she hopes will find a good home.  We were pleased to see Derek Stevens, a stalwart of this meeting, contributing to the ‘Gossip’.

As always, there was a trip to the local pub at lunchtime for the continuation of the ‘Gossip’.