Talbot Penner:

Your Committee regrets to inform you of the very sad news of the death of Talbot Penner on 9th January after a prolonged illness. Talbot played a significant role in the development of our Society. He was particularly enthusiastic about our student grant scheme, whereby our members are encouraged to support pupils from East Kent schools who, in their first or second long vac at Oxford, need funds to assist their travels and studies. Talbot was a member of our society for over 25 years and greatly enjoyed our events, such as talks, visiting interesting places and pub lunches. He was an entertaining, social person. He and his wonderful wife Jackie were most generous hosts in their house in Eastry.


A Memorial Service for Talbot will be held in Eastry Church at 3.30 pm on Saturday 25th February, followed by a reception at his home, The Old Vicarage, Church Street, Eastry CT13 0HQ. The family has asked that no flowers be given but, if you would like to make a donation in his memory, a collection for the church will be made in the service.


Our Hon Secretary
We are sorry to report that Jayne Cohen has been very ill, with a prolonged stay in hospital. We understand that she is now recovering and the prognosis is good: she, astonishingly, was even able to help us with an administrative problem from her hospital bed! We have sent her flowers and our very best wishes.
UPDATE – Jayne was out of hospital and able to attend the AGM, though there are still problems which need our very best wishes

Grants 2022:

We shall be giving two grants this year:

Jennifer Evans St Hilda’s College.
To assist with her stay at the Sorbonne in Paris where she will study Sociology.
Apollon Alexopoulos St Hugh’s College.
To enable him to stay in Oxford during the long vac to conduct research at the Jenner Institute into the development of novel HIV vaccines.

We look forward to hearing from Jennifer and Apollon at our AGM on 2nd October

Grants 2021:

Another bumper crop of good applicants! We have given four grants this year:
1)  Bartol Sikora. St John’ s , reading Engineering Science. To take up an internship at Imperial College London working on the design of various nanostructures to be used as drug delivery systems.Specifically to help with  encoding DNA strands.
2)Nicole Szekeres-Tapp.  University College. Reading bio chemistry.  To stay in Oxford for 6 weeks to take up a placement in Professor Peter McHugh’s laboratoryou which focuses on genome integrity and DNA damage and repair specifically in the context
3) Cara Fuller. St Catherine’s College . Reading bio medical sciences (neuro science) To stay in Oxford during the long vac to extend her work in Professor  Trevor Hugh’s laboratory  researching neuro psycjpharmacology with a particular interest in serotonin and the effect of anti depressant drugs. This research aims to delve deeper into the neuro chemistry of depression.
4) Alice Scharmeli. Wadham.  Reading medicine. To go and volunteer with Medical Volunteers International on Lesvos, Greece as part of the medical team. Alice is a 4th year medical and has been working with medical teams in hospital helping with Covid patients.  She is hoping to work eventually in the area of  disease control and has a long standing interest in public health and health inequalities..
Lawrence Lyle 1923-2019
We’re sorry to report the death, in December, of one of our oldest members, a remarkable contributor to Canterbury life. At the funeral in Canterbury Cathedral, Paul Bennett, Director of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust paid tribute to Lawrence’s “long and distinguished life”, saying “Lawrence Lyle excelled in many roles: in education, local history, archaeology, local politics, in the community of Canterbury and the congregation of this cathedral. As an example to others, he has no equal, save for his wonderful wife Marjorie. His legacy is indelibly printed in bold letters in the history of the city he served with such distinction.” 
We also have to report that, very sadly, Marjorie, too, died in the middle of March 2020.  
Grants 2019 (none could be awarded for 2020)
Our grants committee is delighted to announce the following record crop of grantees:
Megan Bell. Trinity. Chemistry. Taking part in a 6 week project at Imperial College London with a research group investigating the solar-driven splitting of water to produce H2 and 02 as a fuel source. This is intended as a more efficient way to ‘store’ solar energy.
Ben Smart. Worcester. Engineering. A project with Cleen in Uganda helping to research the heating element in solar panelled ovens and then do on the spot market research checking the satisfaction with the performance of the stoves and interviewing further potential customers.
Augustine Allan-Labon. Corpus. Classics..To attend a month long summer school at the Academia Vivarium Novum in Rome in immersive Latin. The aim is to attain near fluency in Latin.
Robbie Whittaker. St Hugh’s. History. To undertake primary research in the archives of the Venerable Collegio Inglese in recently catalogued documents regarding the foundation of various overseas training establishments set up by the Jesuits in the 16th century, Rome, Seville, Douai etc. Robbie is learning Latin for this, the documents having not yet been translated.
Oliver Stapel. Worcester. Geography. To travel to the Netherlands to undertake research into the integration of immigrants into Dutch society, specifically Anglo-American immigrants from a culture not deemed ‘different’ thus contributing to the understanding of the extent that immigration is a function of difference or a less binary process.
Ramani Chandramohan. St Anne’s. Classics and French. We are helping Ramani with the fare to the ‘Warwick Translates’ Summer School.
An encouraging message from 2018 Grantee, Joseph Double:

‘First of all, I must thank you again for the grant, and for the warmth and friendliness at your event; it was an absolute delight to give my presentation and talk to your members, as it has been interacting with you in general.

I had the opportunity to work with one of my tutors over the summer to produce pieces for a general audience about complex mathematical topics. Without the help of the OUS East Kent group, I couldn’t have taken up this opportunity – with their grant’s help, I was able to afford to live in Oxford through a large part of the summer, allowing me to work in close contact with my tutor and use his studio for creating the videos and audio pieces I worked on. The OUSEK grant can be put to use far more flexibly than those from bigger schemes (which always have preconditions to meet about how the project will apply to industry, say), so I couldn’t recommend applying more if you have an idea for a project for your time at Oxford which is on the unusual side!’

Pieces I produced during the project:

Why do Bees Build Hexagons? Honeycomb Conjecture explained by Thomas Hales

(A video I edited of Tom (my tutor) interviewing Thomas Hales about the mathematics behind beehives)

Would Alien (Non-Euclidean) Geometry Break Our Brains?

(My main video, written, filmed and edited by me, about demystifying non-Euclidean geometry)

Take me to your chalkboard

(My main audio piece, where I interview Professor Adrian Moore (also of St Hugh’s) about what philosophy can tell us about how aliens might do maths)

Maths proves that maths isn’t boring

(An article about Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, and how they show maths is always risky)

Getting tattooed for science…

(An audio piece I edited about a tattoo Tom got of the Platonic solids)

Alien maths – we’re counting on it

(An article about how we use the mathematics of prime numbers to send messages to the stars)

Play Nice!

(An article about a game theory paper which could amongst other things help stop deforestation)


The Committee reminds us that the Grants Committee will meet in May to receive applications for this coming summer. In the interest of knowing how much money they will have to award, the Treasurer would be grateful if those of you who have not yet sent him your donations could do so. Cheques should be sent to: Mr. Nigel Beevor, 10 B, The Street, Ash, Kent CT3 2HJ.  He will also be happy to have money transferred to him by electronic transfer (details on request).  If you have been paying your yearly donations by standing order, please amend the details with your bank so these donations can go into our Metro bank account.  If you have not yet set up a standing order, may I suggest that this is the easiest way for the Grants Committee to know what funds will be available to them?
We’re pleased to draw your attention to another book by Patrick Wheeler – see also below:
Patrick Wheeler and Hubert Pragnell, both active members of the East Kent Branch of OUS have recently had books published and it is with great pleasure that we bring them to your attention.

Hubert PragnellYork: An artists View, an Architectural Guide

Published by Northern Arts Publications, Huddersfield ISBN: 978-1-909837-22-5  136pp  on high quality art paper RRP £20. 
A substantial introduction to the history of York & its architectural heritage with approximately ninety of Hubert’s own illustrations in  watercolour and ink & wash covering the main streets and principal buildings within the wall and not least the Minster. The aim is for it to act not only as a guide to York but also the development of English architectural style from the Roman period with York being one of the few British cities which an show substantial remains for each period from the Roman.  There is a glossary and bibliography. RRP£20.
Further details can be obtained from Northern Arts Publications website:
  Patrick Wheeler: Ribbons Among the Rajahs  A history of British Women in India before the Raj
Published by Pen and Sword History ISBN: 9781473893276 246pp RRP £25.
From the mid-eighteenth century onwards, British women started travelling in any numbers to the East Indies, mostly to accompany husbands, brothers or fathers. Very little about them is recorded from the earlier years, about the remarkable journeys that they made and what drove them to travel those huge distances. Some kept journals, others wrote letters, and for the first time Patrick Wheeler tells their story in this fascinating and colourful history, exploring the little-known lives of these women and their experiences of life in India before the Raj. With a perceptive approach, Ribbons Among the Rajahs considers all aspects of women’s lives in India, from the original discomfort of traversing the globe and the complexities of arrival through to creating a home in a tight-knit settlement community. It considers, too, the effects of the subservience of women to the needs of men and argues for the fusion of European and Indian cultures that existed before imperial times.
Modern Greek Language Classes – and Greek Dancing!
Ms Andrea Kourellias, a committee member, continues to promote the teaching of Modern Greek in East Kent as a minority language.
Since 2010, she has been the only KCC Adult Education Modern Greek tutor in East Kent, and is only one of two tutors in the whole of Kent. Andrea has taught Modern Greek in Canterbury from 2010 to 2017, but since 2017 taught the first ever beginners Modern Greek class in Margate.
Modern Greek from beginners’ level to intermediate is advertised for the academic year online.
Anyone interested should go to the KCC adult education website or e-mail Andrea direct at Or call the adult education number on 03000 41 2222. The continuation class is for those who have a knowledge of Modern Greek, although Ancient Greek is useful, but the course includes speaking/listening/reading/writing and is more functional Greek for holiday use, with some incidental grammar where this fits in.
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